Today, as we celebrate the feast of the Holy Equals-to-the-Apostles, Cyril and Methodios, we pray for the brotherhood of the Slav Orthodox Churches and Christian peoples, in the face of such destructive forces unleashed in the world.
Through the holy brothers Cyril and Methodios, the Byzantine state planted the seeds of the Gospel in the lands and hearts of the Slavic peoples, and through them so many none-Slavs received the Light of Christ and the Orthodox Faith, especially through the diaspora of the Slav Orthodox fleeing the godless Soviet-yolk.
Here in Britain, in our ROCOR parishes, the inheritance of St Cyril and St Methodios is united to the heritage of the Roman Christian martyrs of Britain, and of the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon saints, and we see this legacy in our own community, with its growing numbers of local faithful, in each admittance to the catechumenate, in each baptism.
Sadly, Constantinople, the Queen of Cities, has fallen, geopolitically and spiritually, and the successor of the Orthodox patriarchs now sows discord and schism, not only in the lands of St Vladimir, but also in Moravia, where the Saints Cyril and Methodios preached the Gospel in their mission, sent by the pious Emperor Michael in response to the request of St Rostislav the Great of Greater Moravia, the Equal to the Apostles.
In the much-suffering Ukrainian land, the last few days have been marred by more church seizures, attacks, and assault by the godless schismatics, and as the true Ukrainian Orthodox Church experiences the passion and sufferings of the Holy Martyrs and Confessors, we commend its faithful people, with their hierarchs and pastors to the prayers of the holy brothers whose legacy should be a bond of unity and love rooted in Christ in the Gospel.
Equally we pray for the parishes in the Czech Republic, bullied, attacked and harassed by the agents of schism, entrusting them to the prayers of Saints Cyril and Methodios.
I will never forget asking my Slovak school children who their heroes were, and constantly hearing the answer, ‘Kyril i Metod’. What a joy it was to hear late twentieth century children hold the Evangelists of the Slavs in such great esteem.
Let us pray that our children and grandchildren, and every successive generation will find a place for Saints Cyril and Methodios in their hearts and strive to preserve their legacy, and that of their holy disciples who preached the Gospel after them.
May we embrace their legacy of mission, of teaching and spreading the Light of Christ, and may their legacy be a source of unity, brotherhood and sisterhood.
A PRAYER FOR ORTHODOX UNITY
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, head of the Church that is thy Body, who prayed for thy disciples to the Father, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”: To thee we confess that thy Church is one, and cannot be divided; we mourn for all who separate themselves from Her; we pray that thou mayest make the schisms to cease. We put not our trust in princes, nor in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation; rather, we put all our hope in thee, and we beg of thee, send thy Holy Spirit to guide our hierarchs, that they may rightly divide the word of thy truth, and that they may bear witness to the unity of the Church in all their decisions. Preserve us, O Lord, from the Evil One and all his attempts to divide us, from the machinations of governments, from the ambitions of fallen men, and from the sin of pride. Heal the wounds caused by our lack of love, and fill us, and our hierarchs, with love for one another as brothers in Christ. Keep us in thy truth; thy word is truth. To thee, and thy Father, and the Holy Spirit: the Holy Trinity, the source and manifestation of all unity, one in essence and undivided, do we ascribe all praise, honor, and glory, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Troparion, Tone 4: In that ye share the ways of the apostles, O divinely wise Cyril and Methodius, ye teachers of the Slavic lands, entreat the Master of all, that He confirm all the Slavic nations in Orthodoxy and oneness of mind, grant peace to the world and save our souls.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Kontakion, Tone 3: Let us honor our two sacred enlighteners, who poured forth upon us a spring of divine knowledge through their translation of the divine Scriptures. Drawing forth abundantly therefrom to this very day, we bless you, O Cyril and Methodius, who stand before the throne of the Most High and fervently pray for our souls.