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ST JOSAPHAT: A CHAMPION OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

12 Nov
ST JOSAPHAT: A CHAMPION OF CHRISTIAN UNITY

ST JOSAPHAT, BISHOP AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: NOVEMBER 12

Josaphat Kuncewic was born of noble Catholic parents at Vladimir in Volhynia. While a child, as he listened to his mother tell the story of the Passion of Christ, a dart came from the side of Christ on the crucifix and wounded the boy in the heart.

When he was twenty years old, he was professed among the cloistered followers of the monastic rule of St Basil. Soon as Archimandrite of Vilna and finally, though unwillingly, Archbishop of Polotsk, he became an exemplar of every virtue. He was a virtuous promoter of the union of the union of the Greek Church with the Latin and he brought back many heretics to the bosom of Mother Church.

He brought back many heretics to the bosom of Mother Church

As he was setting out for Vitebsk on a pastoral visitation, schismatics sought to kill him. While they were invading the archiepiscopal palace, he willingly faced them, saying: “Little children, if you have any complaint against me, I am here.”

Thereupon they rushed at him, overwhelmed him with blows, pierced him through with spears, slew him with an axe and cast his body into the river. The blood of the Martyr benefited first of all the murderers of their spiritual father, who almost all abjured their schism and repented of their crime. Pope Urban VIII honoured him with the title, blessed; and Pius IX, canonised this first eastern Christian to uphold the unity of the Church.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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