One of John Paul's most significant acts was to make the two brothers, Ss. Cyril and Methodius, coequal patrons of Europe, along with St. Benedict, who had been assigned this office in 1964. Cyril and Methodius set out from Constantinople in the 10th century to convert the Slav peoples of the Balkans. They even reached the southern part of Poland.
"They were the true apostles of the Slav Peoples," said John Paul: "In translating the liturgy into Old Slavonic, they not only made a great contribution to evangelization but also to the culture of the Slav people, and indeed provided its foundation."
So by making the brothers patrons of Europe, John Paul was issuing another reminder of the "wider Europe" he had proclaimed at Gniezno. Like Charles de Gaulle, another who thought in terms of l' Europe des nations, he sees Europe as stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals. He does not take kindly to the European Community, partly because it contains the most dangerously secularized Catholics in the world (in Holland, West Germany and France) and partly because it has usurped the adjective "European," which properly belongs to the whole continent.
Cyril and Methodius become a compensation for the injustices of history, which has slighted the East, and Poland in particular, at the expense of the West. John Paul thinks it is his providential mission to put that imbalance right.
( November 6, 1981) John Paul II had his doubts about the wisdom of translating and republishing his 1972 book, Sources of Renewal. His doubts did him credit. For the book was written at speed and had a limited purpose: to provide a "working paper" for the Kraków diocesan synod which was to start 10 years after the first session of Vatican II. Since at that date no edition of the documents of Vatican II was available in Poland, most of the book -- one-third on a rough estimate -- consists of lengthy quotations from the council documents. So the book is not really for us at all.