Cyril and Methodius

9th-century Byzantine Christian theologians and missionaries

Saints Cyril and Methodius were brothers and 9th century Christian missionaries. They Christianized the Slavic peoples of the Danube.[1] They influenced the culture and religion of all Slavic peoples.[1] They received the title "Apostles to the Slavs".

Secular lives


The brothers were both born in Thessalonica. Methodios was born c. 815 or 826 and died in 885.[2] Cyril was born c. 826 and died (under his adopted name Constantine) in 869.[2] Cyril was educated at the university at Constantinople under Photios I of Constantinople. He later taught there when he replaced Photios. Methodios became governor of the province of Opsikion at about the same time.[2]



In 861 the Byzantine Emperor Michael III sent the two brothers to convert the Khazars to Christianity.[2] They continued their religious conversion of the Tatars along the Black Sea for two years.[3] Afterwards the Emperor Michael sent them to Moravia as missionaries. They taught in the Slavic languages and translated the Scriptures into Slavonic. Cyril invented an alphabet called the Glagolitic alphabet.[4] This became the basis for the Cyrillic alphabet. Old Church Slavonic was written in Cyrillic and Glagolitic.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lorraine Murray, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia (New York: Britannica Educational Publishing/Rosen Educational Services, LLC, 2014), p. 35
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Mike Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1998), p. 56
  3. Matthew Bunson, Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Catholic History (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2004), p. 269
  4. Tanya Popovic, Prince Marko: The Hero of South Slavic Epics (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1988), p. 188
  5. The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity, ed. Ken Parry (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), p. 231