Byzantine missions among the Slavs. SS. Constantine-Cyril and Methodius

Francis Dvornik


Rutgers Byzantine Series

Peter Charanis General Editor


Byzantine missions among the Slavs. SS. Constantine-Cyril and Methodius


Francis Dvornik


Foreword by Peter Charanis



Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey 1970






30 College Avenue / New Brunswick, N. J. 08903


524 pages, 19 Illustrations, 2 Plates of Plans, 2 Maps, 3 Appendices, Notes, Bibliography, Index


''Byzantium,” Francis Dvornik writes, "molded the undisciplined tribes of Serbs, Bulgars, Russians, and Croats, and made nations out of them; it gave to them its religion and institutions, taught their princes how to govern, transmitted to them the very principles of civilization — writing and literature.”


In Byzantine Missions Among the Slavs, Dr. Dvornik re-examines Byzantium’s missionary role in Christianizing the Slavic nations, especially in the light of archaeological discoveries made in Moravia, Croatia, and Montenegro in the last two decades. He analyzes the architectural discoveries, including a large number of Moravian stone churches closely related to prototypes in the Adriatic Latin regions, and the accompanying rich grave finds in silver and gold, produced in ninth-century Moravia and based on Byzantine and other foreign designs. His conclusion is that Christianization of the Croats began in the seventh century and was achieved, not by the Franks, as is generally believed, but by the priests living in the Latin cities on the Adriatic, part of Byzantine Dalmatia. The same conclusions may be drawn concerning the Christianization of the Serbs. Moravia was Christianized both by Frankish priests and by missionaries from Istria and Byzantine Dalmatia.


The major portion of Dr. Dvornik's study is devoted to the Byzantine mission to Moravia of SS. Constantine-Cyril and Methodius eleven hundred years ago. The principal goal of the mission was to instruct the native clergy in a new alphabet, invented by Constantine-Cyril, and in the (continued on back flap)


(continued from front flap)


Old Slavonic liturgy translated by him from the Greek liturgical texts. Some of the native Slavic clergy were consecrated in Byzantium to form a Moravian hierarchy independent of the Frankish Church. Although such unforeseen events as the untimely death of Cyril in Rome and political upheavals in Byzantium prevented realization of this plan, the Slavonic liturgy was accepted even by Rome, and survived persecution and suppression.


The religious and literary activities of Constantine-Cyril and Methodius are put into fresh light by the author’s review of the most recent studies of these problems. The cultural impact of their work, and its survival in various nations, are clearly demonstrated. In the last three chapters, the Roman and Byzantine attitudes to the Cyrilo-Methodian heritage are thoroughly examined, bringing forth new aspects of its development in Bohemia, Croatia, and Russia.



Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 78-75676

Manufactured in the United States of America

By Quinn & Boden Company, Inc ., Railway, N. J.

SBN: 8135-0613-1


To John Seymour Thacher




List of Illustrations xi

List of Abbreviations xiii


Foreword by Peter Charanis xv


Preface xvii

I. Byzantine, Roman, and Frankish Missions among the Southern Slavs 1

II. Byzantium, the Russians, the Khazars, the Arabs, and Constantine’s Early Career 49

III. Moravia Before the Byzantine Mission 73

IV. The Byzantine Mission in Moravia 105

V. Rome and the Moravian Mission 131

VI. Methodius in Moravia 160

VII. The Cyrilo-Methodian Heritage in Poland and Bohemia 194

VIII. Byzantium, Rome, and the Cyrilo-Methodian Heritage in Croatia, Bulgaria, and Serbia 230

IX. Byzantium and the Cyrilo-Methodian Heritage in Kievan Russia 259



I. The Embassies of Constantine-Cyril and Photius to the Arabs 285

II. The Survival of Roman Provincial Culture in Pannonia and Noricum Reaching Moravia 297

III. By Which Route Did the Byzantine Embassy Reach Moravia? 307


Notes 315

Bibliography 419

Index 465





This book was set in Caledonia Linotype and printed by offset on P & S Old Forge manufactured by P. H. Glatfelter Co., Spring Grove, Pa. Composed, printed and bound by Quinn & Boden Company, Inc., Rahway, N.J.


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