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Saints Cyril and Methodius Day

National Holiday in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Macedonia and Slovakia

Saints Cyril and Methodius
Observed on
24 May Public Holidays in Bulgaria Bulgaria
5 July Public Holidays in Czech Republic Czech Republic
24 May Public Holidays in Macedonia Macedonia
5 July Public Holidays in Slovakia Slovakia

When is Saints Cyril and Methodius Day?

This public holiday is always celebrated on 5 July in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, who follow the Roman Catholic feast days.

In Bulgaria, this day is known as 'Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day', 'Culture and Literacy Day' or 'Alphabet Day' and is celebrated following the Orthodox calendar on 24 May. It is also a public holiday in Macedonia on 24 May.

Who were Saints Cyril and Methodius?

Saints Cyril and Methodius were two Byzantine brothers born in Thessalonica in the 9th century. Part of a prominent Christian family, their father was Greek and their mother was Bulgarian.

In 860 Cyril and Methodius went as missionaries to what is today the Ukraine, spreading Christianity among the Slavic peoples of Bulgaria, Great Moravia and Pannonia.

They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet. At the request of the Moravian prince Rastislav, they began to transcribe religious books from Greek into Old Bulgarian.

Their alphabet is seen as the precursor to Cyrillic, which was named after Cyril. Today most of the Slavic countries, including Russia, still use an extension of that alphabet.

Did you know?

Over 300 million people in 12 countries use the Cyrillic script.

Throughout his life, Cyril was known as Constantine, only adopting his religious name of Cyril while on his death bed.

Both brothers are venerated in the Orthodox Church as saints with the title of "equal-to-apostles".

In 1880, Pope Leo XIII introduced their feast into the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared them co-patron saints of Europe, together with Benedict of Nursia.


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