Monday, November 12, 2007
"You people of Vitebsk want to put me to death. You make ambushes for me everywhere, in the streets, on the bridges, on the highways, and in the marketplace. I am here among you as a shepherd, and you ought to know that I would be happy to give my life for you. I am ready to die for the holy union, for the supremacy of Saint Peter, and of his successor the Supreme Pontiff." - Saint Josaphat
John Kunsevich (1580-1623) took the name Josaphat when he joined the Ukrainian Order of Saint Basil . He practiced severe penances; fasting (until he felt like fainting) slept on bare floor, all offered for the conversion of sinners. He was a great preacher, and later became bishop of Vitebsk. He accomplished much even in his first three years. Many people who were far from the Church were comforted by Josaphat's kind and gentle words, and so they came back. He was also made an enemy to many people, whom they called him "soul-snatcher".
At age 43 Josaphat was attacked by about 1000 people, men and women of all ages. Though after the martyr's death, all (except one) of those people who had participated in his murder converted to the Catholic faith. Josaphat's body remains incorrupt to this day, located in Rome.
Beatified on the 16th in May, 1643, by Pope Urban VIII and canonized in 1876, the first Eastern saint canonized by Rome.