On 11 May 1963, on the feast day of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius (according to Eastern rite), Pope John XXIII solemnly signed, in the presence of the representatives of all Slavic nations, his apostolic letter Magnifici eventus. This commenced the celebration of the 1100th anniversary of the initial activities of the Holy Brothers.
Pope John XXIII’s pronouncement reminds us of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Grande munus. Leo XIII’s encyclical was published in 1880 and marked the beginning of a new epoch, not only in the promotion of unity among the Slavic peoples, but also in the promotion of Slavic studies in general.
Leo XIII’s encyclical was accepted quite poorly by the Romanic and Germanic nations, and even the disunified Slavs viewed it only as Roman propaganda. On the contrary, Pope John XXIII’s pronouncement received a great response from Germans, who organized an important Slavist congress in Salzburg from 12-16 May 1963. This congress not only dealt with the analysis of scientific questions, but was also at the same time a religious manifestation. This event appeared to be a sort of compensation for those religious manifestations that fell short in the very lands where the Holy Brothers lived and worked, and where they could only be spoken of as philosophers and enlighteners.
The Holy Brothers, Greek by origin, were born in Salonika (Thessalonika), Macedonia, where a large Slavic element was found along with the Greek population. At first they were high ranking state officials, then monks, missionaries among the Khazars at the Sea of Azov, and finally, in 863 they left for Moravia or Morava, where they were sent (as is taught) by Byzantine Emperor Michael III on the invitation of Duke Rastislav. In Moravia they introduced the Slavic liturgy and established a Slavic hierarchy. St. Cyril died in Rome, in 869 and St. Methodius in Moravia, in 885.
Based on the words “Moravian Duke Rastislav,” Czech slavists concluded, and others following their lead, that we are dealing with the Czech province of Moravia. However, there were authors who held, and there are authors who hold today, that this was not Czech Moravia, but the city of Morava in Sirmium, after which the principality of Moravia was named.
Thus, Serbian historian Sima Lukin Lazic asserted that: “In the 9th century St. Methodius founded a separate Serbian Archbishopric of Moravia, that was based in Sirmium, in the city of Morava, near today’s Moravic.”1 According to Lazic, the Holy Brothers were Serbs and founders of the Serbian Church. Lazic does not cite any documents to support his thesis.
In his history of the parish and village of Morovic, Emerik Gasic states: “Tradition…holds that as the Pannonian archbishop, St. Methodius held court for a time in Morovic, and Morava or Moravia are in fact Moravic.”2
It is especially important to mention the extensive study of Hungarian historian Imre Boba, a professor at the University of Washington.3 On the basis of numerous historical documents and archeological finds, he asserts that this was not the Czech province of Moravia, but the Pannonian city of Moravi or Moravii and the principality of the same name, Moravi. Furthermore, based on a philological analysis of Old Church Slavic documents of that era, it becomes clear that these documents do not belong to Czech-Moravian territory. Based on these documents, Boba holds that the Moravian principality was located south of the Danube River, not north. The center of the principality was the city of Moravia or Morava, and that would be Sirmium (Mitrovica). According to other authors, Moravia was located near Moravic (Vele Moravie), where according to the chronicler from Fulda, “Rastislav’s indescribable castle” was located (“illam ineffabilem Rastizi munitionem omnibus antiquissimis dissimilem“).
Church prescriptions and laws also support the location of Moravie. Be it in the Eastern or Western Church, bishops are named to serve a certain bishopric or see and not a province. This is why we have the Eastern patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Constantinople and Pec, and the Western bishoprics of Rome, Zagreb and Krizevci (even if the bishop of this last one dwells in Zagreb). Only with the establishment of the national churches does the term Patriarch of Russia, Bulgaria and Serbia appear. However, even this last one carries the title of “Pec Archbishop”. In this way, “patriarch” gains a wider meaning, similar to the term “pope” in the Roman Church.
Pope Hadrian II ordained Methodius for the See of St. Andronicus and St. Andronicus was the bishop of Sirmium. For this reason, the Morava mentioned in the Vita Clementis must be identical to Sirmium, the one-time seat of St. Andronicus. The Vita Clementis stresses that the bishop of Morava is in Pannonia: “episkopos Morabos tes Panonias“.
During the last hundred years much has been written about the activities of the Apostles to the Slavs. On the basis of the so- called legend (biography) of the Holy Brothers, who truly were legendary in many ways, it was felt that among other things St. Cyril invented the Glagolitic script and that he introduced the Eastern liturgy to Moravia. Concerning the Glagolitic script, this question has been the main topic of discussion up until today. The most recent investigations, especially after the Second World War, have given us new views on the question of this script and liturgy.
According to Boba’s opinion, the majority of Croatian provinces were included in Methodius’ metropolitan. For that reason, we can easily understand how practically all Glagolitic missals and breviaries mention the feast of the Holy Brothers, while a large portion of them even had their own service.
The term Glagolitic (glagoljica) is today understood as three things: the Glagolitic alphabet, the Croatian Old Church Slavic religious service or liturgy, and finally, the Glagolitic bibliography, that is, all that was written in the Glagolitic script.
Originally the term Glagolitic (glagoljica) was only related to the script, which received its name from the fourth letter of the Slavic alphabet. This letter was called “glagolju” (older version “glagoljo“) and meant “I speak”. In this form, the name Glagolitic (glagoljica) originated from the 14th century. Later, especially in common use, Glagolitic (glagoljica) became the term signifying Glagolitic church services, and finally, as we already stated, encompassing all that was written in the Glagolitic script.
We wish to provide an overview of the origin of the Glagolitic alphabet, Glagolitic church service and a survey of the Glagolitic bibliography.
II. The Croatian Glagolitic Alphabet
Besides the Etruscan script, the Latin alphabet, the Greek alphabet and the Gothic rune, two other scripts were also found in Europe that were used by the Slavic peoples: Cyrillic, which is today in its modern form the national script of Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgars, Serbs, Macedonians and Montenegrins, that is, the Eastern and Southern Slavs who use the Byzantine rite in the church; and Glagolitic, which with few exceptions belonged and today exclusively belongs to the Croatian people.
From where did the Croats receive the Glagolitic alphabet? This question has interested and today still interests learned Slavists. Different theories on the origin of the Glagolitic script have existed and today new ones are being introduced. A number of the most important theories follow.
The Jerome theory, in the narrow sense of the word, attributes the origin of the Glagolitic alphabet to St. Jerome, the Church Doctor (died ca. 420), who was born in the Dalmatian city of Stridon, that is, on the territory that Croats settled from the 6th to 7th century. This theory is historically clearly expressed in the 1248 rescript of Pope Innocent IV to Filip, the Bishop of Senj. According to the opinion of professor Josip Hamm, this theory was not older than the 11th century and was devised by Glagolitic priests (Glagolites) in defense against the attacks of the Latin- Roman priests in Dalmatia, who were against the Glagolitic liturgy, especially during the period of Cluniac reforms.4
The well known Czech Slavist, Josef Dobrovsky, went even further and claimed that the Glagolitic script originated only in the 14th century, as a concession to Orthodox Cyrillic.5 Dobrovsky’s assertion was refuted by the noted Czech historian and Slavist Gelasius Dobner,6 who revealed that Glagolitic codices already existed long before the 14th century and today we know that some originated in the 10th century. The claim that St. Jerome constructed an unknown script was even found in Maurus Hrabanus in the 8th century.7 It is true that he did not claim it to be the Glagolitic alphabet. Nevertheless, the assertion directs us already to the 8th century. Therefore, this theory, whether true or false, had its basis in a thousand year old belief.
Michael Hocij associated the Jerome theory to Aethicus’ Cosmography. Aethicus wrote his Cosmography in Greek, which St. Jerome abbreviated in Latin. According to the investigations of Karl A.F. Pertz, Jerome’s Breviarum was written between 396 and 400.
This assertion was rejected by Hans Lowe,8 who placed the work after 768. According to Lowe, Aethicus was a pseudonym, while Aethicus’ Latin revealed signs of the Irish orthography. As a result, Lowe concluded that the author was in fact the Irishman Virgil, bishop of Salzburg from 743, who hid under the authority of St. Jerome. Some believe that this is related to the Jerome theory on the origin of the Glagolitic script, while Vittorio Peri, as we shall see, held a different view. In all likelihood, Virgil knew the Glagolitic script, and that means that the Glagolitic alphabet already existed, if not from the time of St. Jerome, than at least during Virgil’s time, that is, in the 8th century.
The Jerome theory, which holds that the origin of the Glagolitic script must be sought prior to the 9th century, that is, before the missionary work of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, has today been abandoned.9
When Slavic science began to develop at the close of the 18th century, a new theory arose, called the Cyrillo-Methodian theory. This theory has dominated until today and has gathered around itself the most followers. Slavists rejected the Jerome theory as impossible and declared St. Cyril the inventor of the Slavic alphabet, who allegedly used Greek minuscule as its base. For evidence they especially cite the following four monuments: a) the Life of Constantine (St. Cyril); b) the Croatian Chronicle (Hrvatski ljetopis), today known as the Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclea (Duklja); c) the tractate (short treatise) on the origin of the Slavic script written by monk Hrabr; and d) the letter of Pope John VIII from 880. The first three monuments have been preserved in transcriptions from the 14th and 15th centuries, and especially the first two, in a legendary fashion, speak how St. Cyril, after a long fast and many prayers, was enlightened and invented the Slavic alphabet. The fourth monument, the letter of Pope John VIII, undoubtedly acknowledges that: “Then Constantine, the former philosopher, invented the Slavic letters in which you righteously praise the Lord…” (“Litteras denique Sclavinicas a Constantino quondam philosopho reppertas, quibus Deo laudes debite resonent, iure laudanus…).”10
However, not one of the monuments mentions which Slavic alphabet it was, Glagolitic or Cyrillic. This problem was solved by the Croatian Slavist Vatroslav Jagic,11 and this was more due to his reputation rather than actual proof. He observed that from the paleographic viewpoint, the Glagolitic script was older than the Cyrillic script and therefore concluded: the script invented by St. Cyril was the Glagolitic and not the Cyrillic, which carries his name, and which would, therefore, have to be, according to the opinion of some, Cyril’s script. This well known Slavist did not consider the possibility that the Glagolitic alphabet could be even older than St. Cyril himself.
As we have stated, this theory was considered the only correct hypothesis for many years. However, modern science has also shook its foundations.
Leaving aside the various other theories, which have not left deeper tracks, we mention the Gothic theory. Although this theory did not have much response, nevertheless, it was mentioned with some persistence. This theory was defended among Croats by professor Kerubin Segvic,12 who formulated his opinion mostly on historical facts. According to him, Croats arrived in their present homeland already as Christians who followed Arianism and therefore, their Bible was translated from Ulfilas’ Bible,13 while the Glagolitic alphabet was based on Gothic rune.
The Gothic theory was also put forward by Klement Grubisic.14 Grubisic felt that St. Cyril modelled rune according to the Greek uncial script and added letters that were not found in the Gothic rune.
This theory was also followed by Hamm,15 although beginning from a different viewpoint. Hamm paleographically, or better, graphically revealed the similarities between the Glagolitic script and the Gothic rune. His theory was also based on philology. He attempted to show the similarity in morphology, syntax, and lexica between Ulfilas’ and the Slavic translation of the Holy Scriptures. Later, professor Hamm named his theory “the migratory hypothesis,” associating it to the fact that the Goths once lived on present-day Croatian territory and have even left some monuments. This only left one to show that there existed ties between the Croats and Goths.
This theory has also been abandoned. Arian Christianity spread only sporadically and could have entered Croatian regions by other paths and not necessarily directly via the Goths. Philological similarities can be found in all old translations of the Holy Scriptures as they all had as their basis the Greek original (with the exception of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, which was written in Aramaic).
The newest theories have returned to the oldest theory: that the Glagolitic script is older than St. Cyril. Even if this theory has never completely disappeared, today there are those who are returning to it, especially foreign specialists. Of the specialists who held that the Glagolitic script existed before St. Cyril, we must mention Ivan Ohienko, Emil Georgiev, and especially Michael Hocij, who already in 1940 wrote a detailed treatise on the origin of the Glagolitic script. This treatise remained unnoticed as a consequence of the war, but was brought to light by Wilhelm Lettenbauer in 1953.16
Hocij believed that the Glagolitic script developed from pre- Carolingian cursive of the 7th and 8th centuries and especially from Merovingian and Italo-Lombardian cursive. Only in a few cases were Glagolitic letters derived from another script, and not from cursive forms. The alphabet developed in such a way that the Glagolitic writers endeavored to simplify the traits (strokes) of the letters, always keeping the strokes to the right, and not returning left and then right, as was the case in Roman letters. By employing this technique the writer lessened his toil. According to the views of Hocij, the alphabet was not invented by one person, but developed little by little. He placed its origin in the 8th century on the Venetian-Istrian territory. The time, therefore, corresponds to the activities of the Gallic Benedictine monks who were missionaries on Croatian soil, and the place of origin is actually the territory of the Aquileian patriarchate.
On the basis of philological studies of Old Church Slavic terminology, Petar Skok arrived at a similar conclusion.17 Skok stated:
I believe that this analysis in its entirety justifies the conclusion of the provenance of the missionary activities from Aquileia to Croatian lands in the 8th and 9th centuries. The historical study of documents can only lead to strengthened linguistic conclusions. As a result, our Glagolitic script developed on the territory evangelized from Aquileia.18 According to the assertions of the Russian Archimandrite Antonin Kapustin, who in the last century travelled to Mount Athos and to the Holy Land, Glagolitic documents on Mount Athos, as well as in the Monastery of St. Catharine on Mount Sinai, were stored in chests together with Latin and not with Eastern codices. As a result, it is evident that they considered them Western codices.
In the oldest Glagolitic texts one can find many passages from the Vulgate as well as many Germanic elements that only could have entered from Western and not Eastern texts.
During the 1985 congress held in Rome on the 1100th anniversary of the death of St. Methodius, professor Frantisek Mares shared his one-sided belief that all Old Church Slavic texts (documents) were of Byzantine origin and were later spread to other peoples from Czech Moravia. However, renowned Slavic specialist, professor Tambora, from the University of Bologna, stressed that the so-called Opus Methodianum contained forty-three prayers of Latin origin. These forty-three prayers do not have corresponding texts in the Greek-Byzantine rite and are manifestly translations of Western missionaries, not Eastern.
The well known Bulgarian Slavist, professor Ivan Dujcev, from Sofia (died in the spring of 1986), asserted that the words krst (cross), oltar (alter), kum (godfather), etc. found in the Byzantine-Slavic rite, were of Latin origin, that is, they originated from the Latin words crux, altare, cumpater, etc. and not from the Greek stavros, mension, etc. This is the best evidence that Latin missionaries from Frankish lands operated in Bulgaria before Greek missionaries, and consequently before the Holy Brothers and their disciples. It also reveals that Latin terminology sprouted deep roots in Bulgaria and Macedonia, that neither the Holy Brothers, their followers, nor later Greek missionaries, could uproot.
Both university professor M. Capaldo of Palermo and professor W.E. Veder of the Catholic University of Nijmegen, critically examined the vocabulary and terminology of the Holy Brothers. They concluded that a significant portion of the terminology was of Western origin.
Furthermore, professor J.M. Vesely of the Pontifical Angelicum University in Rome concluded: “Cyril was not the creator (creatore), but rather only the coordinator (coordiatore) of things that already existed.”
That which professor Ivan Dujcev stated for the Bulgars and Macedonians also applies to the Croats. Professor Stjepan Ivsic often stressed during his lectures that church terminology such as for instance kriz (cross), kalez (chalice), korizma (Lent), etc. were of Friulian origin. Professor Petar Skok went even farther. On the basis of an analysis of the names of persons and places, and other words, he came to the conclusion that missionaries from Aquileia came to Croatian lands in the 8th and 9th centuries.
The above mentioned monk Hrabr also stated in his treatise that the Slavs, prior to their baptism, wrote in the Greek and Roman scripts, but without “a system of writing.”
Proof that the Slavs already had an alphabet before the Holy Brothers is found in the Life of Constantine, where it is stated that he found a script in the Kherson region. The expression “rousokymi pismeny” found in the Life of Constantine has been interpreted by different authors in different ways. F. Liewehr felt that one should instead read Syriac (“sourskymi pismeny“) because at that time the Syriac language was already a major language. Emil Georgiev held that the Slavic alphabet existed before St. Cyril. This was the Cyrillic alphabet that was derived from the Greek uncial script and that Cyril only later invented the Glagolitic script. Georgiev’s views have generally not been accepted. This was primarily due to the fact that the awkward Glagolitic script would have had to replace the much more practical Cyrillic, which was in fact the attractive Greek uncial script.
The newest discoveries reveal that a Slavic alphabet did indeed exist before the Holy Brothers. The existence of the so- called Iznebek Boards or the Vles Book, named after the god Veles or Jasna, were documents of this script.19
Was this alphabet known to monk Hrabr? Were these the “strokes and notches” that he spoke of? We do know that his assertion that the Slavs “do not have books” does not hold. They may not have had parchment or paper, but they did use material that was close at hand. This material was wood. As we are informed by a report of Archbishop of Zadar, Matej Karaman (1700-1771), our novice Glagolites used the bark of wood or stone tablets in the same manner.20
In this way, even the newest investigations reveal the truth of the oldest theory. This is, that according to its origin, the Glagolitic script was a Croatian script. It sprouted on Croatian soil and through more than a thousand years remained a Croatian script in public use, church use and in private life. Not even a hundred years ago the Glagolitic script was used: in parish registries of churches; by Croatian Franciscan Tertiaries for their monastery registries, homilies and meditations; while public “notaries” employed it for trade agreements and wills throughout the townships. Today, due to practical considerations, the Glagolitic script has disappeared from public and private use.
III. The Croatian Glagolitic Liturgy
It was precisely the first session of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council that reminded many, who did not know this before, about the Croatian Glagolitic liturgy. The Croats were the only nation in the Western Church, who for more than a millennium, had their liturgy in their old language.
From where did they receive this privilege? Here again the same theories as those on the origin of the alphabet were more or less repeated. Neither the Roman nor Greek alphabet, which had barely twenty-two signs, could fulfil the phonetic requirements of Old Church Slavic, which had a much larger number of sounds.
With the appearance of the Cyrillo-Methodian theory on the origin of the alphabet, there also came the theory of the origin of the Slavic liturgy. This theory was very simple. In 863 the Holy Brothers, Cyril and Methodius, were sent to Morava or Moravia by Emperor Michael III on the invitation of Moravian Duke Rastislav. Here they began to work among the Slavs, where they introduced the Slavic liturgy and founded their own hierarchy. After the death of St. Methodius (885), and following the death of Duke Rastislav and his successor Svatopluk, the German bishops expelled Methodius’ followers, as they claimed the church jurisdiction for themselves. These exiled followers went to other Slavic territories where they introduced the Slavic liturgy.
What liturgy did the Holy Brothers introduce? Today this is difficult to say. If we go by that which was stated in the Life of Constantine, it would seem that it was the Byzantine liturgy. In the biography it is stated that Cyril began the translation of the Holy Scriptures with the Gospel according to St. John: “Iskoni be slovo i slovo be u Boga“/”In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum.” This Gospel is read in the Byzantine liturgy on Easter, which in the Byzantine rite begins the yearly liturgical cycle, and not with Advent, as in the Roman liturgy. The majority of Slavists of the Byzantine rite hold that the Slavic Apostles introduced the Byzantine rite, as they themselves were of that rite.
With regard to the Lives of the Holy Brothers, it is important to mention that they were preserved in transcriptions made several centuries after the death of the Holy Brothers. They were primarily recopied on territories of the Eastern Church. A critical examination of the texts reveals that some things were added and explained according to the understanding of the transcribers.21
If we accept the falsified letter of Pope Hadrian II (867-872) and the letter of Pope John VIII (872-882), then it could only have been the Roman liturgy, as it is expressly discussed in these letters. Indeed, it is very difficult to believe that the Byzantine rite would be allowed to be introduced so easily on an entire territory at the time of Photios’ schism (born ca. 810, died ca. 893). To do so at that time would have meant to place this territory under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
Josef Vasica introduced a new possibility, namely, that the liturgy established by the Holy Brothers was the so-called Liturgy of St. Peter.22 On the basis of philological investigations of the Kiev Fragments23 and the oldest preserved Croatian Glagolitic missal,24 Vasica noticed that many expressions had similar or the same meanings as the Greek text of the Liturgy of St. Peter. From this he concluded that the first liturgy introduced by the Holy Brothers, was in fact, the Liturgy of St. Peter.25
The Liturgy of St. Peter originated in Macedonia, which from the 8th to 9th century was situated on the border between the Western and Eastern Roman Empire. The Macedonian administrative- political organization belonged to the Eastern Empire and, as a result, its Church also belonged to the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Byzantine rite (at least during the period in question). However, as usually occurs in border regions, there was also a mixture of peoples, languages, cultures and religions. Just as the Western rite sporadically reached right up to Constantinople, so too on the other hand, the Byzantine rite, here and there, reached deep into Pannonia. In such a land, where both rites had a major influence, a new liturgy, called the Liturgy of St. Peter, was formed. The supporters of this liturgy claimed that it originated with St. Peter, who it is alleged, initially introduced it in Rome and therefore would have to be in fact the first Roman liturgy. In its first part (text of rites), this liturgy had all the eucharistic features of the Byzantine liturgy, while the second part (eucharistic rite), was more formally rather than textually, similar to the Roman liturgy.
The introduction of this type of liturgy truly could have been very favourable for the Holy Brothers, at least temporarily, on the territory that already belonged to the Roman rite. However, it is completely certain that it could not have remained long on that territory, as is revealed by the attacks on the Slavic rite by the Latin speaking German bishops.
Be that as it may, here we are concerned with the rite that was introduced in Croatia. For this reason, we must raise the question whether the followers of the Slavic Apostles did, in fact, introduce the Slavic liturgy in Croatia? Did it already exist before, as was generally held by Croatian clergy? Adherents of the Cyrillo-Methodian theory do not have primary sources to back their theory, but only hypotheses and legendary statements in the Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclea. However, historical facts and liturgical texts speak against this view.
As a people, the Croats were the first among all the Slavs to accept Christianity. This occurred during the 7th century, insofar as they were not already previously baptized, at least in part. The belonging to a permanent rite and hierarchy is also tied to the acceptance of Christianity. Since the Croats resided on the territory of the Western patriarchate, it is completely logical that they must have belonged to the Western rite and that they fell under the jurisdiction of the Western hierarchy. This however, does not exclude the activities of Greek missionaries, especially in the southern regions, and the partial belonging to the Eastern rite in those regions. One must therefore ask, would it have been possible for the Western hierarchy to stand by calmly, after two to three centuries of use of the Latin language, and possibly the Roman rite, and allow the introduction of something new and Byzantine? If we take into account that we are speaking about an era that was highlighted by the Photian Schism, at a time of political tensions between Rome and Byzantium due to the political realities in Italy and the relations of the Byzantine emperors toward the reform spirit of the Pope, which was already felt in Rome and which would later give the greatest momentum to the Benedictine monastery at Cluny, then the answer can only be one: the introduction of a new rite or at least a new language was practically impossible.
Therefore, taking the question from the historical side, the Slavic liturgy could have originated in Croatia much earlier than the activities of the Apostles to the Slavs, and that being at the time of their baptism, that is, at the turn of the 7th to the 8th century. The missionary monks from Gaul (today’s France) were active on Croatian territory of that time. They brought with themselves, as we shall see, their own peculiar Gallic rite. The territory of their missionary endeavours fell under the Aquileian patriarchate, the archbishoprics of Zadar and Split, and their suffragan bishoprics. Some cities and the majority of islands of Dalmatia formed the so-called Byzantine Theme in which the Byzantine rite was used. We find ourselves, therefore, in a situation similar to that of Macedonia, in a mixture of rites, but this time with the penetration of the Byzantine rite into Roman Church territory. It is precisely under these circumstances that we must look for the origin of the Slavic liturgy in Croatia. This viewpoint was already long ago expressed by the bishop of Krk, Anton Mahnic, in an official report to the Roman Curia. This report was written when the question of the Glagolitic liturgy was quite actual.
Mahnic wrote this in his official report (in Italian) to the Holy See:
…I find it necessary to add this to the opinions of those who think that the Old Church Slavic language was introduced in place of Latin… From the historical standpoint, this view has no credibility whatsoever. The Croats were baptized in the period from the 7th to the 9th century, at a time, therefore, when the Latin language still was not officially declared the liturgical language of the Western Church. …Besides that, we must mention that when the Croats arrived from the northeast, they settled, be it by force, be it with consent of the Emperor, provinces that previously belonged to the Eastern Greek Empire, where the Greek language and other national languages were used, even in the liturgy. It is absolutely certain that the Greek missionaries who came from Constantinople to preach Christianity to the Croats, did not introduce the Latin language; just as missionaries who came from Rome to Eastern provinces, did not dare introduce the Latin language. …Indeed, in the Dalmatian cities consisting of a Latin speaking population, such as Split, Rab, Osor, etc., the Greek language was used there, at least partially, right to the 12th century, as was asserted by [Mariano] Armellini (Prelezioni di Archeologia cristiana, p. 140). This also applied to churches, which belonged to the Aquileian patriarchate, especially those in Istria. As a result, we could conclude without further investigation (even if not proven), that the Old Church Slavic language replaced the Greek, but not the Latin language.26
In Germany, a fragment of a Croatian Glagolitic missal in transcription from the 15th century was discovered. The fragment contained three different masses: Palm Sunday, and Easter Monday and Tuesday. As the masses do not belong to the Roman, or to any other known liturgy, we were asked for our personal judgement. After the required study, we ascertained that the masses belonged to the Gallic Liturgy of St. Martin of Tours which are found only in that liturgy. Here we should mention two things. First, St. Martin was born in the Pannonian city of Sabaria ca. 315 and worked as a missionary and bishop in Gaul, in the city of Tours, where he founded his own monastery and monastic order. He died while travelling in 397 and was buried in Tours. Secondly, the Gallic monks were active missionaries in Pannonia and Croatia from the 7th to 9th century. Insofar as the Liturgy of St. Martin reached Croatia, it only could have done so via the monks from the region of Tours, and that at a time when it was still in use there. This was, at the latest, from the turn of the 7th to the 8th century, as during this time his very own bishopric disappeared from Tours.
In the 1960s, we entered on the trail of a new and previously unknown missal or at least part of a missal. This was actually a palimpsest. Following an examination of the two pages that we received, we can conclude that the missal, or at least the original source from which it was copied, could be a century older than the Vatican Borgiano Illirico 4, today known as the oldest Glagolitic missal. Judging from the gradual of the third Christmas mass, which we have before us, even this missal was a Gallic missal. Contemporary discoveries of new texts and the investigation of older and newer ones, will certainly bring us to results that no one in the recent past thought possible.
While writing a survey of a Glagolitic breviary from 1465, we noticed through a comparison of the biblical text with the Vulgate and the Greek text, that in some places the text differed in content from the Vulgate and the Greek text.27 One such difference was also found in Ulfilas’ Gothic Scriptures. At first we believed that the Croatian Glagolitic text really was based on the Gothic original, as was held by many others before. We then decided to investigate more fully Croatian Glagolitic texts. After many years of study, we compared the Croatian Glagolitic Gospels with the Cyrillo-Methodian translation, the Vulgate, the Itala Vetus or Vetus Latina (an older pre-Jerome translation) and old Greek texts. To date we have found more than six thousand larger and smaller differences.28 We can say that a great portion of the differences can be found in the Vetus Latina and these mostly in texts that were written on the territory of Reims- Tours. It is obvious that these differences, which are found only in the Vetus Latina, could not have entered Croatian texts from Greek texts, but only from old Latin translations (texts). This again confirms that Croatian Glagolitic biblical texts were translated before St. Cyril’s translation. Since the Vetus Latina was used in Gaul, right up to the time of Charlemagne, we must conclude that the translation of biblical texts was associated with the activities of the Gallic missionaries and this was at the latest at the turn of the 8th to the 9th century.
* * *
Based on the preceding, this conclusion follows: just as there existed two Slavic alphabets, Cyrillic and Glagolitic, there also existed two Slavic liturgies. The younger one was linked to the missionary endeavours of the Holy Brothers. The origin of the Cyrillic alphabet is tied directly or indirectly to this liturgy. With time, this liturgy spread over the entire territory of Methodius’ expansive metropolitan. It encompassed the eastern Croatian regions of Srijem and Slavonija, a portion of Civil Croatia, a part of Bosnia, and then across Serbia, finishing south, in Bulgaria and Macedonia. In the East it stretched all the way to Little Poland and Rus’ lands (today’s Ukraine). With the death of Methodius, this large metropolitan disintegrated. This was primarily due to political causes, precisely in the manner in which the entire work of the Holy Brothers began: due to political and national concerns. With the disappearance of the metropolitan, the whole Slavic liturgy on that territory disappeared gradually and was only preserved in the south in Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia, and that in the Byzantine rite, as these regions were directly under Byzantine influence and the church jurisdiction of Constantinople.
The second Slavic liturgy, which was older by at least one century, developed on the territory that encompassed the following western Croatian regions: Istria, the littoral region, the major parts of Civil Croatia all the way to Samobor (near Zagreb), a section of western Bosnia, Herzegovina, Dalmatia, and more or less today’s Montenegro. With few exceptions, these are in fact all those regions that preserved the Slavic liturgy to this very day. Associated to this liturgy is the origin of the Glagolitic alphabet. This liturgy developed naturally and became so closely tied to the people, that all misfortunes, especially those of a political nature, that accompanied it through more than a thousand years, and there were not a few of them, were never able to destroy it.
Although the two liturgies went their own ways, nevertheless, we cannot think that they did not have common features. The Apostles to the Slavs were quite certainly acquainted with the Glagolitic script. Besides that, as we have already indicated, St. Methodius’ metropolitan covered eastern Croatian regions. Therefore, conditions existed for lasting influences from both sides. If we just take these conditions into account, we will understand how the Glagolitic alphabet, at least for a brief period, could have penetrated all the way to Macedonia. We will also understand how, on the other side, Byzantine-Greek elements could have penetrated into the Western Slavic liturgy, along with the already mentioned Byzantine influence in the Greek Theme of Dalmatia.
Of course, the Croatian Glagolitic liturgy did not remain as something petrified throughout the centuries. It had its mission both in the past and in the present.
In 1347, Czech King Charles IV founded a monastery for Croatian Benedictines near Prague, known by the name Emmaus. This monastery was a focal point of Slavic liturgy and later, the center for a movement to unite the divided Slavs with the Catholic Church. From here the Glagolites later spread to Poland.
In his many reports to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the well known Croatian missionary to Russia and later Archbishop of Zadar, Matej Karaman (1700-1771), pushed for the founding of at least one monastery for Croatian Benedictine Glagolites and monastic Glagolitic Tertiaries in Russia. These Glagolites were to be of spiritual help to the local Catholics of the Western rite and would at the same time serve as proof to the Orthodox faithful, that the Catholic Church accepts and preserves all rites and all languages that were already established in the Church.
In recent times some Slavic states have received permission, through special agreements with the Holy See, to introduce either fully or partially, the Slavic liturgy on their territories. Thus, in 1886 it arrived to the Principality of Montenegro, followed by the Kingdom of Serbia in 1914, and the Republic of Czechoslovakia in 1920, but only for feast days of the main patron saints. The 1935 concordat with the Kingdom of Yugoslavia anticipated the introduction of the Slavic liturgy for all Croatian regions and throughout the entire state, but the whole matter was thwarted due to the political stance of the Serbian clergy.
Today the Glagolitic liturgy is found in seven dioceses and on the entire territory of the Province of the Tertiaries of St. Francis.
IV. The Language of Liturgical Books
We would also like to address the language of liturgical books. The language of liturgical books is ordinarily called the Old Church Slavic language. Very often among the Croats we hear the expression “Old Croatian language,” “mother of the Croatian language,” and so on. It would truly be about time that this question also be thoroughly investigated.
We Croats do not have written monuments older than the 11th century. According to the opinion of experts, the Tablet of Baska, the Grskovic Acts of the Apostles and the Vienna Fragments, all belong to that century. If we compare these monuments with other liturgical monuments of that time, which were written in Pannonia or Macedonia, the differences in grammar and lexica would be very small. The only major differences would be found in the phonetic development where the nasals disappeared, the semi-vowels were substituted with full phonemes, while the pre- Slavic group “tj“, “dj” and “sk” were replaced with “c“, “j” and “sc“. This phonetic development will advance somewhat right up to the 14th and 15th century, while the grammar and lexica will hardly experience any changes.
In contrast, if we compare the language of secular monuments, as for instance the Statute of Vinodol (1288), we would already find major differences in the language of these monuments and liturgical monuments. From this we can freely conclude the following: a) the languages of the Slavic peoples, at least up until the 10th century, differed little amongst themselves; and b) the same thing happened to the language of liturgical books as occurred to the Arabic, Greek and Latin languages.
Today’s Arabic literary language is the language of the Koran and not the spoken or common language. The common language of one region, or if you like, of one Arabic nation, is quite often so different that the Arabs of another region are barely able to understand it. That which today unifies Arabs is the language of the Koran and not the common language.
The same occurred with the Greek literary language, which is in fact, the language of the Byzantine court, and therefore differs also from the old classical language that is taught in our classical high schools, and which is still more different from the common language used in everyday life.
Even the Latin language used in the church differs considerably from the old classical language of the Roman writers. This language was introduced into the church by Pope Gregory I (590-604) to replace the common Latin language of the 6th century. As the Pope stated, this common Latin was so corrupt, that it was neither suitable, nor worthy of liturgical use. From the common Latin language of that time, there later developed the various Italian languages.
The same phenomenon occurred with the language of Slavic liturgical books. In the beginning it was indeed a common language. Later, it stabilized and became a “hieratic” (holy) language of church books. Some writers, such as Wenzel (Vaclav) Vondrak and August Leskien, and Josip Hamm among the Croats, called it-and we accept it as completely accurate-the “Old Church Slavic” language.
The language of church books printed on the territory of the Senj bishopric in the 16th and 17th centuries, were no longer Old Church Slavic, nor Croatian, even if some called the language of the missals Croatian, as for instance Simun Kozicic’s Croatian Missal (Hrvacki misal) from 1531. This language was a mixture, that would more fittingly be called Slavo-Croatian (slavo-hervatski), based on a similar name used by our neighbors, who designated their language of the 18th century Slavo-Serbian (slavo-serbski).
From all that we have stated thus far, the language of Croatian church books could only be called the mother of the Croatian language in a broader sense. It would be more appropriate to call it the older sister of the Croatian language.
V. The Croatian Glagolitic Bibliography
To date, detailed books have been written on everything that the Glagolites have left us in writing throughout the centuries. For this reason, it is obvious that this overview cannot focus on particulars, but will rather highlight some of the more important points.29
Even if “bibliography” in the strict sense of the word deals with books or manuscripts on parchment, here we cannot skip the three oldest Glagolitic monuments written on stone. These are: the Valun and Plomin inscriptions (11th century) from Istria, and the so-called Tablet of Baska, which was recently determined by J. Hamm to have consisted of three inscriptions. The first and second parts were written in 1077, while the third part was written in 1089. This tablet was written in St. Lucy Abbey near Baska on the Island of Krk and contains the donation of the Croatian King Zvonimir.30 All three monuments are important from the paleographic and philologic viewpoints, as they clearly reveal the development of the Glagolitic alphabet and the Croatian language. They are also important from the national and political viewpoints, as they show how far the Croatian language and Croatian national territory spread from the oldest times. Besides this, the Baska Tablet provides us with the name of the great Croatian King Zvonimir in its national form, while the names of the remaining dukes and kings from that era are known mainly from Latin documents, as the Latin language was the official language of cultured Europe at that time.
Since we are already discussing written monuments on stone, we should also mention one more. That is the 1541 baptismal font with the Glagolitic inscription in Sterna, which is today found in Slovenia. The inscription itself, as the names of the population, reveals that Croatian national territory of the 16th century was spread deep into today’s Slovenia. The situation is also well known to us from other historical sources.
With regard to other monuments of Glagolitic literacy, as we have already mentioned, their number is quite large, beginning from the oldest times up until today and they encompassed all areas of public life. As the Glagolitic script originated precisely due to church-liturgical requirements, the largest number of monuments are related to liturgical and church needs. This includes items such as: missals, breviaries, psalters, lectionaries, rituals, miscellanies, sacerdotal hand-books, homilies, etc.
Let us mention a few of the most important monuments. The oldest preserved missal is the Borgiano-illirico 4, found in the Vatican Library. The missal was written around the mid-14th century in a large format, in two columns. The script is very beautiful and it is decorated with picturesque initial letters in the Croatian interlace motif. The missal is especially important today because it contains traces of the oldest Slavic liturgy and still more importantly due to its biblical texts, which we have already discussed.
V. Jagic dated this missal at ca. 1350, while Vajs placed it at the beginning of the 14th century, that is, between 1317 and 1323. On the basis of liturgical facts we have shown that Jagic’s opinion is more correct.31
When discussing antiquities, we should also mention that the Oxford Bodleian Library houses another missal (Cod. sign. M.S. Canon Liturg. 172), which carries the year 1310 on its last page. However, according to Vajs’ opinion this is very suspicious, since the script does not correspond to such an old date. On the basis of its liturgical contents, it appears that Vajs’ opinion is correct.
Along with these oldest fully complete missals are a number of fragments that are still older than the mentioned missals. These are the already discussed Kiev Fragments from the 11th to 12th century, which were written in part on Croatian soil, the Premuda Baska Fragments from the 12th century, and the Kukuljevic Missal Fragment and the Bribinje Missal from the 13th century.
The Missal of Duke Novak of 1368 is today held in the Vienna National Library (Cod. slav. 8). Duke Novak wrote the missal in his own hand for the salvation of his soul. The book is decorated with numerous illuminated initials in gold and in color. It also contains many miniatures and two large full page illustrations.
The Roc Missal, from the same century, originated in Roc, Istria. The script is very beautiful and is decorated with many initials and several miniatures. It includes a complete missal and a portion of a ritual-book, containing the rite of trimming a child’s hair, marriage and various benedictions. This type of contents is found, more or less, in all Glagolitic missals and from the ritual side of things, it is evident that they were all contingent upon the same original.
The University Library in Ljubljana (Sign. c. 162 a/2) houses a missal that Dragutin Antun Parcic and Ivan Bercic placed in the 14th century. We mention it because of its importance to art history (due to its pictures) and its paleography, since it contains rounded forms of some letters. It was written by “the priest Juri of Beram” (“pop Juri namestnik u Berme“).
The Vrbnik parish office stores the missal known as the Second Vrbnik Missal. Its letters are of the beautiful angular type. From the beginning to folio fifty-four it contains Glagolitic initials, while the remaining folios (up to 286) contain Latin initials. This phenomenon occurred very often in other Glagolitic missals and breviaries. It is obvious that the copyists used Latin originals. It is precisely this missal that provides us with a remarkable example. While other transcribers made an effort to give individual Glagolitic texts the corresponding initial letter, this copier simply substituted Latin initials without any regard to the Glagolitic texts. For instance, in the third Christmas Mass, which in the Glagolitic missal begins with the words “Otroce rodi se nam,” we would expect that the Glagolitic missal would contain the initial “O“. Instead, the transcriber merely copied the Latin initial “P” corresponding to the Latin missal which begins with “Peur natus est nobis.”
One more missal from the 15th century should also be singled out, the so-called Missal of Duke Hrvoje of Split. This missal was written by the writer Butko. The Turks took this missal from Buda to Istanbul as war booty. From Istanbul the missal was sent to be examined at the Vienna University, where Jagic worked. On its return to Istanbul the missal was lost. It was recently located in the Topkapy Saray Library in Istanbul. The missal was decorated with beautiful initials and pictures. The pictures are allegorical (at the beginning of months), symbolic (the four Evangelists) and historical (various saints). According to the views of experts, the artist belonged to the Tuscan school.
Of the many breviaries, we will mention only the two-part breviary that is kept in the Vatican Library: the Borgiano- illirco 5-6 from 1364 and 1387. The breviary is decorated with striking picturesque initials in the Croatian interlace style. It is especially important for the study of Croatian sanctorale. Along with the Book of Psalms and remaining prescribed sections of the breviary, there is also found the ritual part. The liturgy of the Holy Brothers is located at the end of the codex. Since this liturgy is not found in the so-called main text, but at the end of the book, it is clear that it was added later. Another important aspect of the codex is that it contains its own liturgy of St. Francis and his life, which was written by St. Bonaventure, the so- called Legenda Maior. Therefore, it is clearly a Franciscan breviary. We must also mention that the majority of Glagolitic missals and breviaries had the Franciscan’s special devotion to the saints, be this due to the fact that they were originally Franciscan missals and breviaries, or be it due to the fact that they were copied from them. This is quite clear in itself. The majority of village Glagolites were not capable of translating liturgical texts directly from Latin. This is why for their purposes they copied from texts that had already been translated, which for the most part originated in monasteries.
When the printing press appeared in Europe, the first Glagolitic print shop opened in Croatia very early. This was in 1482 at Kosinj, Lika. This printing house was founded by Duke Anz VIII Frankopan of Brinje. He most probably had the letters cut in Venice and used as his source the missal of his wife’s great- grandfather, Duke Novak of Krbava. As we have already stated, Duke Novak wrote the missal in his own hand in 1368. This was the first printing press on South and East Slavic soil (the first Russian book was only printed in 1611). This first Croatian printing press also made available the first printed Glagolitic missal in 1483, whose original source was again the mentioned Missal of Duke Novak.32
This printing shop most likely printed the oldest breviary from which only one copy has been preserved in Venice, in the library of S. Marco. After the battle of the Plain of Krbava (1493) the region was layed waste to by the Turks and the printing shop, it appears, was relocated to the coast. After this move, the next succession of printed missals and breviaries began, of which only some are mentioned below.
In 1494 the second edition of a missal was published in Senj “by Master Blaz Baromic, Master Salvestar Bedricic and Deacon Gaspar Turcic, with the approbation and by the Grace of our Lord God” (“s dopuscen’nem i volju G(ospodi)na B(og)a od’ domina Blaza Baromica i domina Salvestra Bedricica i zakna Gaspara Turc’ca“). Canon Baromic was also the corrector of a Glagolitic breviary from 1493, while Silvestar Bedricic, the Archdeacon of Senj, wrote the book Manual for Spiritual Guidance (Narucnik plebanusev) of 1507.
In 1528 there appeared in Venice a new Glagolitic missal, issued “by friar Paval of Modrus, of the seraphic Order of Conventuals of St. Francis” (“po fratru Pavlu Modrusaninu ot’ reda serafika svetago Franciska konventovali“). The printers were Francesco Bidoni and Mafeo Pasyni.
In Rijeka the “…Croatian Missal… corrected by… Father Simun Kozicic, Bishop of Zadar, and printed at his residence in Rijeka” (“…Misal hrvack’… popravlen’…otcem’ gospodinom” Simunom’ Kozicic’, Zadraninom’, biskupom’ Modruskim’ stampan’v Rici v hizah’ ego prebivane…“) appeared in 1531.
The last liturgical book printed before the Council of Trent was the so-called Brozic Codex, which contained a breviary, missal and ritual. The codex was printed in Venice by the sons of G. Francesco Turesani. The Glagolitic colophon stated: “The completion of this Croatian breviary printed in Venice…and reprinted anew by the parish priest Nikola Brozic in Omisalj in the month of March 1531” (“Svrsenie privieli hirvackih’ stampani va Bnecih’…znova ucineni po pre Mikuli Brozici plovani omiselskom’ miseca marca 1531“).
The year 1631 marked the beginning of a new period for Croatian Glagolitic books. After the Tridentine Council, the printing of Glagolitic liturgical books was taken over by the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. The first Croatian Glagolitic missal printed by the Propagation was in 1631, while the first Glagolitic breviary appeared in 1648. Both books were published by the Franciscan Father Rafael Levakovic, who later became Archbishop of Ohrid in Macedonia. The sign indicating that it was the Propogation’s publication is that its language fell under the influence of Ukrainian liturgical books. The reason for this change was the Propogation’s consultants and censors who were all Ukrainian and who considered the language of their liturgical books more correct and refined. The breviary from 1688 could be added to these first two editions, and its language was still further Russified. A new edition of Levakovic’s missal appeared in 1706 without any changes. In Matija Karaman’s (later Archbishop of Zadar) edition of 1741, a completely new missal was printed which was completely Russified. With this missal and the 1791 printing of a Glagolitic breviary under the editorship of Gocinic, the period of Russified Croatian Glagolitic liturgical books came to an end.33
On the order of Pope Leo XIII, the Canon of St. Jerome’s in Rome, Antun Dragutin Parcic, prepared the Acts and Guides to the Mass (Cin’ i Pravilo Misi) in 1881 and the complete missal in 1893. In his modifications Parcic used the oldest Croatian Glagolitic books and thereby returned to the oldest language forms. In 1905 a second edition of this missal was published, while in 1927 Josef Vajs published the same missal in the Roman script. In his editon Vajs introduced many Czechisms and used an incorrect and foreign method of transcription. In that way Vajs spoiled Parcic’s edition.
Along with church and liturgical monuments, a large number of monuments with secular content also existed. These included historical and juridical monuments (both civil and ecclesiastic), verse, lexicons and grammars, public-legal agreements, and so on. It is noteworthy to mention the Statute of Vinodol from 1288, which was followed by many other statutes and rules (regula) that regulated public or ecclesiastic life. Today these documents serve as historical sources of juridicial life among the Croats from eras long ago. Since there are a large number of these types of monuments, and our space is limited, we cannot discuss them individually.
Croatian poets, called Initiators (Zacinjaoci),34 also added their secular poetry to existing church verse. Even in the epic Judita (Judith) of the father of modern Croatian literature, Marko Marulic of Split, which commenced the period of modern Croatian literature, we can find sources, directly or indirectly, in Glagolitic texts.35
In this way Croats, who already from the oldest times quite happily departed for various foreign universities (especially in Italy and Paris) and enriched themselves in Western culture, did not abandon their very own culture, which sprang and blossomed on their soil. According to evidence from many monuments, their endeavours could not be stopped either by centuries-long wars against the Turks, as they remained the bulwark of Europe, or by their more numerous and stronger neighbors who very often attempted to politically and culturally subjugate them.
In closing we can ask: what is the final conclusion of the more recent investigations of the Glagolitic question? Do we Croats owe the Holy Brothers, and if we do, what do we owe them?
To the first question we can reply in short that with regard to the Glagolitic alphabet, today we can say with complete certainty that it is the Croatian national alphabet and that it originated through a natural process on Croatian territory. Paleography (the science of the origin of alphabets) shows that the Glagolitic alphabet is of Western origin, that is, precisely one of the Roman scripts, and not Greek, and still less Eastern. Historical monuments testify that the Glagolitic script was known to Latin authors at least in the 8th century, that is, before the missionary activities of the Holy Brothers. Liturgical monuments reveal that their source was Latin liturgical monuments of the 7th and 8th centuries. There can be only one logical conclusion: the Glagolitic alphabet is older than St. Cyril, and therefore, he could not have “invented” it (just as, after all, not a single alphabet was invented, but rather originated through a natural development). Since this alphabet is Slavic, and since liturgical monuments were written in an alphabet of Latin origin, it could only have originated on the territory of Slavic Christians of the Western rite, and these could only have been the Croats. Therefore, there is again only one conclusion: the Glagolitic alphabet originated among the Croats, and therefore it is accordingly, a true Croatian alphabet.
Inasmuch as we wish to accept literally his legendary life, St. Cyril could only have invented the Cyrillic alphabet, which, in reality, is nothing other than the Greek uncial script of the 9th century. It was only necessary to combine and adjust some letters to Old Church Slavic sounds and the Cyrillic alphabet was invented.
With respect to the Glagolitic liturgy, things are much simpler. The Croats were baptized (or as some wish, converted into the Catholic Church, since they were allegedly already Arians) in the 7th century. They most certainly belonged to the Western rite, as they lived on the territory of the Western patriarchate. From the beginning this rite must have been either in the Latin or Slavic language. Had it been in Latin, no one in the 9th or 10th century could have changed it as that was the period of the Photian Schism, the conflict between the Eastern and Western churches, and the era of Western church reforms. To have introduced at that time something that belonged to the Eastern church, would have meant to acknowledge the East. This could never have been accepted by Rome or the Croats. In addition, who could have introduced the vernacular language? The exiled disciples of the Holy Brothers, as is normally believed? Insofar as the followers of the Apostles to the Slavs were Moravian, they remained in their homeland. Insofar as they truly were expelled, these could have only been the Macedonians and under the best of circumstances they could have numbered several dozen. That these few dozen followers spread the Slavic liturgy, under the conditions we have previously described, is difficult to conceive. Therefore, even from this angle only one conclusion remains: the Slavic liturgy originated in Croatia and therefore was to remained only in Croatia.
When the Holy Brothers decided on the difficult mission in Moravia, they needed to decide in advance on the rite, language and script they would use. As Byzantines, their most natural choice was the Byzantine rite and as a result, the national language of the region to which they were going, as no one would be able to understand Greek anyway. And the script? As important high-ranking state officials, the Holy Brothers must have been familiar with Croatian territories, at least those that formed the Byzantine Theme of Dalmatia (the Islands, some cities, and a portion of the western Istrian coast), as the Emperor’s court kept itself informed, as is seen in the document De administrando imperio of Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. For a person of that era, Porphyrogenitus had a fairly good grasp of Croatian history: he knew of the names of Croatian regions, rivers and islands. He even preserved some old Croatian names of islands that were later lost through Roman and Italian influences. As a result, the Holy Brothers must have known the condition of the Croatian Church, liturgy and script. It is not even excluded that they may have already been introduced to the Glagolitic script in Salonika, where there were many Slavs and where they also learned the Slavic language. Presupposing that these Slavs had some kind of a permanent culture while living in a cultural milieu, the Glagolitic alphabet could have quite easily penetrated Macedonia directly or indirectly, as Macedonia, like the Dalmatian Theme, was under Byzantium.
For this reason, the decision to use the Glagolitic alphabet imposed itself. If we also take into account the continuous attacks of the Latin priests on the Byzantine rite, St. Cyril must have very quickly decided on the Western rite. Where would he find the source for his liturgical books? Again in Croatia. This is shown by the previously mentioned Kiev Fragments. The Kiev Fragments were written in the Glagolitic alphabet and the liturgical contents are masses of the Western rite, translated from an original that was used, more or less, on the territory of the Aquileian patriarchate. It is manifestly evident, therefore, that the first original translation could only have arisen in Croatia. This is best seen in the Kiev Fragments, which are in fact only copies from another source. The Czech W. Vondrak stated that the homeland of the Kiev Fragments was the same as that of the so-called Freising Fragments and that was approximately Istria-Koruska (Carinthia). St. M. Kuljbakin who, to be sure, did not decide on the area in which these leaflets were written, nevertheless stood firmly against the view that they could have come from Moravia or some other northern Slavic nation.36
In her study of the Kiev Fragments, Marija Pantelic accepts the thesis that they were written on Czech-Moravian territory at the end of the 10th century, except the first page which was written later. She concludes that: “Based on the contents, language and script of the Kiev Fragments, they represent the oldest Glagolitic monuments of Slavic literacy and culture.” However, “the younger copies of the Kiev Fragments and the Sinai Liturgy from the 11th or beginning of the 12th century testify to the use of Kiev Fragments and the Sinai Liturgy in a border region, a mixed territory of that time, as was the case in Dubrovnik and the Peljesac peninsula with its hinterland.”37 Consequently, the fragments should have been written on Czech territory and were used on Croatian territory!?
As a result, in their missionary work among the Pannonian Slavs, the Holy Brothers employed our national alphabet and our national liturgy. This, in fact, was not the first time that our national script and our national liturgy spread toward the north. It would repeat itself a second time, as we have already seen, during the reign of the Czech King Charles IV and a third time after the First World War.
We therefore, have reasons to be proud of our antiquities and we have sufficient reason to be thankful to the Holy Brothers, who for the first time revealed to the Slavs and to other peoples, what we had and what we were.
Today, when not only Slavic nations, but also non-Slavic nations celebrate the works of the Slavic Apostles, we Croats must not fall short and forget to give them full honor and recognition.
Translated by Stan Granic
* An earlier version of this article appeared under the title “Hrvatska glagoljica. Povodom 1100. godisnjice djelovanja svete brase Cirila i Metoda (863.-1963.),” Hrvatska revija, 13, no. 4 (1963), 469-491. It was later revised under the title “Hrvatska glagoljica” in a collection of the author’s essays under the same title: Hrvatska glagoljica (Zagreb: Hrvatska uzdanica, 1998), pp. 9-34. This revised version is translated here. A Spanish translation of the 1963 article appeared under the title “La glagolitza croata. Con motivo del 1100 aniversario de la actuacion de los Ss. Cirilo y Metodio (863-1963),” Studia Croatica, 5, nos. 1-2 (1964), 55-75. The translator is grateful to Dr. Vinko Grubisic of the University of Waterloo for his assistance during the translation process-trans.
1 S.L. Lazic, Kratka povjesnica Srba od postanja srpstva do danas (Zagreb, 1894), p. 102.
2 E. Gasic, Povijest zupe i mjesta Moravic (Dakovo, 1936), p. 176.
3 I. Boba, Moravia’s History Reconsidered: A Reinterpretation of Medieval Sources (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1971). Croatian translation: I. Boba, Novi pregled na povijest Moravije (Split: Crkva u svijetu, 1986).
4 J. Hamm, Gramatika starocrkvenoslavenskog jezika (Zagreb: Nakladni zavod Hrvatske, 1947), p. 15.
5 J. Dobrovsky (1753-1829) wrote many works in the field of Slavic studies. He marks the birth of scholarly research into Slavic philology, literature and history. His stand with respect to the Croatian Glagolitic heritage was quite negative. Cf.: Masarikov slovnik naucny, 2, 307.
6 G. Dobner (1719-1790) the Czech priest, piarist and historian wrote many historical works. He taught many things that science only later established. One of his teachings was that the Glagolitic script pre-dated Cyrillic. Cf.: Masarikov slovnik, 2, 304.
7 Magnetius Hrabanus Maurus was born in 784 in Mainz (Magonza).
He was a very prolific Church author whose works are collected in Jacques Paul Migne’s Patrologia Latina. Initially Maurus was a deacon, then an abbot in Fulda, and finally an archbishop in Mainz, where he died in 856. His treatise on the origin of scripts is found in his work De inventione linguarum ab Hebraea usque ad Theodiscam, et notis antiques, in Patrologia Latina, ed. J. P. Migne (Paris, 1844-1855), CXII, 1579-1584.
8 H. Lowe [Loewe], Ein literarischer Widersacher des Bonifatius. Virgil von Salzburg und die Kosmographie des Aeticus Ister, Abhandlungen der Geistes-und Sozialwissenschaftishen Klasse, Jahrgang 1951, no. 11 (Mainz: Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, 1952).
9 In 1985 a symposium on Croatian church and social history was held in Split. At this symposium, Vatican Library copyist, Dr. Vittorio Peri, was to have held a lecture on the Jerome theory. Unfortunately, because a congress was held [in Rome] on the 1100th anniversary of the death of St. Methodius, he could not attend. Dr. Peri asserts that we are in fact dealing with a copyist named Jerome, who copied much and over time he has been credited with the invention of an alphabet. With time this mere mortal became identified as St. Jerome.
10 A. Theiner, Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Berolini: Apud Weidmannos, 1927), VII, 223. For this and other documents dealing with the Slavic liturgy see: I. Prodan, Borba za glagolicu (Zadar, 1900), Part I: Poviest glagolice i njeni izvori, supplement B, pp. 1-127.
11 Vatroslav Jagic was born in Varazdin, Croatia, on 6 July 1838 and died in Vienna on 5 April 1923. He was a university professor in Odessa, Russia, then later in Berlin, Germany (from 1874), where he founded his celebrated Archiv fur slavische Philologie. In 1880 he became a professor in St. Petersburg, Russia, and finally in Vienna in 1886. He was the central figure of Slavic studies during the last fifty years of his life. He published the following old texts: Quattuor Evangeliorum codex Glagoliticus olim Zographensis nunc Petropolitanus (1879), Quattuor Evangeliorum versionis palaeoslavenicae codex Marianus (1883), Psalterium Bononiense (1907), and many others. He has written many studies on the origin of the Glagolitic script and the Old Church Slavic language and literature; he has also dealt with the archeology, history and literature of Croatia and Russia, and other Slavic languages. Here we are primarily interested in his work on the Glagolitic script that was written in the Russian language: V. Jagic, “Glagoliceskoje pismo,” Enciklopedija slavjanskoj filologii (St. Petersburg: Akademii nauk, 1911), III (Grafika u slavjan), 51-262 + 36 pages of plates.
12 K. Segvic, Hrvatski jezik u katolickom bogostovlju. Prigodom 1300-godisnjice pokatolicenja Hrvata (Zagreb: St. Kugli, 1941).
13 Ulfilas (Gothic, Wulfila) was born ca. 311 in Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and died ca. 383. At the age of thirty he was consecrated a bishop by Eusebius of Nicomedia. He served as the Apostle to the Visigoths, even for a time in the Danube River basin. He translated the New Testament into the Gothic language. This translation is known under the name Codex Argenteus and is preserved at the University of Uppsala, Sweden (Enciclopedia Italiana, XXXIV, 629).
14 C. Grubissich, In originem et Historiam Alphabeti Sclavonici Glagolitici vulgo Hieronymiani, Disquistio Antiquitatis Populorum Septemtrinalium Reique Litteratiae Sclavonicae et Ruinicae Studiosis (Venice, 1766).
15 J. Hamm, “Postanak glagoljskog pisma u svijetlu paleografije,” Nastavni vjesnik, 46 (Zagreb, 1939) 39-61.
16 W. Lettenbauer, “Zur Entstehung des glagolitischen Alphabets,” Slovo, 3 (Zagreb, 1953), 35-50. Other works dealing with this are: K. A. F. Pertz, De cosmographia Ethici, libri tres (Berlin, 1853); M. Hocij, “Die westlichen Grundlagen des glagolitischen Alphabets,” Sudostdeutsche Forschungen, 4 (Munich, 1940), 509-600.
17 P. Skok, “Uslovi zivota glagoljice,” Slovo, 3 (1953), 60.
18 Skok, “Uslovi,” p. 60.
19 For more on this see: “Kriticki pogled na Zice Cirilovo i Hrabrovu raspravu O pismeneh,” in Hrvatska glagoljica, pp. 35-50.
20 R. Pesic, “Jedna nepoznata istorija Slovena. ‘Izenbekove dascice’ – ‘Vles knjiga’ ili ‘Jasna’,” Pravoslavlje, no. 554 (1990), 9; G. Krasnov, “‘Izenbekove dascice’ – najstariji nepoznati dokument slavenske pismenosti i proslosti,” Marulic, no. 1 (1991), 84-85.
21 Japundzic, “Kriticki pogled,” pp. 35-50.
22 J. Vasica, “Slovanska liturgie sv. Petra,” Byzantinoslavica, 8 (1946), 1-54.
23 The Kiev Leaflets (or Folia) are fragments of a missal from the 10th century that were copied (transcribed) from an earlier original dated in the 9th century. The following studies have dealt with it: C. Mohlberg, Il messale Glagolitico di Kiew (sec. IX) ed il suo prototipo Romano del sec. VI-VII, in the series Memorie della Pontificia accademia Romana di Archeologia, (Rome, 1928), II; J. Vajs, “Kanon charvatsko-hlaholskego vatikanskeho misali III. 4. Prostejsek hlaholskych listu Kievskych,” Casopis pro moderni filologie, 25 (1939), 113-134; id., “Mesni rad charvatsko- hlaholskeho misalu III. 4 a jeho pomer k moravsko-pannonskemu sakramentari stol. IX,” Acta Academiae Velehradensis, 15, no. 2 (1939), 89-141; J. Vasica, “Slovanska liturgie nove osvetlena Kijevskymi listy,” Slovo a slovesnost, 6 (Prague, 1940), 65- 77.
24 Today this missal is kept in the Vatican library: Fondo Borgiano-illirico 4. The missal was written in the mid-14th century.
25 Regarding the origin of this liturgy cf.: J. M. Hanssens, “La liturgie romano-byzantine de Saint Pierre,” Orientalia Christiana Periodica, 4, (Rome, 1938), 243-258 and 5 (1939), 103-150; D. Cizevskij, “K voprosu o liturgiji Sv. Petra,” Slovo, 2 (1953), 36-40.
26 Cf.: M. Polonijo, “Prvi uzmak glagoljice u krckog biskupiji,” Radovi Staroslavenskog instituta, 2 (Zagreb, 1955), 199.
27 M. Japundzic, “Glagoljski brevijar iz g. 1465 (Vaticano-slavo 19),” Radovi Staroslavenskog instituta, 2 (Zagreb, 1955), 155-191; id., “O predlosku evandelistara najstarijega hrvatskoglagoljskog misala,” in Tragom hrvatskoga glagolizma, eds. Petar Basic and Stjepan Damjanovic (Zagreb: Provincijalat franjevaca trecoredaca and Krscanska sadasnjost, 1995), pp. 119-148.
28 Japundzic, “O predlosku,” pp. 119-148.
29 Listed are some surveys of the Glagolitic bibliography: R. Strohal, Hrvatska glagolska knjiga (Zagreb: Rudolf Strohal, 1915); I. Kukuljevic-Sakcinski, Bibliografia hrvatska. Dio prvi, Tiskane knjige (Zagreb: Brzotisak D. Albrechta, 1860); I. Milcetic, “Hrvatska glagolska bibliografija,” Starine, 33 (Zagreb, 1911), XV + 505; Vj. Stefanic, Glagolski rukopisi otoka Krka (Zagreb: Jugoslavenska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti-JAZU, 1960); B. Fucic, Glagoljski natpisi (Zagreb: JAZU, 1982)-supplement in Slovo, 38 (Zagreb, 1988), 63-73; A. Dzurova, K. Stancev and M. Japundzic, Opis na slavjanskite rukopisi vav Vatikanskata biblioteka/Catalogo dei Manoscritti Slavi della Biblioteca Vaticana (Sofia: Svjat, 1985). The subject of Glagolitic missals was treated in detail by J. Vajs in his book Najstariji hrvatskoglagoljski misal, s bibliografskim opisima svih hrvatskoglagoljskih misala (Zagreb: JAZU, 1948) while Glagolitic breviaries were covered in his book Nejstarsi breviar chrvatsko-hlaholsky (Prague: Nakladem Kral. Ceske spolecnosti nauk, 1910).
30 For details on the Tablet of Baska cf.: Vj. Stefanic, “Opatija sv. Lucije u Baski i drugi benediktinski samostani na Krku,” Croatia sacra, 6 (Zagreb, 1936), 11-86; J. Hamm, “Datiranje glagoljskih tekstova,” Radovi Staroslavenskog instituta, 1 (1952), 22-37; B. Fucic, “Bascanska ploca kao arheoloski predmet,” Slovo, 6 (1957), 247-262.
31 Japundzic, “Glagoljski brevijar,” p. 190.
32 Z. Kulundzic, “Problem najstarije stamparije na slavenskom jugu (Kosinj 1482.-1493.),” Narodna Knjiznica, 1 (Zagreb, 1959), 21-28.
33 For an examination of the Russification of Glagolitic books and especially the missal from 1741, see: M. Japundzic, “Matteo Karaman, (1700.-1771.),” Arivescovo di Zara (Rome, 1961).
34 Zacinjavac is the oldest name for a poet, who was a canto-versificator. Cf.: F. Fancev, “Gradja za pjesnicki leksikon hrvatskoga jezika,” Gradja za povijest knjizevnosti hrvatske, 15 (Zagreb, 1940), 182-200; P. Skok, “Sitni prilozi proucavanju pjesnickoga jezika nase srednje knjizevnosti i najstariji izraz pjesnika,” Prilozi za knjizevnost, jezik, istoriju i folklor, book 18, vol. 1-2 (Belgrade, 1938), 292- 301.
35 Marko Marulic (1450-1526) of Split studied languages and classical literature, philosophy, poetics, and rhetoric in Padua. He was also a painter and sculptor. After returning to his homeland, he led a strict aesthetic and contemplative life. Among his many literary works, his best known one in the Croatian language is called Judita or in full: Istorija sv. udovice Judit u versih hrvacki slozena (The history of the holy widow Judith, composed in Croatian verses) of 1501. His best known work in Latin is: De institutione bene beateque vivendi juxta exempla sanctorum. Shortly after it was first published, this work (De institutione) was translated into Italian, French, Portugese, Czech, German and Croatian, and during the same century underwent nineteen editions. It is known that during his long journey across the East St. Francis Xavier carried along with his breviary only Marulic’s work De institutione. With regard to Judita, it was considered a great success among older and later poets. In only two years after its appearance, the epic Judita underwent three editions. Although Marulic was not the first Croatian poet, based upon his success, he was certainly the first major poet. Cf.: F. Trograncic, Storia della letteratura croata (Rome, 1953), p. 44 and following; M. Kombol, Povijest hrvatske knjizevnosti do narodnoga preporoda, 2nd ed. (Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, 1961), p. 81 and afterwards.
36 Cf.:F. Zagiba, “Der historische Umkreis der Kiever Sakramentar-fragmente,” Slovo, 14 (1964), 59-77; W. Vondrak, Altkirchenslavishe Grammatik (Berlin, 1912), p. 30; id., O puvodu Kijevskych listu a Prazskych zlomku (Prague: Spisuv poctenych jubilejni cenou Kral. Ceske spolecnosti Nauk., 1904); St. M. Kuljbakin, “Izvestija otdelenija russkago jazyka i slovesnosti,” 10 (1905), 320-338; id., “Du classement des textes vieux slaves,” Revue de etudes slaves, 2 (1922), 106-201.
37 Marija Pantelic, “O Kijevskim i Sinajskim listicima,”