Acts 13.46-49; Psalm 116; Luke 10.1-9
Cyril (826-69) and Methodius (c815-85) were brothers and are honoured as the Apostles to the Slavs. They were born in Thessalonica the sons of a Greek army officer; they both became priests and went to live in Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Empire. Constantine, the younger of the two (he only took the name Cyril when he made monastic profession, 50 days before the end of his life), became librarian of Hagia Sophia. Methodius became a monk.
A decisive change in their lives came when the Duke of Moravia asked Emperor Michael for political independence and ecclesiastical autonomy. The two brothers decided to become missionaries to Moravia. The first task was the creation of an alphabet (later it became the basis of the Cyrillic alphabet, still used for writing Russian and in fact one of the most-used alphabets in the world) and the translation of Scriptures and Liturgy into Slavonic language. German bishops objected to this, and Cyril and Methodius appealed to Rome, travelling there together to receive the approbation of Pope Adrian II. Constantine (Cyril) died in Rome.
Methodius was made Archbishop of Sirmium, the province that included the whole of Moravia. During the last 16 years of his life he endured enormous political persecution and accusations of heresy and schism. He persevered, and died, surrounded by his clergy, in his Cathedral Church.