The decision by the Bulgarian Parliament to declare Ss. Cyril and Methodius as fathers of “Bulgarian literacy” may complicate the agreement to have the 9th century saints jointly honored by Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Republika was told that the agreement reached last year between the two countries to have shared, joint celebrations of the work of the apostles who spread Christianity among Slavic nations and developed the first Slavic alphabet, was to name them the creators of “Slavic literacy”. The agreement was to avoid use of any modern national designation for Cyril and Methodius.

But after a proposal by a nationalist party, the Bulgarian Parliament voted to declare them “Bulgarian enlighteners” and fathers of “Bulgarian literacy”, designations which Bulgaria has frequently used in the past. The saints are honored on May 24, the day when they began their mission to Moravia and the central event is in Rome, where Cyril is buried. This move by Bulgaria could complicate the next celebration in Rome.

Bulgaria demands that Macedonia delivers on a number of concessions on historic issues and matters of national identity before it will allow the opening of EU accession talks, which Macedonia hopes will happen by the end of this year. One of the main issues is the Bulgarian request that Macedonian historians agree to label legendary VMRO leader Goce Delcev as a Bulgarian.