Thousands attend mass Orthodox Church patriarch says in Moravia
published: 25.05.2013, 14:11 | updated: 25.05.2013 14:32:09
Mikulcice - About 2000 people attended the liturgy the Orthodox Church
Constantinople patriarch Bartholomew celebrated in Mikulcice, a place
linked to the medieval Christian missionaries SS Cyril and Methodius, in
spite of the rainy weather today.
The organisers expected up to 10,000 visitors to come but a number of
them were evidently discouraged by the adverse weather.
The liturgy, in which a dozen of Orthodox Church dignitaries took part,
was held to mark the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of SS Cyril and
Methodius in Great Moravia from Thessaloniki, then the Byzantine Empire.
Pilgrimages to Mikulcice take place annually in honour of the two saint
brothers who created a special script for Slavs and translated basic
Christian texts into the Slavic language.
"We are grateful for this legacy," Simeon, Orthodox archbishop of
Olomouc-Brno, Moravia, said in his sermon today.
Czech prevailed among the pilgrims attending the mass, but other
languages could also be heard, including Russian.
Visitors from Russia have brought in an icon they consider miraculous
and that was installed in front of the liturgic space during the ceremony.
In the 1.5 million Czech Republic, about 30,000 people claim their
adherence to the Orthodox Church.
Bartholomew has been Archbishop of Constantinople and ecumenical
patriarch since late 1991. In a Turkish daily he admitted the
possibility of the Orthodox Church reuniting with the Catholics after a
schism of 1054.
Czech Catholic Church dignitaries, Olomouc Archbishop Jan Graubner and
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, former archbishop of Prague, watched the liturgy
in Mikulcice today.
The main celebrations marking SS Cyril and Methodius´ arrival are
annually held in Velehrad, elsewhere in south Moravia, on the arrival
date anniversary on July 5, which is a national holiday.