Born in 1580 in Vladimir-Volyn-skii; died Nov. 12 (22), 1623, in Vitebsk. Uniate Archbishop of Polotsk (after 1617).
Iosafat Kuntsevich was the son of a craftsman. He came into contact with the Jesuits in Vilnius, converted from Orthodoxy to the Uniate faith, and graduated from a Jesuit college. He was the prior of a number of Uniate monasteries. His cruel measures to force the Uniate church on Byelorussia caused him to be generally hated. In 1623 the townspeople of Vitebsk, supported by the inhabitants of other Byelorussian cities and villages, as well as by Ukrainian cossacks and the Vilnius Brotherhood, rose in revolt and killed Iosafat Kuntsevich. The pope canonized him in 1867, and the Eastern Institute in Rome—a center of anti-Soviet activity—now bears his name.