Cyril and Methodius

Spreading literacy in Serbs was closely connected with spreading the Christianity. It all started in 862, as a response to a request of the Great Moravia Prince Rаstislаv, who asked from the Byzantine emperor Michael to find teachers who would be able to preach in a popular language. An ideal choice for the job were a philosopher Constantine and his brother, abbot Methodius, born of Salonika, thus living around many Slavs, speaking their language. Officially, up to that point, the Slavs had not had any sort of alphabet, so the brother devised one (the Glagolitic) and used it to translate the Gospels into Slavic. And with the translations, they took to the MoraviaPannonia mission – an undertaking of enlightenment among the Slavic peoples. With the books the people understood, preaching Christianity was easy. They also translated other church service books and served liturgy in Slavic language and ordained the local priests. So many (Moravian and Pannonian) Slavs adopted Orthodox faith. Constantine took the monastic vows and was named Cyril. The Salonika brothers had some issues with the German and Latin clergy, so the struggle for domination between the Roman Catholicism and the Byzantine Orthodox faith already started there. They were persecuted, but their disciples continued their work in the lands of the South Slavs – in Bulgaria and in Ohrid. The best known among them were St Clement and St Naum. They devised another, quite simpler alphabet – the Cyrillic, naming it after St Cyril. So the Slavic literacy, along with Christianity, came from the north, from Pannonia, on the one hand, and from the south, from Ohrid, on the other, thus reaching Serbia. Many Serbs, the rulers and the noblemen in particular, started believing in Christ and adopted Christianity. Those vents are considered as baptism of Serbia.


The Slavic teachers, Cyril and Methodius, the Orthodox Church celebrates on 24/11 May, and the Day of the Slavic Literacy is also celebrated on that day. St Clement of Ohrid, the Church celebrates on 9 August/ 27 July, and St Naum, the Miracle-Worker of Ohrid, on 5 January / 23 December.


Many icons and frescoes feature the images of the Salonika brothers and their disciples.


The Great Moravia was an important mediaeval state of the West Slavs, covering the present Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The Pannonia Principality was the land of the South Slavs, covering the area somewhat larger than present Vojvodina.


At the time of the Moravia-Pannonia mission in the second half of the 9th century, the ruler of Serbia was Prince Мutimir, who adopted Christianity along with his ruling family.


St Clement, St Nаum, Prince Мutimir