Cyril and Methodius bridges of Faith for Europe

2013-02-27 L’Osservatore Romano

Cyril and Methodius were “authentic precursors of ecumenism, for they laboured in service of unity and of the multiform fullness of the Church, as they made incarnate the spirit of the originally undivided Church”. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, highlighted this in an interview with our newspaper.  The occasion was a conference of studies held in Rome at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday and Tuesday for the 1150th anniversary of the beginning of their mission among the Slavs.

It was clear from the different presentations, including those of Dimitrios Salachas, Apostolic Exarch for Byzantine Rite Catholics resident in Greece, and of Bishop Viliam Judák of Nitra, how the work of spreading the faith – carried forth by the two brothers whom John Paul II proclaimed co-patrons of Europe – notably marked the construction of the Christian identity of the continent by means of the creation of the Glagolitic alphabet.  Cardinal Sandri said: “The great intuition of Cyril and Methodius aided the Slavic peoples, whom they had evangelized, to praise God in their own tongue and in respect for the their proper cultural characteristics, at the same time insisting on the unity between all Christians, of the East and of the West, in the sole and universal Church of Christ.  Their invitation remains today, for a dynamic vision of Catholicity as the symphony of the diverse liturgies in all the languages of the world, as a harmonious chorus of different voices and pitches.  The profoundly human and universal spirit of their mission is open to a revival, a spirit fruitful for more profound examination”.