Posts Tagged ‘Saint Cyril’

2:01 pm

The Poor Czechs…

Today is the Day of Slavonic Apostles Cyril and Methodius, and it would be a work holiday if it weren’t a Saturday. And tomorrow’s Jan Hus Day would similarly be a holiday from work if it weren’t a Sunday.

The next holiday on the books is September 28’s Day of Czech Statehood, but that falls on a Sunday this year, so again, no day off of work. There won’t be another work holiday until October 28 and the Day of Establishment of the Independent Czechoslovak Republic.

I observed to one of my students that, in the US, when a holiday falls on a weekend, the corresponding Monday or Friday becomes the work holiday. Her response to that was surprisingly philosophical: "Under Communism, that happened here, too. Now we have more holidays, but we lose the ones that fall on weekends, so in the end, we end up with the same number of days off".

Sts. Cyril and Methodius

While Sts. Cyril and Methodius are credited with being the first to evangelize the Czechs, the feast is more about commemorating the creation of the Slavic Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets and the introduction of literacy, and not so much about the preaching of the Gospels in the Slavonic language by the brothers. The Church, however, does celebrate the feast with a pilgrimage to Velehrad, in Moravia (near Olomouc).

Jan Hus

Jan Hus was a forerunner of Martin Luther, and his complaints with the Church had more to do with abuses of Church teaching and power than with doctrinal disputes. He refused an opportunity to recant and was executed in 1415 for heresy. According to Wikipedia, Pope John Paul II expressed “deep regret for the cruel death inflicted” on Hus and went on to suggest an inquiry as to whether Hus might be cleared of heresy.

Much like St. John of Nepomuk, Jan Hus remains admired by Czechs for his integrity and courage. Old Town Square is home to his memorial:
Jan Hus memorial
And a closeup of the memorial:
Jan Hus memorial closeup

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