Today the world honors St. Valentine, but the church kind of shrugs toward that saint, and instead dedicates the day to two Greek biological brothers: St. Cyril and St. Methodius, both 9th Century missionaries to the Slavs.
Cyril, in an effort to translate the Gospels and the liturgy into the Slavonic language, created a whole new alphabet. Modern Russian is based on this Cyrillic alphabet.
After Cyril’s death, Methodius took up the missionary mantle and continued the work. Cyril and Methodius met great opposition within the church for their novel way of using the common vernacular to spread the Gospel. Their followers likewise faced oppression, and found themselves scattered…which actually helped the language, and the mission, spread throughout Eastern Europe.
The Slavic tradition in Lutheranism is still very strong, with a whole non-geographical Synod (Slovak-Zion Synod) representing the tradition in the ELCA yet today.
The brothers believed in a deeply contextual approach to engagement with those they were living with, even deconstructing and reconstructing their own systems (alphabet and liturgy) in order to communicate with clarity. They were transformed in the process, even as they transformed the information, and are still deeply revered in Slovak, Czech, Croat, Serb, and Bulgar traditions.
Those with ears let them hear.
-historical bits adapted from Pfatteicher’s _New Book of Festivals and Commemorations