The Bulgarian appropriation of the holy brothers St. Cyril and St. Methodius began in the 19th century, with the start of the Russian project of Great Bulgaria. The Russians incorporated the history of the Holy Brothers into their project, integrating it into the narrative created to justify both, the creation of the modern state of Bulgaria, and the acquisition of the then geostrategically very valuable territory of the region of Macedonia, explains the prominent Macedonian historian Mitko Panov.

” Even the Russian authors of the time wrote that the Cyrillic alphabet originates from Macedonia and that it was created based on the language spoken in three villages inhabited by Macedonian Slavs in the vicinity of Thessaloniki. Cyril and Methodius have absolutely nothing in common with the Bulgarians – Methodius was even serving as an officer protecting border regions from the Bulgarian attacks. They never visited, nor did they have any relations with the Bulgarian state of the time. On the contrary, their activities were directed against the Bulgarians, who were still pagans in that period. Hence, their work on the Christianization of the Slavic peoples, including the creation of the Glagolic alphabet, was intended to unite the Slavic world in the context of securing the equality of the Slavs with the other European peoples”, Panov says.