Daily Reading for February 14 • Cyril and Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869, 885
When the time came for him to set out from this world to the peace of his heavenly homeland, [Cyril] prayed to God with his hands outstretched and his eyes filled with tears: “O Lord, my God, you have created the choirs of angels and spiritual powers; you have stretched forth the heavens and established the earth, creating all that exists from nothing. You hear those who obey your will and keep your commands in holy fear. Hear my prayer and protect your faithful people, for you have established me as their unsuitable and unworthy servant.
“Keep them free from harm and the worldly cunning of those who blaspheme you. Build up your church and gather all into unity. Make your people known for the unity and profession of their faith. Inspire the hearts of your people with your word and your teaching. You called us to preach the Gospel of your Christ and to encourage them to lives and works pleasing to you.
“I now return to you, your people, your gift to me. Direct them with your powerful right hand, and protect them under the shadow of your wings. May all praise and glorify your name, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Once he had exchanged the gift of peace with everyone, he said: “Blessed be God, who did not hand us over to our invisible enemy, but freed us from his snare and delivered us from perdition.” He then fell asleep in the Lord at the age of forty-two.
From an Old Slavonic Life of Cyril, Monk, and missionary to the Slavs in the ninth century, quoted in They Still Speak: Readings for the Lesser Feasts, edited by J. Robert Wright. Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY. www.churchpublishing.org