Prince In the Service of The Great King
The Catholic Register - October 13,
In a new series of articles, Betty Seymour, serving
with her husband, Frank, as postular of the Cause for the Canonization of the
Servant of God Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, explains the evidence for the
"heroic virtues" of the Prince-Priest.
Father Constantine Pise's article about Father
Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, written just one year after the death of the
Prince-Priest, makes a convincing argument for the herocity of Father
According to Father Pise, Gallitzin
, with the view of observing the progress of civilization and human liberty in
the republic of the
… had other views: in the midst of his career…the convictions of religion
came upon his spirit with irresistible energy.
He had been born into the Greek Church, which, ever since the
seventeenth century, had separated from the See of Rome.
He was in quest of truth; and once convinced where it was to be found,
he made up his mind to obtain it, at the peril of all things else.
By taking this step (converting to the Roman Catholic Church), he was
fully aware that he was blasting all his future worldly hopes- that he was
incurring the inexorable displeasure of a father, who before had doted on him,
and was closing the doors of imperial favor forever."
Father Pise goes on to say Gallitzin
"consulted the oracle of the American Catholic
Church- John Carroll-at that time Bishop of Baltimore, whose memory is as dear
to our country as it is sacred to our religion.
It was this immortal Bishop through whom he was admitted into the pale
of the Catholic Communion. His
course in that venerable institution (the Theological Seminary at
), was edifying and exemplary; and on the 19th of March, anno 1795,
he received the order of priesthood from the hands of Bishop Carroll."
Father Galltizin's sacrifice of worldly honors was
heroic, according to Father Pise.
"His name, his fortune, his accomplishments, his
piety, would have richly entitled him to them (the highest honors of the
Church). But, instead, he courted
obscurity; and under the anonyme, as it may be termed, of “Rev. Mr.
Smith”, he retired into the interior of
, and commenced the exercise of the ministry on one of the farms belonging to
, called Conewago. He extended
them into the bosom of the Alleghenies. There,
in the midst of a few poor families, he began his apostolic labors…and
continued in that wild retreat…he gradually drew large congregations.
They only who have witnessed it, can form an idea of his boundless
charity. Thousands now live to
proclaim it, and bitterly bewail the loss of it, by his departure into another
world. His ample fortune was spent
in affording them temporal comfort, while his life was exhausted in conferring
on them spiritual consolations."
Father Pise paid his tribute to Father Gallitzin's
"The Reverend Demetrius Gallitzin was gifted with
rare intellectual endowments- and, as an author, occupies a conspicuous rank
among the ecclesiastical writers of
. He had become a master of the
English language, which he spoke and wrote almost without any foreign idiom or
accent. His “Defence of Catholic
Principles”, holds a place among the standard polemical works of our
country. His manner of writing is
vigorous; and a spirit of candor and a tone of high breeding preside over his
most earnest and ardent works of controversy. He is keen; but he cuts with a
polished razor: and when he meets
his antagonist in the theological
arena, he encounters him according to the tactics of honorable warfare; and in
his victory, he is calm, forbearing, and just."
Drawing his article to a close, Father Pise paid a final
tribute to the Prince-Priest Gallitzin:
"Full of merits and good works, this venerable
priest expired, in the 71st year of his age, on
the 6th of May, 1840
. In his demise, the Church has
been deprived of one of her most eminent divines- the sanctuary, of one of its
brightest luminaries- the community, of one of its most accomplished
ornaments- the poor, of their best benefactor- and a numerous congregation, of
their devoted pastor and father. The
tears of many will bewail his loss! His
grave is made in the solitude where his life was spent:
and better rest, in peace, under the green turf watered by the tears of
the poor, than lie neglected and forgotten beneath the stately mausoleums of
He has gone to receive the reward promised to the good
and faithful servant- and his memory, as “Pastor of the Alleghenies”, will
be in benediction in the annals of the Church."