Fr Paul begins by reading today’s Gospel from Luke (17:20-25) in which the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God is to come. Afterwards, he shares a little about St Josaphat, whose life we remember and celebrate today.
St Josaphat was born in 1580 and died in 1623. He was born in the Ukraine to Orthodox parents. In 1595, the Ruthenain Church came into communion with the Catholic Church while still preserving its own unique liturgy. This led to a schism within the Church itself – some wanted to stay Orthodox and to be close to Moscow and Constantinople – others wanted to be in union with Rome.
Josaphat, for his part, joined the first monastery of the order of St Basil, which was to be united to the Catholic Church. He was the first to do so. He was ordained a priest and then, reluctantly, Josaphat was appointed Bishop of Polotsk in 1617.
Due to the ongoing tensions, St Josaphat was murdered by a mob in 1623 while on a pastoral visit to one of his parishes.
Fr Paul says mindful of St Josaphat’s life we might ask ourselves, ‘What divisions, what tensions are there in my life at the moment?’ and then with this in mind we might ask St Josaphat to pray for us.