Commemorated on May 11th
Methodios & Cyril, Equal-to-the Apostles Illuminators of the Slavs
Born in Thessalonica, St Methodios was a military man before becoming a monk on Mount Olympus. His brother Constantine, known as the Philosopher because of his erudition, was Librarian at the Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople; he later became a monk with the name of Cyril. The Emperor Michael sent him with his brother Methodios to the Khazars in response to their petition for teachers to expound to them the Christian Faith. On their way, they stayed in Cherson, where they recovered from the Black Sea the relics of St Clement of Rome. Later, they were called by Prince Rostislav of Moravia to instruct his people in the Orthodox Faith (St Rostislav died a martyr's death and is commemorated October 15).
The Saints devised an alphabet for the Slavs derived from the Greek, and used it to translate the Greek books into the language of the people. In their apostolic labours throughout the Balkans, certain Germanic bishops who opposed the use of the vernacular in the church services slandered the holy brothers. Summoned to court at Rome in 867 AD, they presented their Slavonic translations to Pope Adrian II, who received them with love and full approval. Two years later, St Cyril reposed in Rome on February 14 and was buried in the Church of St Clement. St Methodios was made Bishop of Moravia, but at the intrigues of certain Latin clergy, was cast into prison by the "Holy Roman Emperor" (the Germanic Emperor of the West), where he was cruelly tormented for some three years. In 874 AD, through the defence of Pope John VIII, he was freed and made Archbishop of Moravia. Because he reproved the lax morals of the German priests in Moravia, he was soon accused of heresy by them, and was forbidden to celebrate the Liturgy in Slavonic. Summoned to Rome again in 879 AD, he was completely exonerated and allowed once again to use the Slavonic tongue for the divine services. He reposed on April 6, 885 AD.
Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)
Since you were equal in character to the Apostles, and teachers of the Slavic lands, O divinely wise Cyril and Methodios, pray to the Lord of all to strengthen all nations in Orthodoxy and unity of thought, to convert and reconcile the world to God, and to save our souls.
Kontakion (Third Tone)
Let us honour our sacred pair of enlighteners, who, by translating the divine writings, have poured forth for us a well-spring of divine knowledge from which we draw abundantly even to this day: We call you blessed, O Cyril and Methodios, you that stand before the throne of the Most High and intercede fervently for our souls.