The Russian Orthodox Christian Church marks the Day of Saint Cyril and Methodius today – the Slavic enlighteners, thanks to whom the modern Russian alphabet appeared and the Christian church books have been for the first time translated into the old Slavic language.
According to the chronicles both brothers – Cyril and Methodius had visited Chersonese in 861 in the staff of Byzantine embassy and after that were sent by the Emperor Michael to the Great Moravia – one of the largest states of Middle Europe that time. This mission was realized by the request of the Moravian Duke Rostislav, who wanted the liturgies in his estates were held in old Slavic and not in Latin language.
Cyril and Methodius had translated the Bible from Greek into the old Slavic language as well as several books, necessary for services.
It has to be mentioned that Cyril and Methodius haven’t created the Slavic literature as a result of their activity, as many people mistakenly think. The Slavs possessed the alphabet, consisting of 49 letters, before. The brothers have just perfected it. They’ve excluded five letters, because those sounds were absent in Greek language and added other four new letters. Besides, in the process of translation they’ve created the literary Slavic language, able to transfer information at the same high level as Greek and Latin languages and prepared the basic block of the texts in the ancient Slavic language, necessary for the prayers.
The role of Cyril and Methodius in enlightenment of Slavic nations is so great that these saints are respected not only but the Orthodox Church but by the Catholic Church too.