The Memorial of St Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr
Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr is the Patron Saint of Ukraine
St. Josaphat Feast Day, Date of Birth, Country of Birth, Profession, Place of Work, Date of Death, Place of Death, Beatification Date, Canonization Date, Matrimony/Holy Orders, Bishops who became Saints
St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr brief life History
|Date of Birth||1580 AD|
|Country of Birth||Belarus in Europe|
|Profession||Polish-Lithuanian monk and archeparch (archbishop) of the Ruthenian Catholic Church|
|Place of Work||Archeparchy of Polotsk|
|Date of Death||November 12, 1623|
|Place of Death||Vitebsk, Vitebsk Voivodeship, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth|
|St. Josaphat Feast Day||November 12|
|Beatification||By Pope Urban VIII on May 16, 1643 in Rome|
|Canonization||By Pope Pius IX on June 29, 1867 in Rome|
|Patron Saint of||Ukraine|
St. Josaphat Feast Day Short life History
Josaphat Kuntsevych was a Polish-Lithuanian monk and archeparch (archbishop) of the Ruthenian Catholic Church, who on 12 November 1623 was killed by angry mob in Vitebsk, Vitebsk Voivodeship, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (now in Belarus).
He was born Ioann Kuntsevych in 1580 or 1584 in Volodymyr, Volhynian Voivodeship, in the Lesser Poland Province of the Polish Crown (now in Ukraine). He was baptized into a family associated with Eastern Orthodox Church.
In 1604, in his early 20s, Kuntsevych entered the Monastery of the Trinity (Church and monastery of Holy Trinity) of the Order of Saint Basil the Great in Vilnius, at which time he was given the religious name of Josaphat.
In 1609, after private study under Jesuit Valentin Groza Fabricy, Josaphat was ordained a priest by a Catholic bishop. He subsequently became the hegumen (prior) of several monasteries. On November 12, 1617, he was consecrated as the bishop of the Eparchy of Vitebsk and coadjutor for the Archeparchy of Polotsk. He succeeded as archeparch in March 1618. During his episcopacy, the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk was rebuilt in 1618–1620.
In October 1623 Kuntsevych ordered the arrest of the last priest who was clandestinely holding Orthodox services at Vitebsk, where Kuntsevych had a residence. Enraged at this, some Orthodox townspeople lynched Kuntsevych on 12 November, 1623.
He is “the best-known victim” of anti-Catholic violence related to implementing the Union of Brest, and is declared a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church.
His death reflects the conflict among Christian Orthodox and Catholics that had intensified after the Ruthenian Orthodox Church (Kiev Metropolitan) joined the Catholic Church through the 1596 Union of Brest and was ongoing ever since Isidore of Kiev signed the Florentine Union.
Today’s St. Josaphat Feast Day Quote:
Witnesses of his death described it as follows: “The ringing of cathedral bells and the bells of other churches spread. This was the signal and call to insurrection. From all sides of town masses of people – men, women, and children – gathered with stones and attacked the archbishop’s residence. The masses attacked and injured the servants and assistants of the archbishop, and broke into the room where he was alone. One hit him on the head with a stick, another split it with an axe, and when Kuntsevych fell, they started beating him. They looted his house, dragged his body to the plaza, cursed him – even women and children. … They dragged him naked through the streets of the city all the way to the hill overlooking the river Dvina. Finally, after tying stones to the dead body, they threw him into the Dvina at its deepest.”
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