Solún – rodné mesto Cyrila a Metoda v 9. storočí

Title in English Thessalonica – birthplace of Constantine and Methodius during the 9th century


Year of publication 2012
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description There are many works written about Constantine and Methodius, brothers from Byzantine Thessalonica. Vast majority of them are dedicated to their activities in Constantinople, Rome or elsewhere and their missionary and educational work in Great Moravia. Their place of birth – Thessalonica – is neglected and therefore this paper offers a short description of this second greatest Byzantine city during the life span of both brothers. The history of the city itself is the key to their success. Since the 6th century Thessalonica was surrounded at times by Slavic tribes and the city had to withstand at least five major siege attempts. Thanks to very strong fortification system upgraded in Late Antiquity, the Avar and Slav invaders were not able to seize Thessalonica. This fact largely increased the city’s fame as impregnable and God protected (or protected by St. Demetrius, the Saint patron of the city). At the beginning of the 9th century the Byzantino-Slavic relations were gradually becoming more peaceful which resulted in multiplying commercial and cultural contacts between the Thessalonicians and the Slavs. Many of the Slavs were baptized and became Christians; Slavic language was spoken in Thessalonica. This must have had very strong impact on the personalities of Constantine and Methodius during their childhood and youth. With commercial activities roaring, Thessalonica soon became one of the major educational centers of the Byzantine Empire. From the ecclesiastical point of view, Thessalonica was still rather recent addition to the patriarchate of Constantinople at the beginning of the 9th century, for it belonged under the jurisdiction of the Papal See in Rome until the first half of the 8th century. Thus, this city was very often perceived as the gate of Byzantium towards the Latin West. Taking into account all of the facts mentioned above, the missionary work of both brothers among the Slavs in Great Moravia becomes less surprising than generally perceived.

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