Artwork: Tracy L. Christianson
St. Josaphat (baptized Johannes) Kuncevyc, was born circa 1580 in Volodymr, Lithuania. He died a martyr's death in Vitebsk, Russia, on November 12, 1623.
Josaphat was deeply religious and spiritual from an early age. In 1604, he entered the monastery. On November 12, 1617, he was made Bishop of Vitebsk, and became Archbishop of Polotsk in 1618. During that time, the Ruthenian (Slavic) Church was split between two groups-the Uniates, who wanted to stay with the Church of Rome (this group included Josaphat), and the schismatics, who wished to separate and form their own church. As his efforts to unify became more fruitful, Josaphat found the hatred of the schismatic party grew ever stronger toward him. Riots broke out as people chose sides. Josaphat was falsely accused of inciting discord and using force against the dissidents. He was killed on November 12, 1623, and beatified in 1643.
St. Josaphat loved religious life and the spiritual guidance he received directly from the Holy Spirit. He was zealous in self-mortification and in prayer.
Prayer of the Week:
Lord, we ask you to stir up within Your Church
the Spirit that blessed and filled Your Martyr and Bishop St. Josaphat
when he laid down his life for his sheep:
so that, through his intercession,
we too may be moved and strengthened by the same Spirit,
and may not shrink from giving our lives for our brothers and sisters.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
world without end.