Author Topic: Sainthood Sought For Gallitzin  (Read 1533 times)

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Offline Justin Kissel

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Sainthood Sought For Gallitzin
« on: March 10, 2007, 03:51:58 PM »
Sainthood sought for Gallitzin

"Tomorrow in Loretto's Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, Frank and Betty Seymour will present Bishop Joseph Adamec with the petition for sainthood for Father Demetrius Gallitzin, an 18th century Russian prince who converted to Catholicism and became a pioneering missionary in Western Pennsylvania..."

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Guess this caught my attention as it's about my home county (Cambria, PA). I'm sure many people here have read about (or at least heard of) another Christian convert who worked in Pennsylvania--Alexis Toth--though in that case he converted from Catholic to Orthodoxy. This seemed like an interesting "other side of the coin".  Fwiw, most people (about 67%) in Cambria county are still Roman Catholic.

Offline Ung-Certez

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Re: Sainthood Sought For Gallitzin
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2007, 02:39:09 PM »
Wasn't the Prince's Mother German and Catholic?

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Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Sainthood Sought For Gallitzin
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2007, 09:29:59 PM »
Fr. Demetrius' mother was a German countess and was raised Catholic, but both his parents were non-religious until his mother had a conversion experience in 1786 and Fr. Demetrius joined her in 1787.  Interesting side note, Catherine the Great was his godmother. So while nominally Orthodox he is not a conversion in the same sense as St. Alexis.  Although he did share in troubles with trustees, as St. Alexis did, and my Greatx4 Grandfather assisted him.

"One of his first challenges as a newly ordained priest was to counter rampant trusteeism, the practice of placing a parish in the hands of a board of parishioners, or trustees, many of whom were not even Catholic. These groups controlled the parish, separated themselves from other parishioners, and operated the parish as a profit making organization, with the proceeds frequently going to themselves. Father Gallitzin rejected this aberrant practice as foreign to Catholicism, and properly insisted on his rights and responsibilities as pastor.

As Father Gallitzin traveled to his assignments he sometimes encountered the severe anti-Catholicism still rampant in the new country of the United States. He faced threats of personal physical violence, even from dissident Catholics unhappy with the determination of his ministry. On one occasion an angry mob of malcontents launched a “murderous attack” upon him but he was rescued by a “mountain of a man,” a passerby named John Weakland. Despite the opposition, Gallitzin was undeterred in his work."

This occasion is commerated in stained glass at St. Jospeh's Church:
http://www.rootsweb.com/~pacambri/cems/WCaHarts/p000d.html

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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Sainthood Sought For Gallitzin
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2007, 09:47:37 PM »
On one occasion an angry mob of malcontents launched a “murderous attack” upon him but he was rescued by a “mountain of a man,” a passerby named John Weakland. Despite the opposition, Gallitzin was undeterred in his work."

This occasion is commerated in stained glass at St. Jospeh's Church:
http://www.rootsweb.com/~pacambri/cems/WCaHarts/p000d.html

Thanks for this, it is a beautiful piece, and a heartening story. I hope that one day John Weakland is beatified for his example of Christian manly courage and chivalry! It would be good to have such examples of manliness in a world which equates masculinity with heartless acts of cruelty to aniimals and people.
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Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Sainthood Sought For Gallitzin
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2007, 09:53:58 PM »
When they exhumed his body to transfer it to St. Jospeh's cemetery, it was found that his right arm, with which he wrenched an oak fence post from the ground to defend Fr. Demetrius, was incorrupt.  They looked into starting his cause once but not much interest was shown by the Diocese.
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Offline username!

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Re: Sainthood Sought For Gallitzin
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2007, 06:48:34 PM »
Deacon Lance, he's talking about Weakland's from Loretto, Chest Springs ;)
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« Last Edit: March 14, 2007, 06:51:12 PM by username! »