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Relics of Saints Cyril and Methodius to be welcomed in Sofia on May 23

St. Nedelya church, Sofia
Photo: Ani Petrova

Relics of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius will be brought to Sofia from Esphigmenou Monastery in Mount Athos to Sofia for national veneration, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has announced. The holy relics will be placed in the St. Nedelya church in the Bulgarian capital city in the period May 23 - 25.

"It has happened that from the lands of ancient Byzantium and the Athos Peninsula, the holy relics of the first Slavic educators are to come to Bulgaria. I see a good sign in this, as we follow the historical sequence," priest Nicanor, abbot of the "Sts. Cosmas and Damian” monastery, said in an interview with Radio Bulgaria.

Historical science has not yet solved the mystery of the exact location in Great Moravia where the remains of St. Methodius were initially buried. It is also known that the relics of St. Cyril were laid in the Basilica San Clemente in Rome.

However, the priest says that the assistants of the Metropolitan of Langada are familiar with the origin of the relics of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, which we expect in Bulgaria.

"The two brothers are among of the famous saints of Thessaloniki together with St. Demetrius, St. David the Dendrite and St. Theodora of Thessaloniki. Having them was an important priority for Greek ecclesiastical history. I fully rely on what they have done because in the Greek church the attitude towards the saints was responsible enough. Of course, today we do not know the exact places where some saints were buried for the first time because of the vicissitudes of history. But when it comes to the holy relics of the saints there is no direct connection between the places where they were originally buried and where they are now. For example St. Spyridon, Bishop of Trimythous was buried in Asia Minor and his relics are now on the island of Corfu.  The relics of St. Petka of Epibates (today’s Selimpaşa) are now in Iași after crossing the entire Balkan Peninsula and that is why she is venerated by both Bulgarians and Serbians. There is information about relics of St. Methodius, which are stored in Croatia. He was highly revered by the entire Slavic part of the Catholic Church, which is known for its caring and considerate attitude towards such saints.”

The relics of the creators of the first Bulgarian alphabet - the Glagolitic script, will be exhibited in the church of St. Nedelya in Sofia.

"The relics will be officially here on Monday, May 23. From the crossroads of Hristo Botev and Alexander Stamboliyski boulevards, they will be transported by a procession to the Cathedral of St. Nedelya where they will remain until noon on May 25. As long as there are people who want to pray, the temple will be open,” the Orthodox priest says and adds an important detail: “In the same reliquary, there is also a piece of the holy life-giving Cross of the Lord and believers will be able to venerate it together with the relics of Saints Cyril and Methodius."

Author: Ivo Ivanov

English version: Al. Markov

Photos: Ani Petrova-BNR, BGNES, bg-patriarshia.bg, private library
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