Celebrations of Sts. Cyril and Methodius' legacy in Velehrad culminate with morning mass

During the festivities, Velehrad’s visitors could also participate in the manual rewriting of the Velehrad Codex.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 05.07.2023 14:44:00 (updated on 05.07.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

The Administrator of the Olomouc Archdiocese, Josef Nuzík, delivered a warning against small-mindedness, mutual arguments, and societal division during a solemn mass this morning in Velehrad. The mass, which concluded the traditional Cyril and Methodius festivities on July 5, took place in Velehrad's square in front of the Basilica. In his sermon, Nuzík emphasized the underestimated role of the family as the foundation of society.

Today, the Czech Republic celebrates a national holiday commemorating Cyril and Methodius, with the Velehrad celebrations highlighting their legacy. The event also marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Olomouc archbishop and politician Antonín Cyril Stojan, buried in the local basilica.

Stojan was renowned for his contributions, including the construction of churches, the establishment of libraries, support for firefighters, the organization of pilgrimages, efforts to foster unity between Western and Eastern Christians, and hosting Velehrad congresses.

On July 4 and 5, the Velehrad pilgrimage site commemorates the arrival of the 9th-century Slavic Christian missionaries, Saints Cyril and Methodius, in Great Moravia. According to Josef Kořenek, secretary of the Days of People of Good Will organization, 30,000 people came to Velehrad on July 5 for the festivities. Additionally, Kořenek said, 15,000 people attended yesterday's Evening of People of Good Will, a concert that raised CZK 850,000 for charity projects.

Facts about Saints Cyril and Methodius

  • Saints Cyril and Methodius were two Greek brothers who brought Eastern Orthodox Christianity to Moravia, the eastern half of the Czech Republic, in 863.
  • The two brothers invented the Glagolithic alphabet used to write Old Church Slavonic, which became the first written Slavic language.
  • Cyril is often credited with developing the Cyrillic alphabet, still used in Russia and other countries, but that was created later, using some elements of Glagolithic, and simply named in his honor.
  • Cyril and Methodius are called Apostles to the Slavs because of their influence on language and culture. They wrote the first Slavic Civil Code, which was used in Great Moravia.

An opportunity to write history

During the Saints Cyril and Methodius celebrations in Velehrad, visitors had the opportunity to participate in the manual rewriting of the Velehrad Codex. The ongoing project, known as the Velehrad manuscript, has been underway for nearly 20 years and has involved the rewriting of most of the Old Testament and the entire New Testament.

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what is the Velehrad codex?

  • The Velehrad Codex, also known as the Codex Velehradensis, is an illuminated manuscript that contains the oldest preserved text written in the Old Church Slavonic language.
  • The manuscript consists of four Gospels and dates back to the 11th century.
  • The importance of the Velehrad Manuscript lies in its connection to the Christianization of the Czech lands.
  • It represents a significant milestone in the history of the Czech language, as the Old Church Slavonic text reflects the efforts to translate religious texts into the vernacular language of the time.
  • Its intricate illuminations and calligraphy demonstrate the skill and craftsmanship of the medieval scribes.
  • One of the most significant manuscripts in Czechia, the Codex is believed to have been created in the Velehrad Monastery, which played a crucial role in the conversion of the Slavic people to Christianity in the 9th century.

Petra Číhalová, speaking on behalf of the organizers, stated that the goal for this year is to complete the book of Joshua. Since the project began in 2004, a total of 7,667 individuals, including 144 adults and 12 children last year, have taken part in the endeavor. Participants are assigned a prepared section of three or four verses to copy onto a sheet of paper, which will eventually be compiled and bound into the completed book. The rewriting activities happened yesterday and today until 12 p.m.

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