Proglas - Herba - page 16

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P
R O G L A S
Today it is necessary to underline that inventing the Old Slavonic script was not
only a cultural milestone. It was also a spiritual and a truly Christian act. The first books
that were translated into Old Slavonic were the Holy Scriptures and liturgical books.
Other books, dealing for example with law and other topics, were written only later.
And the first work of art, the wonderful poem ”Proglas“, was again directly connected
with faith. The foremost task of the new script was to serve the faith and Christian life.
This is what Emperor Michael said to prince Rastislav in ”The life of Constantine“:
”Try ... from the bottom of your heart ... to search for God ... encourage everyone
to walk on the way of truth ... so that you too will accept the reward in this
and in your future life for all souls that will accept Christ ... in that way you
will be remembered like the great Caesar Constantine ...“
The word of the Gospels was our spiritual treasure from the beginning. Even if, on our
territory, it was used in liturgy only scantily, it survived as a part of church and folk songs,
proverbs, sayings and folk stories. Today we ask ourselves how could Constantine write
such a truthful and impressive poem as ”Proglas“, or the Foreword to the Gospels?
Fra Angelico is believed to have said : ”Who wants to paint Christ must live with Him ...“
Constantine lived what he said in ”Proglas“-he lived the Gospels and he lived with Jesus
Christ. In ”The Life of Constantine“ we read about his fruitful mission in the land of the
Khazars: ”When Kaghan said farewell to the Philosopher, he gave him many gifts. But he
did not accept them and said: Give me all the Greeks you captured, that will be the most
precious gift. They gave him two hundred of them. Satisfied he went on his way.“ Such an
act of love was quite unique in those times. This was the novelty that the Gospels brought
about. The author of ”Proglas“ lived in their spirit. Not only his words, but his whole life
spoke of Christ. A similar act of Christian love testifies to the beauty of his soul and of his
personality. This is how ”The life of Constantine“ describes his visit to Kocel, son of the
Prince Pribina: ”Kocel liked Slavonic books very much, learned them and chose fifty
disciples to be taught them too. He honoured Constantine in many ways and then bade
him farewell. And Constantine took no gold, no silver nor anything from Kocel or Rastislav
for his teaching, but asked for 900 prisoners and then let them go.“ This is the spirit
of ”Proglas“. This is the Christian love and forgiving that the Church through
the faithful ones taught both with words and with actions.
In our and in every other country the words of ”Proglas“ have lost nothing of their power:
”Christ comes to gather the nations for He is the Light of this world ...“ These words written
sometime after 863 found their echo in the words of St Peter’s successor, John Paul II
when he said to the youth of Slovakia during his visit in 1995:
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