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In the tenth century, Presbyter Cosmas still vigorously denounced the pagan volkhvi in his Sermon. The Christian church addressed itself rigorously to the of establishing at least an outward conformity with its ritual requirements. Since it looked upon the sacraments task as saving ordinances, attendance upon these seemed of ut most importance. In this regard the church found the canons 36 respecting Christian marriage most difficult of enforcement. The Code of the Serbian Tsar Stephen Dushan (middle of the fourteenth century) enacts many regulations which plainly indicate that the Serbians even then did not fully conform to the Christian usages in this regard.

This work naturally suggested to him the idea of introducing into his own country the Slavic liturgy and the Slavic priesthood, and thus thoroughly nationalizing the church of his realm. When Archbishop Methodius died at Velehrad in Mo ravia on April 6, 885, his grandiose plan of establishing an extensive Slavic archdiocese on the fringe of Greek and Latin patriarchates collapsed completely. Papal opposition to the Slavic liturgy, combined with a fierce hatred of Meth odius' designs on the part of the German party in Moravia led by the Latinizing bishop of Nitra, Wiching, who had even resorted to downright forgery, compassed the down fall of the Slavic liturgy in central Europe.

Patriarch Photius of Constantinople was far more likely to acquiesce in Rastislav's policy: having been pronounced deposed from his see by Nicholas, he became, by reason of his struggle with the pope a champion of the theory of the essential equality of the patriarchates. Thus he was much more like ly to be amenable to Rastislav's ecclesiastical policy, since he needed all the outside support he could gain, and further more because the policy of the Moravian prince was essen tially anti-papal. Thus the two Slavic rulers, Rastislav and Boris, began elaborating schemes of acceptance of Christianity at about the same time.

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A History of Christianity in the Balkans by Matthew Spinka


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