May 24 is the Day of Slavonic Literature and Culture. 

The alphabet that we use while writing was born thanks to two people whom we know from school – Cyril and Methodius. And every year on May 24, the Day of Slavonic Literature and Culture is celebrated. This holiday is timed to coincide to the Memorial Day of Saints Cyril and Methodius, who created the alphabet that laid the foundation for Slavic literature. 

Initially, this holiday was a religious one, as Cyril and Methodius are saints in Christian religion. A day in their honor was marked in the church calendar – May 24 (May 11 under the Julian calendar) This tradition was born in Bulgaria. The local Orthodox Church started honoring Cyril and Methodius. Later the holiday acquired the status of nationwide one. 

Initially, Methodius devoted himself to the military career and later took monastic vows on the mountain of Olympus, while Cyril taught philosophy in Constantinople, where the embassy of Rostislav, Prince of Great Moravia, arrived for the purpose of finding those who could preach in the country that had just adopted Christianity. Thus, Cyril and Methodius were chosen for this important mission. The invention of Glagolitic alphabet is associated with these very events. It reflected the phonetic features of the Slavonic language, as well as the first literature text in it – the translation of Aprakos Evangeliar (the collection of evangelical texts that are read during the divine service).

Буквицы и буквы

Capital and block letters

Having come to the Great Moravia, the brothers translated the text of liturgy into the Old Slavonic language and started using this language for celebrating the divine service. Some time later, the first poetic texts in the Slavonic language were issued – Proglas and Writing about Orthodox Faith.

Памятник Кириллу и Мефодию в Москве

Monument to Cyril and Methodius in Moscow

The text corpus created by Cyril and Methodius in the Slavonic language contained the information about the standards of Christian world and literary language capable of being used in all spheres of Slavonic society. Cyril and Methodius turned into the symbols of literature and culture, while their heritage was of serious influence upon culture, book printing and literature.

At present, the respective conferences, forums, and congresses are held on May 24 all over the world, while the figures of two famous enlighteners have been eternized in monuments. Taking a walk in Moscow, one can see the majestic figures of two brothers holding a Cross and New Testament. The monument bears an inscription in Old Slavonic: “Saint Slavonic teachers Cyril and Methodius, equal of the Apostles from grateful Russia.”

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