OREMUS: 14 February 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Tue Feb 13 17:39:41 GMT 2007

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OREMUS for Wednesday, February 14, 2007 
Cyril and Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 and 885

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, O God,
you lead us to the waters of refreshment and new life
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
He calls us to leave behind the dusty desert 
of withered hopes and dreams
to become a spring of faith
that others may come near to the stream of life. 
For these and all your mercies, we praise you:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 139

Lord, you have searched me out and known me;*
 you know my sitting down and my rising up;
   you discern my thoughts from afar.
You trace my journeys and my resting-places*
 and are acquainted with all my ways.
Indeed, there is not a word on my lips,*
 but you, O Lord, know it altogether.
You press upon me behind and before*
 and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;*
 it is so high that I cannot attain to it.
Where can I go then from your Spirit?*
 where can I flee from your presence?
If I climb up to heaven, you are there;*
 if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
If I take the wings of the morning*
 and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand will lead me*
 and your right hand hold me fast.
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will cover me,*
 and the light around me turn to night',
Darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is as bright as the day;*
 darkness and light to you are both alike.
For you yourself created my inmost parts;*
 you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I will thank you because I am marvellously made;*
 your works are wonderful and I know it well.
My body was not hidden from you,*
 while I was being made in secret
   and woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb;
   all of them were written in your book;*
 they were fashioned day by day,
   when as yet there was none of them.
How deep I find your thoughts, O God!*
 how great is the sum of them!
If I were to count them,
   they would be more in number than the sand;*
 to count them all,
   my life span would need to be like yours.
Search me out, O God, and know my heart;*
 try me and know my restless thoughts.
Look well whether there be any wickedness in me*
 and lead me in the way that is everlasting.

Glory and Honor (Revelation 4:11; 5:9b)

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power.

For you have created all things,
and by your will they have their being.

You are worthy, O Lamb, for you were slain,
and by your blood you ransomed for God
saints from every tribe and language and nation.

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests
serving our God,
and they will reign with you on earth.

Psalm 147:13-end

Worship the Lord, O Jerusalem;*
 praise your God, O Zion;
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;*
 he has blessed your children within you.
He has established peace on your borders;*
 he satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth,*
 and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;*
 he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
He scatters his hail like bread crumbs;*
 who can stand against his cold?
He sends forth his word and melts them;*
 he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,*
 his statutes and his judgements to Israel.
He has not done so to any other nation;*
 to them he has not revealed his judgements.

FIRST READING [Jeremiah 22:11-17]:

For thus says the Lord concerning Shallum son of King
Josiah of Judah, who succeeded his father Josiah, and who
went away from this place: He shall return here no more,
but in the place where they have carried him captive he
shall die, and he shall never see this land again.

Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness,
   and his upper rooms by injustice;
who makes his neighbours work for nothing,
   and does not give them their wages;
who says, 'I will build myself a spacious house
   with large upper rooms',
and who cuts out windows for it,
   panelling it with cedar,
   and painting it with vermilion.
Are you a king
   because you compete in cedar?
Did not your father eat and drink
   and do justice and righteousness?
   Then it was well with him.
He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
   then it was well.
Is not this to know me?
   says the Lord.
But your eyes and heart
   are only on your dishonest gain,
for shedding innocent blood,
   and for practising oppression and violence. 

Words: Theoctistus, ca. 890; trans. John Mason Neale, 1862
Tune: Werde munter

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Jesus, Name all names above,
Jesus, best and dearest;
Jesus, Fount of perfect love,
holiest, tenderest, nearest:
Jesus, Source of grace completest;
Jesus purest, Jesus sweetest;
Jesus, Well of power divine,
make me, keep me, seal me thine!

Woe that I have turned aside
after fleshly pleasure!
Woe that I have never tried
for the heavenly treasure!
Treasure, safe in homes supernal,
incorruptible, eternal;
treasure no less price hath won
than the passion of the Son!

Jesus, crowned with thorns for me,
scourged for my transgression!
Witnessing, through agony,
that thy good confession!
Jesus, clad in purple raiment,
for my evils making payment:
let not all thy woe and pain,
let not Calvary be in vain!

Jesus, open me the gate
that of old he entered
who, in that most low estate,
wholly on thee ventured;
thou, whose wounds are ever pleading
and thy passion interceding,
from my misery let me rise
to a home in paradise!

SECOND READING [Luke 11:37-52]:

While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and
took his place at the table. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash
before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, 'Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the
cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did
not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things
that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.
'But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and
neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practised, without
neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honour
in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the market-places. Woe to you!
For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing
One of the lawyers answered him, 'Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us
too.' And he said, 'Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard
to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them. Woe to you! For you
build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. So you are witnesses and
approve of the deeds of your ancestors; for they killed them, and you build their
tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, "I will send them prophets and
apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute", so that this generation may be
charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from
the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the
sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation. Woe to you
lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves,
and you hindered those who were entering.' 

The Benedictus (Morning), 
the Magnificat (Evening), or 
Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

Earth-shaking, sky-rumbling, all-powerful Trinity:
Behold your Church.

We thank you for claiming for yourself
servants from every nation and time
to be a royal priest dedicated to your service.
Lord of glory,
send us out to do the work you have given us to do.

We thank you for our common vocation
of giving witness to your coming reign.
Lord of glory,
send us out to do the work you have given us to do.

Sift us like wheat,
convert the catechumens,
turn homeward the penitents
and welcome those who are strangers.
Lord of glory,
send us out to do the work you have given us to do.

Clothe your Church with words and deeds that free and heal.
Lord of glory,
come in your might.

Light our lamps with the oil of your Spirit.
Lord of glory,
come in your might.

Make us and all your Church vigilant and alert
for your knocking on doors.
Lord of glory,
come in your might.

who created and fashioned us,
who knows us and searches us out,
who abides with us through light and dark:
help us to know your presence in this life
and, in the life to come, still to be with you;
where you are alive and reign,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, 
by the power of the Holy Spirit you moved 
your servant Cyril and his brother Methodius 
to bring the light of the Gospel to a hostile and divided people: 
Overcome all bitterness and strife among us 
by the love of Christ, 
and make us one united family 
under the banner of the Prince of Peace;
Jesus Christ our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
let us pray in faith and trust:

- The Lord's Prayer

Call us now and we shall awaken,
call us now by name and we shall arise. Amen.

The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer are from _Celebrating Common
Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary
Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving is by Stephen Benner and uses some 
images from a hymn by Thomas Troeger. The closing prayer is by Stephen
Benner and uses some phrases from a song by Marty Haugen.

The second collect is from _The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and
Fasts_, 3rd edition, (c) 1980 The Church Pension Fund.

Cyril (originally Constantine) and Methodius were brothers, from a noble
family in Thessalonika, a district in northeastern Greece. Constantine was the
younger, born in about 827, and his brother Methodius in about 825. They
both entered the priesthood. Constantine undertook a mission to the Arabs,
and then became a professor of philosophy at the imperial school in
Constantinople and librarian at the cathedral of Santa Sophia. Methodius
became governor of a district that had been settled by Slavs. Both brothers
then retired to monastic life. In about 861, the Emperor Michel III sent them to
work with the Khazars northeast of the Black Sea in the Dnieper-Volga region
of what was later Russia. They learned the Khazar language and made many
converts, and discovered what were believed to be relics of Clement, an early
Bishop of Rome.
In about 863, Prince Rotislav, the ruler of Great Moravia (in today's Czech
Republic), asked the emperor for missionaries, specifying that he wanted
someone who would teach his people in their own language (he had western
missionaries, but they used only Latin). The emperor and the Patriarch Photius
sent Methodius and his brother Constantine, who translated the Liturgy and
much of the Scriptures into Slavonic.
Since Slavonic had no written form, they invented an alphabet for it, the
Glagolitic alphabet, which gave rise to the Cyrillic alphabet (named for Cyril),
which is used to write Russian and (with modifications) several related
languages today. Thus the brothers were the first to produce written material in
the Slavic languages, and are regarded as the founders of Slavic literature.
The brothers encountered missionaries from Germany, representing the
western or Latin branch of the Church, and more particularly representing the
Holy Roman Empire as founded by Charlemagne, and committed to linguistic,
and cultural uniformity. They insisted on the use of the Latin liturgy, and they
regarded Moravia and the Slavic peoples as their rightful mission field. When
friction developed, the brothers, unwilling to be a cause of dissension among
Christians, went south toward Venice, and then from Venice to Rome to see
the Pope, hoping to reach an agreement that would avoid quarreling between
missionaries in the field. They brought with them the above-mentioned relics of
Clement, third bishop of Rome after the Apostles (see 23 November). They
arrived in Rome in 868 and were received with honor. Constantine entered a
monastery there, taking the name Cyril, by which he is now remembered.
However, he died only a few weeks thereafter. He is buried in Rome in the
Church of San Clemente.
The Pope (Adrian II) gave Methodius the title of Archbishop of Sirmium (now
Sremska Mitrovica in Yugoslavia) and sent him back in 869, with jurisdiction
over all of Moravia and Pannonia, and authorization to use the Slavonic
Liturgy. Soon, however, Prince Rotislav, who had originally invited the
brothers to Moravia, died, and his successor did not support Methodius. In 870
the Frankish king Louis and his bishops deposed Methodius at a synod at
Ratisbon, and imprisoned him for a little over two years. The pope (John VIII)
secured his release, but told him not to use the Slavonic Liturgy any more. In
878 he was summoned to Rome on charges of heresy and using Slavonic. This
time Pope John was convinced by his arguments and sent him back cleared of
all charges, and with permission to use Slavonic. He died 6 April 885 in
Velehrad, the old capitol of Moravia. The Carolingian bishop who succeeded
him, Wiching, suppressed the Slavonic Liturgy and forced the followers of
Methodius into exile. Many found refuge with King Boris of Bulgaria
(852-889), under whom they reorganized a Slavic-speaking Church.
Meanwhile, Pope John's successors adopted a Latin-only policy which lasted
for centuries.
Today Cyril and Methodius are honored by Eastern and Western Christians
alike, and the importance of their work in preaching and worshiping in the
language of the people is recognized on all sides. [James Kiefer, abridged]

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