Wednesday, July 7, 2010

St. Cyril and St. Methodius Day

Den slovanských věrozvěstů Cyrila a Metoděje, “Slavic Missionaries Cyril and Methodius Day”, is a public holiday here. Not quite the 4th of July, but I’ll take the day off. The day commemorates St. Cyril and St. Methodius. They were two Byzantine Greek brothers who brought Christianity to the Great Moravian Empire in 863. They translated the Bible in to the Slavic language of the 9th century.

They created the Glagolitic alphabet which was the first used to transcribe the Old Church Slavonic language. Later the alphabet was simplified and became known as Cyrillic – the “Russian” alphabet used in Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Bosnian, etc.

In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared them co-patrons of Europe. The holiday is celebrated on July 5th in countries with a Roman Catholic tradition and on May 24th in countries observing the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

I was just happy that this year the holiday fell on a Monday so we got a long weekend. In the U.S., if a holiday falls on a weekend then you are off on either Friday or Monday. In the ČR, if a holiday falls on a weekend then you lose the day because you’re already off.

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