Cyril and Methodius were brothers, born in Thessalonika, Greece. Cyril (825–869), a philosopher, studied in Constantinople and was ordained a priest. Methodius (826–884), for five years the governor of a Slavic region of the empire, became a monk. In 861, the two brothers went as missionaries to Russia.
In 863, Cyril and Methodius were sent to Moravia, in Eastern Europe. They began translating the Gospels into the Slavic tongue. To do this, Cyril devised an alphabet that is still used in Russia and in some Slavic countries. Cyril and Methodius ministered to the people as one of them. They celebrated Mass in Slavic. But some German bishops accused them of many things, so in 869, Cyril and Methodius were called to Rome to defend their actions. So well did they do this that not only were they told to continue preaching and using Slavic in the liturgy, but they were also to be consecrated bishops. Cyril died before he could be consecrated bishop; Methodius was consecrated, however, and then returned to Moravia. He was deposed by a German synod and imprisoned. Methodius was released two years later by the order of the pope. Again, in 878, he was called to Rome to defend his actions, and again he was approved. For the rest of his life, Methodius endured the anger and misunderstanding of the German clergy.
Excerpted from Christ Our Life, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio
Image credit: Saints Cyril and methodius by Zahari Zograf, 1848. Public Domain via Wikimedia.