Feast Day: November 12
Born: 1580 :: Died: 1623
Josaphat was born in Lithuania, Ukraine and baptized John in 1580. His father was a municipal counselor and his mother a pious woman. A merchant at Vilna trained him to do business. Later the merchant offered to make John his partner and asked him to marry his daughter.
But John felt that God was calling him to serve and he respectfully refused both the offers. He became a monk in the order of St. Basil and chose the name Josaphat.
He was a self-sacrificing, brave man and because of his many natural qualities, he was chosen to lead the people.
Josaphat became an apostle of ecumenism and preached unity 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 the bishop 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 a very good influence on people. He was a dynamic leader, which is why some people feared him.
People who were against the unity of the Churches formed a big mob and came to attack him. Josaphat tried to make sure his servants were all safe before fleeing himself but was not able to get out in time. He was killed and his body was thrown into a local river. Josaphat died on November 12, 1623.
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