Josaphat worked tirelessly, even giving his life, to heal the divisions between East and West.
Ever since the Great Schism in 1054, many have tried to reunite the “two lungs” of the Church. This was especially the case in the life of St. Josaphat, who grew up in an Eastern Orthodox home, but later joined others in Ukraine who sought reunification with Rome.
Unfortunately, his efforts were opposed by many, including members of the hierarchy. Yet he continued to labor, trusting in God’s plan for humanity.
Eventually a mob couldn’t take it anymore and killed Josaphat, who said as he was dying, “Grant that I be found worthy, Lord, to shed my blood for the union and obedience to the Apostolic See.”
Below is an excerpt from a prayer found in the Ukrainian Rite prayerbook, My Divine Friend.
O Saint Josaphat, wonderful Saint and heroic martyr for the union of our Church with the Vicar of Christ, the Pope of Rome. Thou are glorious on account of thy zeal in the propagation of the true Catholic faith among our people. Thou art wonderful because of thy heroic martyrdom for the unity of faith of our people with the Holy See of Rome, the true center of orthodox Catholicism.
Thou art admirable on account of thy sublime virtues with which thou has adorned thy soul. We admire thy ardent love for Jesus and Mary and thy allegiance to the Vicar of Christ. Thou art a sublime example of all virtues for the people of whom thou wert born. Since thou art so powerful with God as thy miracles prove, I ask thee to obtain for me from Jesus and Mary a strong attachment to the Catholic faith and my beautiful Eastern Rite which I shall never betray nor abandon. Obtain also the grace of indefatigable zeal that I may labor for the reunion of my separated Eastern Brethren.