Saints

St Josephat

12 Nov 2020

An early ecumenist, Josaphat was born in Ukraine.

Not happy with a mercantile apprenticeship in Lithuania, he spent his spare time learning Church Slavonic to enhance his liturgical and prayer life.

In 1604 he entered a monastery in Vilnius, where he began promoting Orthodox union with Rome and reform of Ruthenian monasteries.

This movement eventually became the Basilians of St. Josaphat.

As an abbot, bishop and archbishop in Eastern Europe, he constantly called for unity with Rome, a position that became increasingly controversial.

In 1623, after preaching openly in Vitebsk (Belorussia), he was attacked by a mob, shot and thrown in a river.

This patron of Ukraine is the first Eastern-rite saint whose cause was processed by Rome.

Text: Catholic News Service,
Image: Icon of St. Martyr Josaphat Kuntsevych, Archbishop of Polotsk (UGCC) by Mykola Swarnyk/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0