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The Relics of St Josaphat in the Vatican

St Josaphat Kuntsevych, né John, was martyred in the year 1623 for his ardent championship of union with Rome among the Byzantine Rite Christians of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. A member of the Basilian Order, he was made bishop of Vitebsk in 1617, at the age of only 37, and archbishop of Polotsk the following year. (Both cities are now in Belarus.) In a period of great tension between Catholics and Orthodox, he went to preach at Vitebsk; on the steps of his co-cathedral he was struck in the head with an ax, and then shot by fanatical opponents of the union with Rome, on the sixth anniversary of his episcopal consecration.
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