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Orthodox Church - Essay Example

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The Byzantine mission led by Constantine (Cyril) the Philosopher and his brother Methodius was the turning point in the historical and cultural development of the Slavs. Since that time, the Slavs have has their own language. The Macedonian dialect spoken by the Slavs in Thessalonica remained the literary language of the Slavs for several centuries…
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Download file to see previous pages Unfortunately, very little is known about the history of two brothers and it is still unclear whether Cyril was the priest or simply the deacon. From religious point of view, the liturgical innovation of Cyril was accepted only by the Eastern Church, but it was also offered to the Roman Church. Despite of the numerous controversies about the important of brother's mission to Orthodox Church, their contribution to the Slavic culture and church history cannot be underestimated.
Cyril and Methodius both rendered important services to Byzantine Empire and were sent by the Emperor and the Patriarch on the responsible mission to Moravia. It is apparent that the beginnings of the Russian Christianity coincide in time with the Moravian mission of Cyril and Methodius and with the conversion of Bulgaria to Christian Church. The Byzantine culture was the most highly developed of its time and was spreading fast. The Moravian mission of Cyril and Methodius has further extended Byzantine religious and cultural influences to remote Slavic regions in the central Europe. "The real and unique greatness of the Moravian mission lies not so much in its achievements in Moravia as in the outstanding and far-reaching results beyond the Moravian border" (Ostrogorsky 3). Two brothers have created the Slavonic alphabet which made possible the development of Slavic writing and opened the new era in the cultural life of Slavic people.
In addition to cultural contribution of Cyril-Methodius mission to Slavic nations, the Moravian mission should be viewed as the missionary enterprise. Byzantium was consolidating the existing relations and establishing new relations with the Slavs. Some of the historical events of that time include: the Russian attack on Constantinople (860), the request of Moravian prince Rastislav to send Byzantine missionaries to his country (863), the official acceptance of Christianity by Bulgaria (864). These events took place within the four years, however, their importance to Byzantine Empire and to the Slavs was great. Byzantine state in the sixties of the ninth century was strengthened, the military power increased, the regions of the Balkan Peninsula were reoccupied, the influence and authority of Constantinople in the Christian Church increased (Ostrogorsky 15). These developments have laid the foundation for powerful expansion of Byzantine religious and cultural influences that took place during the activity of Cyril and Methodius.
Cyril, being one of the most remarkable personalities in Byzantine Empire, endowed with secular and theological knowledge, was the exponent of the highest aspiration of the Byzantine Church (Ostrogorsky 15). Cyril and Methodius did preach and celebrated the liturgy in Slavic language; they created the alphabet and translated the Bible into Slavic. Because they did these things, they laid the foundation for the Slavic literacy, literature, and culture. In the result of their mission, Byzantine Church became the powerful factor in the Hellenization of the Slavic world. For example, in Moravia the Byzantines preached Christianity and celebrated Mass in Slavic language, the Slavic self-consciousness was deliberately supported. Cyril and Methodius opposed the trilingual heresy - the theory that Christian Church was being expressed only in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
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