In the beginning was the Word
Updated: Mar 16
My dear friends, today, on the day of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, the Bulgarian alphabet, education and culture and Slavic literature, we will make an extraordinary journey - a spiritual journey in the infinite universe of the Word, which originally reached us, the Bulgarians, through the missionary work of the Christian educators Cyril and Methodius and their disciples.
The Great Moravian Mission
In 863, envoys of the Great Moravian Prince Rostislav arrived at the Byzantine Emperor Michael III with a request to send him teachers to preach in the Slavic language.
By order of the emperor, the Church of Constantinople organized a mission of the Thessalonian brothers Constantine and Methodius, already proven in the spread of Christianity.
In the capital, Velegrad, they founded a theological school to train future priests. The creators of the first Slavic alphabet - the Glagolitic alphabet, translated parts of the Holy Scriptures and liturgical books into the Slavic language and set the beginning of the Slavic liturgical service.
God's greatness and goodness were shown in Bulgaria through the lives of pious men who renounced everything that is earthly and mortal and dedicated themselves to public education. These preachers of God's teaching are: Methodius, who was the Archbishop of Moravia and enlightened the Archbishopric of Pannonia, and Cyril, great in his wisdom both in God's works and in the world. They both lived godly and blameless lives, sowing the word of God, which was preached in Greek, and baptizing many Gentiles.
The Slavic people, i.e. the Bulgarian did not understand the Holy Scriptures in Greek, and the two holy men looked upon it with great misery. Inconsolable sorrow overcame them because the light of Scripture did not shine in the Bulgarian country. They almost despaired. Then they turned in prayer to Christ, from Whom the languages are the first gift, to help them find letters suitable for the Bulgarian language and to translate the Divine Scripture into this language. As they surrendered to fasting and prayer, they reached their desire, because the Lord is close to all who call on Him with truth.
Having invented the Slavic letters and translated the inspired writings, our first teachers set out to pass on the Divine teaching to their most zealous disciples, and many accepted it and prepared themselves as preachers. The best of them were Gorazd, Kliment, Nahum, Angelarius and Sava.
Following the example of Paul, who communicated to the apostles about his gospel, and St. Cyril and St. Methodius left for Rome to show the Pope their work, ie. the translation of the Holy Scriptures. The then Pope Adrian longed to see them, for their glory had come to him. He could not bear it, but, taking with him all the priests and bishops who were in Rome went out to meet the saints. In front of him was a sign of the cross and lighted lamps. Their splendor marked the splendor of Hadrian's joy, and even the splendor of the guests, whom, in order to glorify, the Lord was pleased to perform many miracles upon their entry into Rome.
Then St. Cyril and St. Methodius showed the Pope the Bulgarian translation of the Holy Scriptures. The Pope did not know what to do with joy, praised them for their feat and encouraged them. Then he took the translated books, brought them to the altar and dedicated them to God as a gift, because He is really pleased with such a contribution.
From the "Biography of St. Clement the Bulgarian Archbishop” (1896) of Ohrid Archbishop Theophylact, translated by Dimitar Matov, edited by Stoyan Vassilev
Pope Hadrian consecrated the translations of parts of the Bible and liturgical books made so far.
Exhausted by difficult missions, Constantine fell ill. Shortly before his death in 869, he adopted the great monastic scheme with the name Cyril. He was buried in the crypt of the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome.
That same year, Pope Adrian ordained Methodius "Archbishop of Moravia" (Pannonian).
According to the extensive biography of Clement of Ohrid, Methodius continued to translate the Bible, making a complete translation without two non-canonical books.
After the death of Methodius in 885, his disciples (more than 200) were persecuted and persecuted.
It is possible that some of the translated books have been lost.
The following year, three of the students of Constantine-Cyril and Methodius - Clement, Nahum and Angelarius, after many difficulties, arrived in the capital Pliska, where they received high state honors from Prince Boris Michael I. Thus the Slavic script and the Word came to Bulgaria.
The Word will be our guide for today's journey. It will guide and illuminate our path. He will only reveal himself to us and show us great and secret things that we do not know.
To illustrate our journey I will use different photo moments - found out, experienced, photographed and shared with you.
During the journey we will need Faith - like the one that the brothers Cyril and Methodius had to dedicate their lives to studying, translating, preaching and spreading the Word.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The Word was with God and the Word was God
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him and without him was not any thing made that was made.
And God said: "Let there be light!" And there was light.
And God said: "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters!"
And God said: "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear!" And it was so."
And God said: "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth!" And it was so.
And God said: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth!" And it was so."
And God said: "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven!"
And God said: "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind!" And it was so."
And God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth!" So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them."
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. For he spake, and it was done. He commanded, and it stood fast.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
The Word became flesh
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
The Word revives man and renews him for a new life - spiritual, everlasting life
Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me hath everlasting life... The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
John 6:47, 63
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For: "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away, but the word of the Lord endureth for ever." And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1 Peter 1:23-25
The Word is the spiritual food through which man grows spiritually
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
And Jesus said unto them: "I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst... I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
John 6:35, 51
The Word is the truth that sanctifies man
Jesus saith unto him: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Pilate therefore said unto him: "Art thou a king then?". Jesus answered: "Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
The Word does the will of God
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world. Thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word... For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me... I have given them thy word.
John 17:4-6, 8, 14
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18
The Word is written in the Bible (Old and New Testament Scriptures)
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Peter 1:20-21
In His sermons, the Lord Jesus Christ repeatedly quoted the Scriptures of the Old Testament.
After His resurrection, He told His disciples:
And he said unto them: "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me". Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them: "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
And he said unto them: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
And they were astonished at his doctrine, for his word was with power.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The Word makes man wise for salvation
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:15
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
The Word is alive and powerful
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:13
But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
At the end of today's journey
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: "Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
And let's remember that:
The Word is eternal!
Lord Jesus Christ said:
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.