St. Josaphat Nov. 14

josaphatSt. Josaphat Kuncewitz was born of noble Catholic parents at Vladimir in Volhynia. As a child, when he heard his mother speaking of the passion of Christ, he received in his heart a wound from an arrow coming from the side of the image of Christ crucified. When he was twenty, he was professed among the cloistered monks of St Basil. Soon he was made archimandrite of Vilna and than archbishop of Plolotzk, and showed himself a model of all virtues. A zealous promoter of the unity of the Greek with the Latin Church, he called innumerable heretics back to the bosom of their mother, the Church. Having gone to Vitebsk on pastoral visitation, of his own accord he went out to meet the schismatics, who were seeking to kill him and who had already invaded the archiepiscopal residence. “My children”, he said, “if you have anything against me, here I am.” With that they rushed at him, beat and stabbed him, delivered the death blow with an axe and threw his body into the river. The first to benefit from the Martyr’s blood were those very parricides: condemned to death nearly all of them adjured their schism and repented of their crime. Pope Urban VIII gave Josaphat the honors of the Blessed, and Pius IX added to the number of Saints this first promoter of the unity of the Church among the Easterners.