St Josaphat and East-West Ecumenism

At the risk of being presumptuous (which I usually try not to be), I don’t think you understand.

There’s nothing we could ever possibly hope to gain by downplaying or discouraging veneration of St Josaphat (not that it’s popular outside the UGCC) that would be worth the effort.

Please enlighten me. :slight_smile:

Actually, I’m missing something here as well - I think Phillip understands very well and has written very well on the topic!


Thanks for your vote of confidence, my brother. But I don’t want to leave open the possibility that I have misunderstood anything here, hence the request for enlightenment. I don’t trust my own rather feeble intellect. :smiley:

Popular among Poles.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

838 “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.” 322 Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.” 323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.” 324

322 Lumen Gentium 15 [1964]
323 Unitatis Redintegratio [1964] 3.
324 Paul VI, Discourse, December 14, 1975;
cf. Unitatis Redintegratio [1964] 13-18.[size=1]


On 324, the Orthodox would beg to differ.

As kind, and indeed flattering :), as that suggestion is, I’ve instead asked some Orthodox for their opinions. (This was a few days ago, but it took a little while to get responses, owing to the fact that it was Holy Week for them.) See the thread Comparison between Josaphat Kuncevyc and Mark of Ephesus.

So basically they’re saying the comparison is dependent on how one views the saint. Some villainize him while others (obviously) canonize him. Some claim that he had Orthodox Christians killed, burned their churches, etc., etc., etc., while others claim that he did not do any of that at all.

If we follow the camp that believes St. Josaphat did not in fact kill Orthodox Christians or burn their Churches (nor was complicit with those who did so), then my original analogy still holds up. Since he is revered as a saint by the local Ukrainian Catholic Church, I am going to presume that he did not commit and was not complicit in the atrocities of which they were accusing him.

I just got to thinking, perhaps some of our Ukrainain Catholic brethren can post some details about St. Josaphat’s life. I honestly know next to nothing about him. Seeing that he is sometimes accused by our Orthodox brethren as having murdered Orthodox Christians and burned their churches, I would like to learn more about him so as to ascertain the truth. :thumbsup:

I am pretty sure he was Bielorussian.

I didn’t get that from any of the responses, but then again, I suppose they didn’t contradict it either. I’ll ask.

From what little I’ve found so far it would seem that any sort of violent act on the part of St. Josaphat would’ve been completely out of character for him. From what I’ve read his attempts at converting the Orthodox faithful to Catholicism were always done in the gentlest and most charitable manner. He himself seems to have been quite a gentle and charitable man. Even in court, when attempting to regain Church land that had been taken over by the nobility, he went about his proceedings in the most Christian of ways. I simply find no evidence that he murdered/martyred anyone or seized churches from the Orthodox. Quite the contrary.

I’m actually wondering if folks are speaking more on a spiritual level; that spiritually St. Josaphat murdered Orthodox Christians and seized their churches by converting not only individual faithful, but entire parishes to the “Unia.” It’s just speculation, but it’s the only way I can make sense of the accusations leveled against him. :shrug:

Still, until more concrete evidence is produced (not just the opinions of a few people on another forum), I maintain that my original analogy is appropriate, albeit unpopular.

Well, I’ll tell you what I told them on that “group” thread that I started about him. It’s isn’t my own words, but I good post I found on this subject:

[quote=Irish Melkite ]We live in a different time. That said, I’ll offer this thought, which will probably cement your opinion … While I imagine that God will reward St Josaphat for whatever holy things he did in life, I rather doubt that he’ll be rewarded for burning Orthodox temples or killing Orthodox Christians who declined conversion. I also expect that the same distinction will likely be applied in judging those Orthodox who murdered Josaphat. Why? Because God is a Just God.

P.S. I see now that you posted again shortly before this one. I’m going to leave this post regardless, though you may find it incongruous.

Actually, PeterJ, the more I think about this, the more I realize that what you’ve provided has simply illustrated my point. If it is true that St. Josaphat indeed martyred Orthodox Christians and burned their Churches, then we can continue to assert that the primary reason he is venerated as a saint is because of his support of the Unia. In a similar way, from what I’ve gathered, the primary reason the likes of Mark of Ephasus is venerated as a saint is because of his opposition to the union of Ferrara-Florence. So Ukrainian Greek Catholics honor St. Josaphat because he supports their position of union with the See or Rome, while the Orthodox venerate St. Mark of Ephasus because he supports their position of non-union with the See of Rome.

All this being said, I do not want to call into question the holiness (or lack thereof) of the lives of either St. Mark or St. Josaphat. The fact remains that both are venerated as saints by their local Churches. I’ve heard it said before that our division does not reach as high as Heaven. I’m sure the two of them are enjoying one another’s company now in Heaven.

A strange case.

It is difficult to discuss the life and times without a reference to the U***, but maybe one can call it the ‘conglomeration’ or ‘aggregation’ or something like that for purposes of discussion. :wink:

I tend to distrust both the hagiographies and the polemics on the man. It was in the past a super-charged emotional issue for the Belarussian people, and the truth is probably in there somewhere but we cannot assume too much.

Anyway, I have some musings on the subject …
From what I have read the saint was young when the Union of Bieraście (Brest) was concluded. He was born about 1580 (or 1583 is a possibility, according to Wiki) and the Union was concluded in 1596, and would have been implemented in the following year. He was at an impressionable age.

Obviously the local population was of two minds on the subject of union. There was no conversion as such, no common popular movement in the direction of union with the See at Rome. It was a decision of the elites (themselves divided on the subject) and pretty clearly a substantial portion of the population actually opposed it.

However the official hierarchy had committed to the union (in most dioceses, but not all). The Orthodox then, were actually recusants in the area saint Josaphat lived.

It is in this context that the life of saint Josaphat has to be understood. He was a partisan to the official church (there is no doubt he was fervently committed to it), and he was trying to enforce the official settlement on the bush church.

Those days were not like today. If today the RC or the Episcopal church or the Orthodox church wanted to remove a priest from his rectory who refuses to go they can get the county to put his belongings on the street. In those days one often had to do this oneself, so the way to do this was to hire armed men and lead them. Carrying weapons implies a willingness to use them.

There was also the option of getting the king’s men to do it, but that is a low-control situation. If the locals already felt oppressed and the bishop showed up with a gang of foreign soldiers, he would look less like a shepherd looking for lost sheep and more like a wolf.

Hi again. I’m wondering if you could elaborate on the change of heart you’ve had in a short period of time (or so it seems to me). From the above, I take it that even if he did those things, it is no reason not to venerate him as a saint is because of his support of the Unia. But just 2 hours earlier, you said “Since he is revered as a saint by the local Ukrainian Catholic Church, I am going to presume that he did not commit and was not complicit in the atrocities of which they were accusing him” (emphasis added) and even went on to say that the only way you could “make sense” of the accusations against him was to assume that they did not really mean literal killings.

Note: I’m not arguing for one of these positions against the other, I’m just curious what caused you to switch from one to the other.

PeterJ, I think I see where your confusion is. I haven’t changed my opinion at all, but I can see where the following statement I made would make you think so.

If it is true that St. Josaphat indeed martyred Orthodox Christians and burned their Churches, then we can continue to assert that the primary reason he is venerated as a saint is because of his support of the Unia.

The emphasis here is on the fact that the primary reason many venerate St. Josaphat as a saint is because of his support of the Unia. In this sense it wouldn’t really matter to those who venerate him whether or not he actually committed those atrocities. They’re primary focus would be on the fact that he supported union.

The analogy still holds because for many who venerate St. Mark of Ephesus it doesn’t really matter what the rest of his life was like. What matters to them is that he did not support union with the See of Rome.

Of course, if St. Josaphat actually is responsible for the deaths of x number of Orthodox Christians and the burning of their churches, then I think we have a case to call into question his sanctity. But, as I’ve said before, I’ve yet to find any real evidence that he actually committed those atrocities. In fact, the only evidence I’ve found has pointed to the contrary, indeed to the likelihood that he would’ve adamantly opposed them.

On both sources or one of these:
Paul VI, Discourse,
Unitatis Redintegratio.

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