Velehrad pilgrimage commemorates Sts. Cyril and Methodius' visit to Moravia

A close associate of Pope Francis will celebrate mass in front of the oldest basilica in the country. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 04.07.2022 11:58:00 (updated on 04.07.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

The two-day religious celebration Days of People of Good Will begins today in Velehrad, in the Zlín region.

The event commemorates the arrival of the missionaries Cyril and Methodius to Moravia in the ninth century. The two are regarded as saints by the Roman Catholic Church as well as by the Eastern Orthodox Church. They are remembered in the Czech Republic and Slovakia on July 5, which is a national holiday.

The celebrations in Velehrad this year will be without restrictions. Normally, tens of thousands of people participate. In the last two years, especially in 2020, the festivities were limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event first took place in 2000. The center of the celebration is the Basilica of Assumption of Mary and Saints Cyril and Methodius.

Festivities today include transcribing the Bible by hand, as well as a football competition and an international meeting of wheelchair users. There will also be a photography competition with a chance to meet photographer Jindřich Štreit. The program for teens includes parkour, sports, music, and religious activities.

The charity Caritas Czech Republic will also celebrate its 100th anniversary. Exhibitions will cover topics ranging from the environment to Christians living in the Middle East.

On July 4 at 6:30 p.m., a prayer for the homeland will be held in the basilica at Velehrad in cooperation with the Czech Army along with representatives of the state, firefighters, health workers, police officers, and the general public.

“On Friday, our country took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union. During the prayer for the homeland, we will pray that our country will contribute to the awakening of the values in the whole of Europe that Saints Cyril and Methodius brought to Velehrad,” Josef Čunek, a parish priest from Velehrad, said in a press release.

“Not only faith, but also education, culture, and the legal system. It is the only hope for the future of Europe. And we will also pray for peace in Ukraine and the whole world,” he added.

Music in the evening will be headlined by Jiří Pavlica and Hradišťan, who will invite opera star Adam Plachetka, pop star Anna K. and Ukrainian singers. They will perform accompanied by an orchestra. Proceeds from the concert will go to a charity that will help needy students from our country and war-affected Ukraine.

The festivities culminate on July 5 at 10:30 a.m. in the courtyard in front of the basilica with the Solemn Holy Mass. The main celebrant will be Cardinal Michael Czerny, a native of Brno and a close associate of Pope Francis.

The musical accompaniment will be provided by brass bands with about 150 musicians from all Czech regions. After mass, they will move to the stage near the basilica, where they will play throughout the afternoon.

Velehrad is the most important pilgrimage site in the Czech Republic. It has been classed as a minor papal basilica since 1927. The basilica, which was built starting in the 13th century, was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1990. Five years earlier, he gave the basilica the highest papal award, the Golden Rose. It was one of just 10 that he gave out during his reign.

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