Pastoral Notes 9th February, 2014

HOW MANY NATIONS ?

Pope John Paul II declared Cyril and Methodius, brothers and natives of Salonika (Greece), and apostles to the Slavonic peoples, as co-patrons of Europe (feast Friday 14th February) – which is appropriate as we welcome Romanians and Bulgarians to Britain.  St Cyril (died 869 AD) has given his name to the Cyrillic alphabet, familiar to us from Russian script,  and the brothers undertook great works of translation of the Scriptures and the prayers of the Mass.  Methodius (died 884 AD) extended his mission finally to the borders of Bulgaria.  Though there was a tragic split between Eastern (Constantinople) and Western Churches (Rome) in 1054, much has been done to bring Orthodox and Catholics together, divided not so much by faith, as governance of the Church.  The (Catholic) Russian College in Rome, largely Ukranian, celebrates Mass in old Slavonic, and wonderful Russian tones!  We pray that all the riches of Christians may be shared fully, in unity of faith.