On February 14th, there are two other saints we remember other than St. Valentine. Sts. Cyril and Methodius, “Apostles of the Slavs,” are recognized for their great missionary and evangelization work in the ninth century.
Michael and his brother Constantine were born in Thessalonica, which today is located in Greece. Michael, who later became known as Methodius, was born between 815 and 820. Constantine, who chose as his religious name Cyril, was born around 827. The two brothers born to a senior official in the Byzantine Empire’s administration.
Cyril was educated in Constantinople. He and Methodius were called to evangelize the Moravian people by Prince Rastislav. They had already prepared liturgical text in what is now called Old Church Slavonic. A new alphabet was created by them, which would eventually become the Cyrillic alphabet.
They were summoned to Rome, where Pope Hadrian III approved the use of their Slavonic Liturgical books. Cyril died in Rome on February 14th, 869. While on his deathbed, Cyril urged Methodius to continue their missionary work:
“Behold, my brother, we have shared the same destiny, ploughing the same furrow; I now fall in the field at the end of my day. I know that you greatly love your Mountain, but do not, for the sake of the Mountain, give up your work of teaching. For where better can you find salvation?”
Methodius was consecrated Archbishop of the ancient Diocese of Pannonia and continued preaching the Gospel. He died on April 6th, 885, in Velehrad, Moravia.
Pope St. John Paul II wrote the encyclical, Slavorum Apostoli, detailing their lives and contributions to the Church.
Here is today’s prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours:
Father, you brought the light of the Gospel to the Slavic nations through Saint Cyril and his brother Saint Methodius. Open our hearts to understand your teaching and help us to become one in faith and praise.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
So, today, while you are spending time with your “Valentine,” don’t forget to remember the other Saints we commemorate today, St. Cyril and Saint Methodius.