Cyril and Methodius, the 'Patron Saints of Europe'
It is a historically proven fact - and one which is accepted by Slav historians -that the Slavs settled in the Balkans in the 6th century AD and that their cultural history begins in the 10th century AD. The cultural history of the Slavs was founded by two Greek monks from Thessaloniki, Cyril and Methodius, who taught the Slavs the Cyrillic script and initiated them into Orthodox Christianity. It is a matter of common knowledge that the Byzantine Greek achievements in science, the arts and letters constitute the main and central part of the infrastructure of Slav cultural history.
However, some Slav historians argue that these two Greek monks were actually 'Slavs', and Skopje has advanced an even stranger and less accurate theory: that since Cyril and Methodius were from Thessaloniki, they were 'Macedonian Slavs' and that, consequently, as their descendants (!), they have the honour of having 'enlightened' their fellow-Slavs.
A serious blow to the credibility of these theories was struck by Pope John Paul II (himself a Slav), who on 31 December 1980 issued an official apostolic encyclical (Egrigiae Virtutis) to the Catholic Church as a whole and sent a private letter to the President of the Hellenic Republlc proclaiming Cyril and Methodius, our brother Greeks, born in thessaloniki, patron sainds of Europe. The Pope reiterated this proclamation in an address delivered on 14 February 1981 in the church of San Clemente, Rome.
There is no shortage of Slav politicians and historians who accept that Cyril and Methodius were Greek: they include the Czech Byzantologist F. Dvornik, the Serbian historians of early Serbian literature P. Popovich, Dj. Sh. Radovich and J)j. TrUunovich, and the Slovenian Professor B. Grajeneurer of the University ofLjubljana.
One characteristic example of this can be found in the History of Early Slav Literature (Belgrade, 1980) by Professor V. Bagdanovich, a Serb, who writes: "Cyril and Methodius were born in Thessaloniki and were of Greek, not Slav, descent".
"Religion in Macedonia throughout the Ages"