Friday, October 30, 2009

St. Mary Major and Shiner

One most likely would never consider that there is a connection between The Liberian Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome, Italy and Shiner, Texas but there is...of a sort!

As we all know, the two Greek brothers who came to be known as Cyril and Methodius, are called the Apostles to the Slavs because of their evangelization and catechesis of the Slavic peoples. To accomplish this great task of evangelization and catechesis, Cyril and Methodius were responsible for the development of an alphabet and the translations of things like sacred scripture, theological and philosophical texts, and even the Latin Rite's Roman liturgy into the Slavonic language. It was not licit at the time for Holy Mass to be celebrated in the Latin Rite in any language other than Latin. So, Cyril and Methodius eventually made their way to Rome to see the Holy Father and ask for permission to celebrate Holy Mass using the Slavonic language. There was much opposition to this and at times, Cyril and Methodius were confronted with accusations of heresy.

However, in 869 A.D., Cyril and Methodius received the necessary permission from Pope Adrian II, who signed the edict of permission in Cyril and Methodius' presence in the Basilica of St. Mary Major! Almost simultaneously, Pope Adrian II ordained both Cyril and Methodius as bishops. Cyril never left Rome, dying later that same year. However, Methodius returned to missionary work amongst the Slavs.

Saints Cyril and Methodius are the patron saints of our parish in Shiner and so, we in Shiner, have a connection to the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome!

The photos above show a plaque in the baptistry at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome commemorating Pope Adrian II's edict (signed in the basilica) in the presence of Cyril and Methodius. By the way, Saints Cyril and Methodius are not buried at St. Mary Major Basilica, rather they are interred at San Clemente Church here in Rome.

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