Hundreds of worshipers gather for public prayer on Slavyanskaya Square in Moscow downtown

Hundreds of worshippers and clergymen gathered for a public prayer on Slavyanskaya Square in Moscow downtown Saturday at the monument to Sts Cyril and Methodius, creators of the Cyrillic alphabet and first translators of the Gospel and major liturgical books into the Old Slavonic language, whose memory is honoured today.

In a religious procession the clergymen and worshippers proceeded from the Kremlin's Assumption Cathedral to Slavyanskaya Square where a festal church service took place.

A congratulatory message by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II was read to the congregation after the public prayer. The Patriarch pointed out that the Days of Slavic Alphabet and Culture traditionally brought together representatives of Russia's top authorities, priesthood and worshippers of the Russian and fraternal Orthodox Christian churches.

The Patriarch reminded the audience that the old Russian city of Voronezh, home to many outstanding Russian writers, artists and scientists, had been chosen as the main venue of the Days of Slavic Alphabet and Culture celebrations in 2003.

Alexis II underscored that Sts Cyril and Methodius had not forced our forefathers into Christianity - they simply brought the Christian Truth to the Slavic people in the language the latter could understand.

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