LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 31, No.1 - Spring 1985
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
Copyright © 1985 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
STASYS MAZILIAUSKAS, Pioneer Prince in USA,
Amberland Publishing Company, 1813 Larchwood Avenue, Troy, Ml 48084, Copyright 1982, hardbound, 159 pages, price not indicated but being sold at $10.00 each.
Amberland Publishing Company is as unknown to most book lovers as is the author of this delightful work on Catholic Americana.
The reviewer accepted a copy of the work with some misgivings. Yet, browsing through its bibliographical notes and references, I reluctantly began reading it until the whole book was devoured.
The book is about the trials and tribulations of the first American ordained Roman Catholic priest. It traces the agonizing growth of Catholicism from one Jesuit-run diocese to the largest single denomination which it is to-day.
Much of the book is devoted to life in the Cambria county of Pennsylvania as is illustrated by the experience of a visiting priest Lemcke:
"The horse, well used to the wilderness areas, wound through the thickets, jumping over the fallen tree trunks. After several hours of riding, Lemcke and his guide were clear of the forest and in sight of plowed fields and the upclimbing smoke of the dwellings. In front of a large log house sat an old man who straightaway led them to a hearth where round uncleft logs were blazing... A pig sizzling on a wooden spit by the fire gave notice that they were sitting down to a feast. Suddenly one of the younger sons opened the door and whistled. Four dogs jumped out from under the table on which the pig was being carved. In an instant dogs and sons were all running out through the door. Lemcke, who had heard tell of stories with the Indians, feared an attack by the scalpers. The Swissman, who had remained behind, calmly explained that a bear or a wolf was probably in the vicinity. And indeed up in the locust tree was a bear, who had probably smelled the roast pig and was coming for scraps. Under the tree, dogs paced, circling and barking. The sons came back for axes to fell the tree, as it was too dark to shoot. Down crashed the tree — the dogs leaped. The oldest son cracked open the bear's skull with an axe, and the bear was then carried into the house where it was skinned and dressed, the paws thrown to the dogs." (pp. 136-137).
Considerable space is devoted to genealogy and the family of the principal subject of the book, the count (prince) Mitri (Demetrius) Augustine Gallitzin alias Schmidt-Smith, his mother, Countess Amalia, and her estranged husband, Count (prince) Dmitri Alexeievitch Gallitzin. The author takes great pains in establishing the Lithuanian lineage of the family to the fourteenth century Lithuania's Grand Duke Gediminas.
The author also establishes that Father Mitri Gallitzin was the first Roman Catholic apologist during rather militant Protestant attacks against the "popists". Excerpts of numerous writings are provided. This chapter contains an interesting interlude by the author which illuminates the origins and the influence of Unitarianism in Eastern United States:
"The Protestants were in fact overtaken by the Unitarians and surrendered to them, if not in name, at least in fact. The term Socinianism, as Gallitzin uses it, refers to Arianism, a theory of Arius, which was rejected and condemned by the Ecumenical Church Council at Nicea, in 325, but which was revived in sixteenth century by Faustus Socinus and his uncle Laelius Socinus in Italy. Faustus Socinus and other Arians from Italy promoted Arianism extensively in Poland and Lithuania within the denomination of Calvinism. But they later separated from Calvinism and the Lithuanian and Polish Arians established an independent Arian denomination — Unit (hence the name Unitarian). After an unsuccessful attempt at Reformation in these countries, the Unitarians (Socinians), who felt themselves discriminated against, emigrated to the United States." (pp. 116-117).
The above quote shows that the author tends to be both brief and, therefore, simplistic, and presents his thoughts in a rather simple style. The subject of the book is, nevertheless, fascinating and a worthwhile revival of previous works on the Reverend Demetrius Gallitzin.