Origin and Ethnicity of SS. Cyril and Methodius, the Apostles of
There have been many speculations
among the Balkan historians as to what was the nationality of the
Salonica (Thessalonica) brothers SS. Cyril and Methodius, the Apostles
of the Slavs. The Bulgarians consider them to be Bulgarians;
the Greeks consider them Greeks; the Macedonians consider them Macedonians.
We will analyze the three views below.
Cyril and Methodius came from Salonica (Thessalonica), the largest
Macedonian city and the second most important city of the Byzantine Empire after Constantinople,
the capital. The city was founded by the Macedonian King Cassander and named after Thessalonice, the
daughter of Philip II and sister of Alexander the Great. Cassander married her after the death
of her brother. Salonica was many times under siege by the
Slavs, but they never took it. The Slavs settled the vicinity of
the city and trhouout Macedonia, among the cities and villages already
populated by the Macedonians. The Bulgars invaded the Balkans
in the 7th century and also attempted and failed to conquer
the city. The southern border of the Bulgarian empire stretched
north of Salonica, but that empire was short lived. With these
facts in mind it is simply impossible that Cyril and Methodius could
have been either Slavs or Bulgarians for the obvious reason that
the city was never taken by either one of them.
Contemporary Byzantine records write of Salonica
as the "greatest city of the Macedonians". Historical evidence confirms that the Macedonians existed
in Macedonia, that the Macedonians served in the Byzantine army,
and that the Emperors of the Byzantine Empire where ethnic
Macedonians, both before and after the lifetime of Cyril
and Methodius. As the documents over the last 2,500 years show, the Macedonians were not Greeks,
and the explicit mentioning of Salonica as the city of the "Macedonians"
in the Byzantine records, removes the possibility that Cyril and
Methodius could have been Greeks.
Fresco depicting Sts Cyril and Methodius
Bronze sculpture of Sts Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, Macedonia
Cyril and Methodius' father was an important and influential city
official in Thessalonica and held a high rank in the Byzantine society
since the city was the second most important in the Empire.
Not only that he was an important Macedonian but not too long
afterwards the whole Byzantine
Empire was ruled by the Macedonians from the Macedonian dynasty,
period known as the Golden Age of the Empire. Thus there
is only one possible and logical explanation for the ethnicity of
the Salonica brothers - they were ethnic Macedonians, descendents
of the Macedonians of
Philip II, Alexander the Great, and
Under the direct order of the Byzantine Emperor
Cyril and Methodius educated the Slavs which settled among the Macedonians
in Macedonia in order to culturally integrate them into the empire,
and for that act they became known as the "Slav apostles".
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