You may well be shaking your head at such an unromantic subject for St Valentine’s day, as a bibliophile. But you see as much as that Bishop and martyr St Val may have the caught the hearts of many, there is a chunk of my heart left for the brothers whose feast day happens to be today as well.
They were brothers from a wealthy and politically quite powerful family. Both boys gave it all up to enter a monastery and they both received Ordination.
It was not an easy time for the Church, with many of those in power in Europe showing themselves to be unworthy of the authority they held. Pope Nicholas died and an elderly bishop was elected to replace him. Adrian II was in his seventies when the Cardinals elected him against his will.
The Fourth Council of Constantinople was called and held in the beautiful Church of Hagia Sophia to deal with some of those problems.
Despite all this there were still good and holy men who wanted to know God and hear His word. The slavic people had received Germanic missionaries into their land but as the missionaries only spoke German the endevour had not gone very well.
A message was sent asking for priests who could or would speak the Slavic languages and as the brother priests Cyril and Methodius did, they readily agreed to go to work.
Pope Adrain made Methodius a bishop and tried to ensure his idependance but the German prince and bishops still managed to have Methodius put in prison. When he was released 3 yrs later (thanks to Pope John VIII) he and his brother returned to their mission.
They worked on a sctipt so that the slavic language could be written down. The people got the Liturgy in their own language; even though the German bishops protested about this.
They created the Glagolithic alphabet from the Greek alphabet they would already have been very familiar with. As with the Greek and Hebrew alphabet some of the letters were signficant symbols for the faith and life.
With this alphabet books, stories, all learning could be shared in a different way, besides the great oral traditions.