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strangers, who inhabited Cherson; the church near which his coffin had been placed on the seashore was fallen into decay; and the coffin itself had disappeared in the waves. But it was revealed to the Philosopher where he should search, and under miraculous guidance, accompanied by the metropolitan and clergy of Cherson, he sailed to an island, where diligent excavation was at length rewarded by the appearance of a human rib “shining like a star.” The skull and then all the other parts of what they took to be the martyr's sacred body were gradually dug out, and the very anchor with which he had been flung into the sea was discovered. Constantine wrote a short history of the finding of the relics, in which he modestly minimized his own share in the discovery; and to celebrate the memory of the martyr he composed a hymn and a panegyrical discourse. Of his missionary work among the Khazars nothing more is stated ? than that he converted a small number and found much favour with the Chagan, who showed his satisfaction by releasing two hundred Christian captives.
In this account of Constantine's career the actual facts have been transmuted and distorted, partly by legendary instinct, partly by deliberate invention. We need not hesitate to accept as authentic some of the incidents which have no direct bearing on his titles to fame, and which the following generation had no interest in misrepresenting. The date of his birth, for instance, the patronage accorded to him by the Logothete (Theoktistos), the circumstances that he taught philosophy and acted as librarian of the Patriarch, there is no reason to doubt. His visit to the Khazars for missionary purposes is an undoubted fact, and even the panegyrical tradition does not veil its failure, though it contrives to preserve his credit; but the assertion that he was sent in response to a
1 Translatio, ib., “ut pote non indigenae, sed diversis ex gentibus advenae.”
2 Vit. Const. cc. 9, 10, 11, relates at length disputations at the court of the Khazars. Cp. Pastrnek, Dějiny sl. Ap. 58 sq., and see below, Appendix XI.
3 These facts, known to Methodius, could have been handed down by him
to his disciples, one of whom was probably the author of Vit. Const. The chronological order, of course, need not be accurate. For instance, it is natural to conjecture that the learned Constantine, whom we know otherwise to have been intimate with Photius, was
Patriarchal librarian under him, i.e. not earlier than A.D. 859. The narrative in Vit. Const. would certainly imply an earlier date.
request of the Chagan is of one piece with the similar assertion in regard to his subsequent mission to Moravia. His discovery of the body of St. Clement is a myth, but underlying it is the fact that he brought back to Constantinople from. Cherson what he and all the world supposed to be relics of the Roman saint.
The visit to the Khazars may probably be placed in the neighbourhood of A.D. 860,4 and it was not long after Constantine's return to Constantinople that the arrival of the Moravian envoys suggested the idea of a new sphere of activity. We are quite in the dark as to how the arrangements were made, but it was at all events decided that Constantine and his brother Methodius should undertake the task of propagating Christianity in Moravia. They set out not later than in the summer of A.D. 864.3
According to the naïve story, which, as we have seen, represents Rostislav as begging for teachers, Constantine accomplished, in the short interval between the embassy and his departure, what was no less than a miracle. He invented a new script and translated one of the Gospels or compiled a Lectionary 4 in the Slavonic tongue. If we consider what this means we shall hardly be prepared to believe it. The alphabet
1 Anastasius believed in it, but he they remained 40 months in Moravia ; heard it from Metrophanes, bishop of according to Vit. Meth. c. 6, 3 years. Smyrna. Constantine himself, whom (The Translatio, c. 7, gives 44 years, he knew personally (at Rome in A.D. but there may be an error through 868), declined to say how the relics confusion of iïi. with iu.). They left had been obtained (Ep. ad Gauderi- probably before the end of A.D. 867 ; cum, apud Pastrnek, 247 :
see below. praedictus philosophus fugiens arro- 4 Jagić, op. cit. i. 17, who thinks gantiae notam referre non passus est”). that Constantine's work as a translator This admission enables us to judge the consisted of (besides the Lectionary) story. Cp. Franko, Beiträge, 236. liturgical books containing psalms Franko, in this article, points out that and prayers. These books may have there was another legend which relates been begun before his arrival in the discovery of St. Clement to the Moravia, but the evidence of the old reign of Nicephorus I. (231 sqq.). Glagolitic Psalter (ed. by Geitler in
assume that he was 1883) points to the conclusion that librarian of Photius and that he some of the Psalms were translated in held this office before the Khazar Moravia (ib. ii. 51). For the conmission (as the Vit. Const. states). sultation of the Latin text (likely in We have a certain confirmation of this Moravia, highly improbable at Čonin the probability that he could hardly stantinople) is evident in several have undertaken the mission until he passages, e.g. Ps. 118, 130, 1 ônA was in priest's orders. As 30 was the σις των λόγων σου φωτιεί και συνετιει minimum age (Conc. Trull. can. 14), νηπίους where the Slavonic rαcum and he was born in 827, he could not daet for ovvetlEî is obviously influenced have been ordained priest before 857. by the Latin intellectum dat.
3 According to Vit. Const. c. 15,
2 If we
of the early Slavonic books that were used by Constantine and his brother in Moravia was a difficult script, derived from Greek minuscule characters, so modified that the origin can only be detected by careful study. It would have been impossible to invent, and compose books in, this Glagolitic writing, as it is called, in a year. It has been suggested that the Macedonian Slavs already possessed an alphabet which they employed for the needs of daily life, and that what Constantine did was to revise this script and complete it, for the more accurate rendering of the sounds of Slavonic speech, by some additional symbols which he adapted from Hebrew Samaritan, His work would then have been similar to that of Wulfilas, who adapted the Runic alphabet already in use among the Goths and augmented it by new signs for his literary purpose.
But we have no evidence of earlier Slavonic writing; and the Glagolitic forms give the impression that they were not the result of an evolution, but were an artificial invention, for which the artist took Greek minuscules as his guide, but deliberately set himself to disguise the origin of the new characters.
It must have been obvious to Constantine that the Greek signs themselves without any change, supplemented by a few additional symbols, were an incomparably more convenient and practical instrument. And, as a matter of fact, his name is popularly associated with the script which ultimately superseded the Glagolitic. The Cyrillic script, used to this day by the Bulgarians, Servians, and Russians, is simply the Greek uncial alphabet, absolutely undisguised, expanded by some necessary additions.
That tradition is wrong in connecting it with Cyril, it is impossible to affirm or deny; it is certain only that he used Glagolitic for the purpose of his mission to Moravia and that for a century after his death Glagolitic remained in possession. To expend labour in manufacturing such symbols as the Glagolitic and to use them for the purpose of educating a barbarous folk, when the simple Greek forms were ready to his hand, argues a perversity which would be incredible if it had not some powerful motive. It has been pointed out that such a motive existed. In order to obtain a footing in Moravia, it was necessary to proceed with the 1 Cp. Jagić, op. cit. ii. 28.
2 Brückner, 219 sq.
utmost caution. There could be no question there, in the existing situation, of an open conflict with Rome or of falling foul of the German priests who were already in the country. Rostislav would never have acquiesced in an ecclesiastical quarrel which would have increased the difficulties of his own position. The object of Photius and Constantine, to win Moravia ultimately from Rome and attach her to Byzantium, could only be accomplished by a gradual process of insinuation. It would be fatal to the success of the enterprise to alarm the Latin Church at the outset, and nothing would have alarmed it more than the introduction of books written in the Greek alphabet. Glagolitic solved the problem. It could profess to be a purely Slavonic script, and could defy the most suspicious eye of a Latin bishop to detect anything Greek in its features. It had the further advantage of attracting the Slavs, as a proper and peculiar alphabet of their own.
But the important fact remains that the invention of Glagolitic and the compilation of Glagolitic books required a longer time than the short interval between the Moravian embassy and the departure of the two apostles. There is no ground for supposing, and it is in itself highly improbable, that the idea of a mission to that distant country had been conceived before the arrival of Rostislav's envoys. Moreover, if the alphabet and books had been expressly designed for Moravian use, it is hard to understand why Constantine should have decided to offer his converts a literature written in a different speech from their own. He translated the Scripture into the dialect of Macedonian Slavonic, which was entirely different from the Slovák tongue spoken in Moravia. It is true that the Macedonian was the only dialect which he knew, and it was comparatively easy for the Moravians to learn its peculiarities; but if it was the needs of the Moravian mission that provoked Constantine's literary services to Slavonic, the natural procedure for a missionary was to learn the speech of the people whom he undertook to teach, and then prepare books for them in their own language.
The logical conclusion from these considerations is that
Cp. Jagić, op. cit. i. 9-11. Slovák belongs to the Bohemian group of Slavonic languages.
the Glagolitic characters were devised, and a Slavonic ecclesiastical literature begun, not for the sake of Moravia, but for a people much nearer to Byzantium. The Christianization of Bulgaria was an idea which must have been present to Emperors and Patriarchs for years before it was carried out, and Constantine must have entertained the conviction that the reception of his religion by the Bulgarian Slavs would be facilitated by procuring for them Scripture and Liturgy in their own tongue and in an alphabet which was not Greek. That he had some reason for this belief is shown by the resistance which Glagolitic offered in Bulgaria to the Greek (Cyrillic) alphabet in the tenth century. The Slavs of Bulgaria spoke the same tongue as the Slavs of Macedonia, and it was for them, in the first instance, that the new literature was intended. The Moravian opportunity unexpectedly intervened, and what was intended for the Slavs of the south was tried upon the Slavs beyond the Carpathians -experimentum in corpore vili.
“ If Constantine had been really concerned for the interests of the Moravians themselves, he would have written for them in their own language, not in that of Salonika, and in the Latin, not in an artificially barbarous or Greek, alphabet.” 1 But he was playing the game of ecclesiastical policy ; Photius was behind him; and the interest of the Moravian adventure was to hoodwink and out-manoeuvre Rome.
The adventure was a failure so far as Moravia itself was concerned. It brought no triumph or prestige to the Church of Constantinople, and the famous names of Constantine and Methodius do not even once occur in the annals of the Greek historians.
The two apostles taught together for more than three years in Moravia, and seem to have been well treated by the prince. But probably before the end of A.D. 867 they returned to Constantinople, and in the following year proceeded to
1 Brückner (219), with whose views right; for Constantine brought the in the main points I agree, though I relics of Clement to Rome, and it is do not go so far as to reject the not to be supposed that he would have embassy of Rostislav.
taken, or been allowed to take, them 2 Vit. Meth. c. 5, "reversi sunt to Moravia from Constantinople. Their ambo ex Moravia.” This statement, arrival in Rome was probably in 868 ; inconsistent with other sources which the post quem limit is Dec. 14, 867; describe their journey to Rome through see next note. Pannonia and by Venice, is obviously