November 2016 - St. Josaphat and St. Catherine of Alexandria

St. Josaphat and St. Catherine of Alexandria. Photos: Catholic News Service St. Josaphat and St. Catherine of Alexandria. Photos: Catholic News Service
St. Josaphat

Eastern archbishop died for unity with Rome

c. 1580–1623
Feast: November 12

An early ecumenist, Josaphat was born in Ukraine. Not happy with a mercantile apprenticeship in Lithuania, he spent his spare time learning church Slavonic to enhance his liturgical and prayer life. In 1604 he entered a monastery in Vilnius, where he began promoting Orthodox union with Rome and reform of Ruthenian monasteries. This movement eventually became the Basilians of St. Josaphat. As an abbot, bishop and archbishop in Eastern Europe, he constantly called for unity with Rome, a position that became increasingly controversial. In 1623, after preaching openly in Vitebsk (Belorussia), he was attacked by a mob, shot and thrown in a river. This patron of Ukraine is the first Eastern-rite saint whose cause was processed by Rome.

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Egyptian noble refuted pagan philosophers

c. 287–305
Feast: November 25

Catherine is thought to have been born to a noble family in Alexandria, Egypt. Through a vision, this scholarly young woman converted to Christianity and began evangelizing others, including the wife of the pagan emperor who was persecuting Christians. According to legend, after she defied the emperor and refuted philosophers brought in to test her faith, she was imprisoned and tortured. She was put on a rotating spiked wheel; when it broke, she was beheaded. She is venerated as the Great Martyr St. Catherine in the Orthodox tradition and her voice was among those heard by St. Joan of Arc. She is the patron saint of wheelwrights, and also a patron of jurists, philosophers, students and teachers.

- Catholic News Service

Northwest Catholic - November 2016