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Pope Francis addressing a delegation of Czech and Slovak parliamentarians. Pope Francis addressing a delegation of Czech and Slovak parliamentarians.  (Vatican Media)

Pope: St. Cyril still relevant for Czech and Slovak societies

Pope Francis on March 22 met a delegation of parliamentarians from the Czech Republic and Slovakia on the occasion of the 1150th death anniversary of St. Cyril.

By Robin Gomes

Pope Francis on Friday wished that the evangelizing mission of Sts. Cyril and Methodious continue to be a model of inculturation for the Czech Republic and Slovakia in building a society based on mutual acceptance, solidarity, encounter and openness to others.

“As representatives of the people in the institutions, you are called to rediscover the intrinsic link between the Gospel and your cultural identity, re-evaluating your Christian roots in order to build a society in which mutual acceptance and mutual solidarity can take place,” the Pope told a delegation of parliamentarians from the Czech and the Slovak Republics who met him in the Vatican on the occasion of the 1150th death anniversary of St. Cyril.

Evangelization

Known as the Apostles of the Slavs, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the 9 th century evangelizers from Thessalonica, preached Christianity to the Slavic people in their own language.  St. Cyril died in 869 in Moravia, part of what is now the Czech Republic. 

The Holy Father recalled that the two Thessalonian brothers translated the Bible into the old Slavic language, brought the so-called Slavic alphabet and through the biblical-Christian message helped create a legal state in and around the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Pope noted that St. Cyril was able to “build relationships of knowledge and cordiality among peoples, becoming a link between different cultures and ecclesial traditions.”

Model of inculturation

“The vast work of evangelization, carried out with apostolic zeal by Saint Cyril and his holy brother in your lands, is a model of inculturation still valid in its essential elements,” the Pope said.  Rather than weakening what is authentic in different local cultures, the Pope said, the Gospel “helps individuals and communities to recognize and realize the good, the truth and the beauty.”

He said St. Cyril was able to build relationships of knowledge and cordiality among peoples, becoming a link between different cultures and ecclesial traditions.

Building bridges

The Pope hoped that the “significant spiritual and cultural heritage” of Sts. Cyril and Methodious will arouse in Czech and Slovak citizens the “desire for encounter and openness to others.”

He said, “It is a matter of knowing how to live together in diversity, through dialogue, sharing, building bridges and breaking down the barriers of distrust and prejudice.”

“With these attitudes,” he said, “we become witnesses of solidarity and builders of peace.”

The Holy Father wished that through their important public function, the Czech and Slovak parliamentarians become “protagonists of fraternity, clear and irreproachable promoters of the common good,” in order to offer hope to those who elected them.

22 March 2019, 12:19