Russian Patriarch leads festivities on the Day of Slavic Writing

Russia holds celebrations to honor the creators of Slavic writing, Kirill and Mefody, deeply revered by the Orthodox Church. The holiday is being marked with religious festivities as well as secular celebrations.

In the morning, the Russian patriarch chanted a special liturgy in Russia’s main cathedral, Christ the Savior. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who is currently on a visit to Russia, took part in the liturgy, reports news agency Ria Novosti.

After the liturgy, thousands marched to the Kremlin walls where the Patriarch announced the opening of the Day of Slavic writing. In his speech, the Patriarch called on Russian youth to preserve spiritual traditions in the midst of globalization, reports news agency Ria Novosti.

The festivities were topped off with a concert. A special government reception is scheduled for the evening.

The Day of Slavic writing is a unique event since it is both a religious and a state holiday. The holiday was officially proclaimed in 1991.

The day of Slavic writing commemorates Greek brothers Kirill and Mefody, who are believed to have created modern day Cyrillic when they first arrived in Slavic lands in the 9th century. The Russian Orthodox Church considers them saints ‘Equal to the Apostles’.

This is also a special day for Patriarch Kirill, himself, as it is his Name Day. Russian President Medvedev and PM Putin congratulated the patriarch on the occasion. During a private meeting, the Prime Minister presented the Patriarch with a bouquet of white roses and said the government is transferring a number of real estate parcels to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Celebrations devoted to Slavic writing and culture will be held throughout June.