Bulgaria Marks National Day of Culture and Slavic Script
Bulgarians from around the country and the world pay tribute Friday, May 24, to the legacy of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, the creators of the Cyrillic alphabet.
In Sofia, in the presence of senior state officials, members of academica and numerous guests, a solemn manifestation will walk from the Archaeological Museum to the statue of the two Saints in front of the National Library.
President Rosen Plevneliev, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova and writer Georgi Gospodinov are expected to hold speeches.
Bulgaria celebrates May 24 as the day of the Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavic Script, the official Day of Holy Brothers St. Cyril and St. Methodius - the Byzantine scholars who wrote the first Slavic alphabet in 855 A.D., and translated into Old Bulgarian the Bible and the religious literature of Orthodox Christianity.
The first celebration in commemoration of Sts Cyril and Methodius occurred 157 years ago in a Plovdiv school, currently bearing the name of the Saints.
Bulgaria celebrates May 24 as an official holiday under a decision of the National Assembly dated 30 March 1990.
The brothers were born in Thessaloniki, in 827 and 826 respectively. Both were outstanding scholars, theologians, and linguists.
In the 9th century the Holy Brothers Sts. Cyril and Methodius created the Slavic alphabet and made the first translations in it. Their disciples introduced the alphabet in Bulgaria, putting the beginning of its journey to the world.
St. Cyril and St. Methodius invented the so called Glagolithic alphabet, the first Slavic alphabet, whose letters were based on the three holy elements for Christianity - cross, triangle, and cirle. Subsequently, it was modified by their Bulgarian disciples - St. Kliment of Ohrid and St. Naum of Preslav, with St. Kliment calling the new alphabet Cyrillic in favor of his teacher.
Several centuries later, Patriarch Evtimii launched a literary reform and updated the alphabet, assuming that words are expression of the divine essence of things.
Pope John Paul II proclaimed the two Sts Cyril and Methodius Co-patrons of Europe together with St Benedict of Norcia in 1980.
The Cyrillic alphabet has been in existence for more than eleven centuries, but it was introduced for the first time in the European Union after Bulgaria obtained full membership in 2007. The Bulgarian language brought the total number of "linguae europeae" to 23. With its adoption the alphabets in use across the Union got enlarged by one more - the Cyrillic.
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