Bishop Milan Shashik: Celebrating the 1025th Anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus, We Cannot Forget Sts. Cyril and Methodius
In an interview to Vatican Radio, Bishop Milan Shashik of the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Eparchy said that the Transcarpathian Greek Catholics joined in on the nationwide celebrations of the 1025th anniversary of the baptism of Kyivan Rus. However, he said it would be unfair to forget the evangelization, which is the root of in the evangelization of Kyivan Rus, namely, the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius. “All Slavs honor Cyril and Methodius, regardless of whether they were in those areas or not. We would be indifferent to the past and future, if we did not honor these great evangelists of the ninth century, whose zeal extended across all of eastern, central, and southern Europe,” said Bishop Milan.
The Eparch of Mukachevo said that special attention is paid to these saints on the territory of the eparchy, which has been entrusted to him, where in honor of the saints, shrines have been built and where celebrations are held. According to the bishop, Saints Cyril and Methodius did not preach in the territory of Transcarpathia, but through their students the territory experienced a wave of evangelization. “It's very important to note that the time of the evangelization of Cyril and Methodius was a time of a single, undivided church. There were different traditions and rituals, but it was the church that recognized the presidency of the successor of St. Peter, Bishop of Rome. It is precisely the Cyril and Methodius’ devotion, their trip to Rome, the blessing by Pope Adrian II of liturgical books and translations, which they did, and the laying by the Pope in 1867 of such books on the altar in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore that show us how constructive their mission was,” says the bishop of Mukachevo.
According to Bishop Milan Shashik, after the death of St. Methodius, their students, who were expelled, left Great Moravia and reached southern Poland, Galicia, and Transcarpathia, and carried the tradition of the saints. They also went to Dalmatia, were the so-called Galgolitic survived: the Latin liturgy in the Slavic language written using the Glagolitic script, the initial alphabet of Saints Cyril and Methodius. “This tradition was hidden, but survived to testify to the great work done by Saints Cyril and Methodius in fostering tolerance to the Eastern and Western rites. They taught people tolerance, taught people to appreciate different traditions. And the funeral of Saint Methodius took place in the Latin, Greek, and Slavonic languages,” concluded Bishop Milan Shashik.