Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Josaphat, who was the first Eastern Catholic canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. He lived in the 16th century, during the first years of the Union of Brest, which brought large parts of the Ruthenian Orthodox church into communion with the bishop of Rome. Living in a difficult time, Josaphat was controversial to his contemporaries and continues to be a point of contention between the Orthodox and Catholic believers today.
During his lifetime, Josaphat angered many Roman Catholics by his insistence in maintaining Eastern traditions. However, he also angered those Eastern believers who did not want union with Rome. But the exact details of his life depends on who is telling the story. To Catholics today, he is seen as a saintly bishop who heroically strove to bring people into union with Rome while maintaining the legitimate traditions of the East. To Orthodox, he was a “butcher” who violently tried to force Orthodox Christians to abandon their faith for the Papist heresy. For an example of the strong emotions Josaphat still engenders, see this thread at an Orthodox forum.
This is not the only way in which St. Josaphat is an uncomfortable saint for us today. He strove to implement “uniatism”, which the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church in 1993 at Balamand, Lebanon declared was no longer an acceptable model for seeking union between East and West (although the existing Eastern Catholic Churches still have a right to exist). The very cause of his life which led to him being canonized has now been abandoned as an inadequate form of ecumenism.
St. Josaphat was in many ways a product of his times: he was born into a time of great division and open hatred between Eastern and Western Christians. He did what he thought was best to advance unity in the Church, and although we might no longer support some of his methods, we Catholics should ask his prayers in the cause of East-West relations. But we should not be surprised if our Orthodox brothers and sisters do not join us in asking for his intercession.