Josaphat was born in the Ukraine and baptized John in 1580. He became a monk in the order of St. Basil and chose the name Basil. He was a self-sacrificing, brave man. Because of his many natural qualities, he was chosen for leadership roles. This would eventually cost him his life.
Josaphat became an apostle of ecumenism. He preached union among the Christian churches of the Ukraine. There were three main categories of Christians: the Latin Church united with the pope, the Orthodox Greek Church and the Greek Catholic Church.
Josaphat became a bishop and took over the diocese of Polotsk in 1617. He spent the next ten years helping the people know and love their Catholic faith better. He organized celebrations of prayer and religion classes. He called clergy meetings and worked with the priests to put into effect rules that helped the people live closer to Jesus.
Archbishop Josaphat had great positive influence on people. He was a dynamic leader. For this, some people feared him. They stirred up a mob against him. Josaphat was murdered. His body was thrown into a local river. Josaphat died on November 12, 1623. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius IX in 1867.
Let us pray today for the unity of all Christians, an ideal that was so close to the heart of this saint.