16 February 2013

Feast of St. Cyril

Sts. Cyril and Methodius--the Apostles to the Slavic people--are patrons of Europe in the late 9th century.  As such, here in Europe their feast day (Feb. 14) is celebrated as a feast.  (St. Valentine is no longer celebrated as part of the universal calendar.  His feast is kept on Feb. 14 in the calendar of the extraordinary form.)  In addition, St. Cyril (and St. Methodius) was instrumental in the recovery of the relics of St. Clement, the patron of the Basilica here, and returning them to Rome.  When St. Cyril died in Rome the Pope refused to permit his relics to leave the city, and insisted he be given a funeral with all of the ceremony of a Pope.  He was aid to rest in the original Basilica di San Clemente (which is directly underneath the current 11th century church).  Each year, the Eastern Catholic seminaries celebrate the feast with a solemn Mass, rotating the organization among them.  This year, the Slovakian College here in Rome held the Mass.  The Presider was His Eminence Jozef Cardinal Tomko, the long-time prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propoganda Fide).

The Mass ended with a candlelight procession to the original tomb in the old 4th century church.