Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 12 November – St Josapha OSBM (1584-1623) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 12 November – St Josaphat OSBM (1584-1623) Martyr

In 1964, newspaper photos of Pope Paul VI embracing Athenagoras I, the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, marked a significant step toward the healing of a division in Christendom that has spanned more than nine centuries.Saint_Josaphat_Catholic_Church_(Detroit,_MI)_-_relic_of_Saint_Josaphat

In 1595, the Orthodox bishop of Brest-Litovsk in present-day Belarus and five other bishops representing millions of Ruthenians, sought reunion with Rome.   John Kunsevich—who took the name Josaphat in religious life—was to dedicate his life and die for the same cause.   Born in what is now Ukraine, he went to work in Wilno and was influenced by clergy adhering to the 1596 Union of Brest  . He became a Basilian monk, then a priest and soon was well known as a preacher and an ascetic.

He became bishop of Vitebsk at a relatively young age and faced a difficult situation. Most monks, fearing interference in liturgy and customs, did not want union with Rome. By synods, catechetical instruction, reform of the clergy and personal example, however, Josaphat was successful in winning the greater part of the Orthodox in that area to the union.st josaphat holy card

But the next year a dissident hierarchy was set up and his opposite number spread the accusation that Josaphat had “gone Latin” and that all his people would have to do the same.   He was not enthusiastically supported by the Latin bishops of Poland.st josaphat

Despite warnings, he went to Vitebsk, still a hotbed of trouble.   Attempts were made to foment trouble and drive him from the diocese – a priest was sent to shout insults to him from his own courtyard.   When Josaphat had him removed and shut up in his house, the opposition rang the town hall bell and a mob assembled.   The priest was released but members of the mob broke into the bishop’s home.   Josaphat was struck with a halberd, then shot and his body thrown into the river.   It was later recovered and is now buried in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. simmler_martyrdom_of_josaphat_kuntsevych_1-e1478942443428

Josaphat’s death brought a movement toward Catholicism and unity but the controversy continued and the dissidents, too, had their martyr.   After the partition of Poland, the Russians forced most Ruthenians to join the Russian Orthodox Church.

St Josaphat’s body was discovered incorrupt five years later, though the clothing had rotted away.   Again in 1637 it was still white and supple.    A beautiful silver reliquary was made for it, with a life-size image of the reclining Saint surmounting it.   The body was again exposed intact in 1767.   It was eventually taken to the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.    Pope Leo XIII Canonised Saint Josaphat in 1867.  He was the first saint of the Eastern Church to be Canonised by Rome.tomb of st josaphat at the vatican

Remarkably, the saint’s onetime rival – the Orthodox Archbishop Meletius – was reconciled with the Catholic Church in later years.

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This is a papal fidelity site. Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him.

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