Roman Catholics and Orthodox Anticipate Cyril and Methodius
Prague: The international ecumenical celebrations of Cyril and Methodius’ mission is to take place in 2013. Unofficial preparations had started already in 2010, as the Roman Catholic archbishop Duka invited Pope Benedict XVI. to "flash visit" of Velehrad on the occasion in 2013. The Orthodox archbishop Christoph, on the other hand, contacted the Patriarch of Constantinopole, Bartholomew I. who has promised to attend the traditional Orthodox celebration on May 25, 2013. This will take place near Mikulčice, at the most important Slavonic archeological site on Czech soil. Both Roman and Orthodox Churches would like the celebrations to climax on June 5, 2013 at Velehrad. Czech heads of the Catholic and Orthodox Church met to discuss the possibilities of joining their individual celebrations.
A rich supporting program is being devised. Both parties agreed on creating a feature documentary looking back at the undivided Christianity of the Czech lands in the saints’ time. Numerous scientific symposia on lives and work of the saints, their mission and influence on literature and art shall take place. The chair of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic professor Jiří Drahoš has offered his patronage.
Officially, the three year preparations for celebrations of Ss. Cyril and Methodius started on February 14, 2011, when Czech bishops celebrated the saints’ anniversary in Rome, as usual. The anniversary should not only provide an opportunity to commemorate the past but also an impuls for the present and future. That is why the Czech Bishops’ Conference has dedicated each year of the preparations to one of the iniciation sacraments: baptism, confirmation and eucharist.
As the saints’ mission can be viewed as the baptism of Slavonic nations, the first year is dedicated to the sacrament which ushers people into faith. A special Novena on Baptism has also been issued which is to be prayed throughout the first year of preparations.