St Cyril and St Methodius Day in the Czech Republic celebrates two Greek brothers who brought Christianity to the Great Moravian Empire. They are also credited with the creation of the liturgical Slavonic language and alphabet known as the Glagolitic alphabet, using the language to translate the Bible. The holiday is celebrated on 5 July each year and is considered a national holiday.
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The “Day of Holy Brothers” was celebrated as early as the 11th century and has been celebrated in nations evangelised by the brothers for centuries. In the Czech Republic, the holiday was originally celebrated on 9 March, but the date was changed by Pope Pius IX to 5 July. The brothers are revered in the Czech Republic as national saints.
The brothers created the language in order to translate the Bible and other religious works. It is the precursor to the Cyrillic alphabet which is used exclusively as an alphabet for more than 50 languages and is named after Cyril. It is believed that students of St. Cyril created the Cyrillic alphabet to replace the Glagolitic, naming it after their teacher in his honour.
The Glagolitic alphabet continued to be used until around the 12th century before it disappeared from writings. In Croatia, however, it continued to be used until the 19th century for religious purposes, although the version used there has less letters and the shape of the letters more of a rectangle.
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