This year marks 40 years since the Slavic teachers, the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, were declared as co-patrons of Europe. For the first time, Metropolitan Anthony of Western and Central Europe will serve a solemn liturgy on the central altar in San Clemente Basilica.
The Bulgarian Ambassador to the Vatican, Bogdan Patashev, commented on the initiative with a video address by ambassadors and cardinals on the occasion of the 40 years since the proclamation of the Holy Brothers as co-patrons of Europe.
„I was surprised that ambassadors from all over Europe responded to the 40th anniversary of the proclamation of Cyril and Methodius as co-patrons, and I liked the attitude of the ambassadors of countries like Ireland, Portugal and Germany, which are not closely related to the feelings we have towards the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, but sent very good messages about what was their mission as unifiers of Europe in the 9th century and how now with the message sent by Pope John Paul 40 years ago for a Europe to be seen as a Europe with Christian roots and a common continent,“ the Bulgarian ambassador to the Vatican said.
Bogdan Patashev also highlighted the contribution of the Holy Brothers and their mission. „They have taken very bold steps, their mission began with the belief that Christianity is an important value for this civilization and that the approach to transmitting Christianity was to pass on the vernacular and this wealth is valued to this day.
Their mission is prophetic, a thousand years later it becomes a fact.
Ambassador Patashev also noted the good attitude towards the Holy Brothers. „The Vatican and Rome have always supported the mission of translating books into Slavic and native languages. At the end of the 19th century, a pope declared the Holy Brothers to be venerated throughout the Catholic world, not only in the East. Later, Pope John II declared them co-patrons of Europe, so we have a series of gestures of recognition and respect for their overall work by the popes and the Holy See,“ commented Bogdan Patashev.