St Josaphat, Bishop & Martyr

III John 5-8; Psalm 111; Luke 18.1-8

Josaphat (ca 1580-1623) was born in Lithuania (then part of Poland) of Orthodox parents. In 1604, in his early twenties, he entered the monastery of the Holy Trinity in Vilnius. In 1609 he was ordained priest by a Catholic bishop. In 1617 he was chosen to be Archbishop of Polotsk. He worked for the reform of the Church and for unity between East and West. He faced much opposition for his efforts and suffered martyrdom at the hands of an angry mob at Vitebsk. He was the best known of many victims of anti-Catholic violence brought on by the adoption of the Union of Brest, the decision by Polish and Lithuanian dioceses to break relations with the Orthodox Church and to enter into communion with, and place themselves under the authority of, the Pope. Josaphat was canonised in 1867 and his remains were removed to the altar of St Basil the Great in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Posted in Daily Reflection.