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The Introduction of the Slavonic Liturgy: Praise the Lord in Your Native Tongue - 1912

In the late ninth century, the Moravian Ruler, Prince Rostislav of Moravia recruited two Greek monks, Cyril and Methodius to translate parts of the Bible and the liturgy in Slavonic, a move opposed by the German bishops but sanctioned by Rome.

The picture shows a Papal Bull being read to Rostislav's successor Svantopluk in front of Velehrad, the fortress and and capital of Moravia. Methodius, now archbishop, is the aged, tall figure in the centre bathed in light and supported by acolytes while the guards to the left, covered in shadow, introduce a note of menace.

Upper left is a group of distressed Slav women being comforted by Cyril and at the centre of the upper level are Rostislav and the Patriarch of the Eastern church. The group of four figures upper right are the Bulgarian and Russian rulers, Boris and Igor, who supported Slavic liturgy. The figure at the front is an earnest youth holding a circle, a symbol of Slavic unity.

Cyril and Methodius remain popular Moravian Saints and this work celebrates their achievement.