To quote from the Encyclical of Pope St John Paul II, Slavorum Apostoli: ‘The Apostles of the Slavs, Saints Cyril and Methodius, are remembered by the Church together with the great work of evangelization which they carried out. Indeed it can be said that their memory is particularly vivid and relevant to our day. Considering the grateful veneration enjoyed for centuries by the holy Brothers from Salonika (the ancient Thessalonica), especially among the Slav nations, and mindful of their incalculable contribution to the work of proclaiming the Gospel among those peoples; mindful too of the cause of reconciliation, friendly coexistence, human development and respect for the intrinsic dignity of every nation, by my Apostolic Letter Egregiae Virtutis of 31 December 1980, I proclaimed Saints Cyril and Methodius Co-Patrons of Europe. The whole Church thanks you, who called the Slav nations into the communion of the faith, for this heritage and for the contribution made by them to the universal patrimony. The Pope of Slav origin in a special way thanks you for this. May this contribution never cease to enrich the Church, the Continent of Europe and the whole world!’

It could be said that this Pope had a special understanding of these two saints. As we labour under the challenges of our own day, may they pray for us, and enrich our own witness by their intercession. May God bless you this day.