14 February 2011

Celebrated like a Pope

Today is the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius. The former was a monk and the latter a Bishop. Together they translated the liturgical books into the Slavonic language. At Matins, the Carthusians reflected on this brief Reading from the Slavonic 'Life of Constantine'. Here's what they heard:

When the time had come for Cyril to take his rest and leave this world for his heavenly home, he raised his hands to God and prayed with tears: O Lord, my God, You have created all the choirs of angels and spiritual powers. You have stretched out the heavens and made firm the earth, creating all that exists from nothing. You hear the prayers of those who obey Your will and keep Your commandments. Hear my prayer and protect Your faithful flock, over which You set me as their foolish and unworthy servant.

Free Your people from the impious malice of those unbelievers who blaspheme against You. Build up Your Church and gather all into unity. Make Your Church grow in number, and gather all its members into unity. Make them a chosen people, of one mind in Your true faith and in orthodox profession of it. Inspire the hearts of Your people with Your word and Your teaching. For it is a gracious favour from you that you have accepted us to preach the Gospel of Your Christ by enocouraging people to do good works and by doing what pleases You.

I now return to You, Your people, whom You gave me. Rule them with Your powerful right Hand; keep them under the shadow of Your Wings, that they may all praise and glorify Your Name, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Then he kissed them all with a holy kiss and said: Blessed be God, Who did not give us over as a prey to the fangs of our invisible enemies; He has broken their nets and freed us from destruction at their hands. Cyril then fell asleep in the Lord at the age of forty-two.

The Pope commanded all those in Rome, both the Greeks and Romans, to gather for Cyril's funeral. They were to chant over him together and carry candles; they were to celebrate his funeral as if he had been the Pope himself; and this they did.