Slavonic compares with Greek, Latin and Jewish
A photo exhibition to mark the Day of Slavonic Letters and Culture was organised at Russian Centre of Science and Culture recently.
The creation of the Slavonic script is a landmark event in the history of not only Russia but also other Slavic nations such as Belarus, Ukraine and Bulgaria. It is relevant to have a glimpse of some important historical facts from the life of St. Brothers, Cyril and Methodius, who devised the Slavonic script as an instrument of mutual understanding. They were born in Greece.
Wise men and well-educated, they dedicated their lives to the preaching of Christianity and studying sacred texts. While West European culture is based on Roman (Latin) tradition and script, the Slavonic culture is based on Bythantine culture and has its own script, which we call Cyrilic (from St. Cyril).
In 863, assigned by Emperor Michael III, Cyril brothers preached Christianity among the Western Slavs and spread the new script, and arranged that the divine service in Slavic countries was performed in their native language. They carried on their activities in Bulgaria and Moravia (now the Czech Republic) and their disciples continued the endeavour and brought it to Russia.
Slavonic language became the written language and the language of the Church services. It is still used in the Russian Orthodox Church and has become an instrument for developing literature in Slavic countries.
Underlining the significance of the Day, Sergey Karmalito, Senior Counsellor, Embassy of the Russian Federation in India, said that the celebration of the occasion would inspire many young Indians to start studying Russian language and to learn more about Russian culture.
“It is remarkable that this holiday has a long history both in religious and secular circles and it is also marked by many other Slavonic folks in Bulgaria, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Macedonia and Poland,” he pointed out.
Sergy also noted that it is significant that the similarities found between the Slavonic and Indian languages and the affinity discovered in the culture and traditions of Slavic and Indian peoples denote a common heritage once shared by the ancestors of Slavs and that of Indo-Aryans.
Although it is not clear when the alphabet was exactly composed, evidence shows that Cyril and his brother taught Bulgarians the new script. Before his death in 869, Cyril could convince Pope Adrian II that as a Church language, Slavonic is as adequate as Greek, Latin or Jewish.
In the year 886, their disciples set forth to Bulgaria where they were received with honours by Prince Boris I. The apostles of the Slavs were not only creators of the new script of divine texts. The holy brothers and their disciples made the first translation into new written language, elevating it to the sacred level of Jewish, Latin and Greek.
The Day of Slavonic Letters and Culture is celebrated in all Slavonic countries. In Russia, Church services cultural programmes, processions, round-tables, children’s pilgrimage and symposia are being held throughout the country during this week.