The Great Moravian Empire (Great Moravia)

Around 830, Moravian prince Mojmír I founded an empire which we call Great Moravia (the Great Moravian Empire) these days. Its center was located in the south Moravian vales (the fortified settlement of Mikulčice and Staré Město), then its territory spread in the region of Pannonia, Silesia, part of Slovakia and Bohemia. It was inhabited by our ancestors, the Slavs, who were engaged mainly in agriculture and lived in simple dwellings embedded in the ground. From the Christian point of view, Slavs were pagans worshipping various nature gods. They spoke a language not documented in written sources. We call it ancient Slavonic. The Great Moravian Empire succumbed to the raids of nomadic Magyars and internal disputes in the 10th century.

Brothers from Solun in Great Moravia

Under the reign of prince Rastislav, the second ruler of Great Moravia, there was a threat hanging in the air of the growing influence of the Kingdom of the East Franks, which wanted to subjugate the territory of Great Moravia. Therefore, Rastislav decided, in the effort of gaining the greatest possible autonomy, to establish his own ecclesiastic organization in Moravia. He asked Byzantine emperor Michael III to send out Christian missionaries having knowledge of the language of the Slavs. He was granted that request and in 863, two learned brothers from Greek Solun (present-day Thessaloniki) reached Great Moravia – Constantine (later he adopted the monastic name of Cyril) and Methodius. And thus an important chapter of Czech history began to be written.

Cyril and Methodius became teachers and they showed the Slavs the way to wisdom, by teaching them reading and writing. They put together the first Slavonic system of writing, the Glagolitic script, and based on Slavonic dialects Cyril created the ecclesiastical language – Old Church Slavonic. Into which both brothers translated important parts of the Bible. Thanks to these advances church services began to be conducted in the Old Church Slavonic. Thus, for the first time, Slavs could understand the words said during mass because until then, priests said the mass exclusively in Latin.

Who was Constantine?

A younger brother of Methodius, a Greek scholar and a monk. He created the system of writing (the Glagolitiac script) for the Slavonic language, into which he translated the Evangeliary from the Greek. After that, he took part in the translation of the Bible and a liturgical book. In 867, he left with his brother Methodius for Rome, entered a monastery and adopted the name of Kyrillos (Cyril). He died in Rome in 869.

Who was Methodius?

An older brother of Constantine (later Cyril). He participated in the translation of the Bible and liturgical books from the Greek into the Slavonic language. He translated several legal handbooks, such as Zákon sudnyj ljudem or Nomokánon. Between 867 and 869 he stayed in Rome where the pope appointed him Pannonian-Moravian Archbishop. He laid the foundations of an independent ecclesiastical institution in Great Moravia and, in liturgy, advanced the use of the Slavonic language. Around 874, he baptized Czech prince Bořivoj I and his wife Ludmila. He died in 885. After his death, disputes between the supporters of the Latin mass and of the Slavonic mass arose. Methodius’s Slavonic liturgy was banned and his followers and coworkers were forced to leave Moravia. Southern Slavs provided them with asylum.

Velehrad in the period of the Great Moravia

In accordance with the tradition, Velehrad was a seat of Great Moravian rulers and the Archbishop Methodius. On the basis of archeological findings we can say that the Great Moravian Veligrad was localized in today’s Staré Město. In the cadastre of the village, there are settlements from the Neolithic period, supported with evidence based on archeological findings – people of painted ceramics, barrow cultures of the middle Bronze Age and people of urn fields of the early Bronze Age.


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Press Conference to the Days of the People of Goodwill in Pictures

On Thursday 27th June 2013 at 1 p.m. in the Exposition on the second floor of Baťa's skyscraper a press...

27. 6. 2013

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25. 6. 2013

Official Commemorative Medals Minted on the Occasion of the 1150th Anniversary of the Slavic Mission

On the occasion of the 1150th anniversary of the Slavic mission to Great Moravia, an official commemorative...

20. 6. 2013

Children have Taken the Way of the Two Brothers, Almost 3 Thousand Pictures have Arrived

Every year, since 2006, an art contest for children aged 3 to 11 titled "The Way of the Two Brothers" has been...

18. 6. 2013

Invitation to Velehrad Film Seminar

Roman Catholic parish Velehrad invites all those interested in film to the Velehrad spiritual film seminar.

17. 6. 2013


ZLÍN, VELEHRAD – Already second international conference on the project titled "European Cultural Path of...

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  • Here are our roots.

    (Blessed John Paul II, 22nd April 1990, Velehrad)

    They wanted to become part of those nations and to share their destiny in everything. Here, in this place, at Velehrad, in Moravia, we can feel the historical legacy of the kingdom in a peculiar way – we can feel even those who became its keepers and guardians.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

  • For us, people of the present age, their apostolate contains even the elocution of the ecumenical appeal, i.e. to build unity again, in a peaceful reconciliation, which later after their deaths was heavily damaged, and in the first place the unity between the East and the West.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

  • Their work is also a very important contribution to the growth of the common Christian roots of Europe, which by their firmness and viability create one of the main contact points, which must be respected by every serious attempt at reunification of our continent in a new and topical way.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

  • The story of both brothers, Cyril and Methodius, is a distinct example of unity.

    Saints Cyril and Methodius contributed, to a great extent, to the building of Europe, not only regarding its Christian religious community but also concerning its civil and cultural unity.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

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