PACAMBRI-L ArchivesArchiver > PACAMBRI > 1998-01 > 0884634688
From: "David Monahan" <>
Subject: Prince Gallitzin Bio
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 14:51:28 -0500
Here's a bio on the Prince Gallitzin- the Catholic priest who settled the
Cambria County area and built St. Michael's church (with the help of many
parishoners, particularly the McGuires)
REV. DEMETRIUS AUGUSTINE GALLITZIN died at Loretto on the 6th of May, 1840.
For forty-two years he exercised pastoral functions in Cambria county. The
venerable deceased was born in 1770, at Munster, in Germany. His father,
Prince de Gallitzin, ranked among the highest nobility in Russia. His
mother was the daughter of Field Marshal General de Schmeltan, a celebrated
officer under Frederick the Great. Her brother fell at the battle of Jena.
The deceased held a high commission in the Russian army from his infancy.
Europe, in the early part of his life, was desolated by war-the French
revolution burst like a volcano upon that convulsed continent: it offered no
facilities or attractions for travel, and it was determined that the young
Prince de Gallitzin should visit America. He landed in Baltimore in August,
1792, in company with Rev. Mr. Brosius. By a train of circumstances in which
the hand of Providence was strikingly visible, his mind was directed to the
ecclesiastical state, and he renounced forever his brilliant prospects.
Already endowed with a splendid education, he was the more prepared to
pursue his ecclesiastical studies under the venerable Bishop Carroll, at
Baltimore, with facility and success. Having completed his theological
course, he spent some time on the mission in Maryland.
In the year 1799 he directed his course to the Allegheny mountain, and found
that por-tion of it which now constitutes Cambria county a perfect
wilderness, almost without inhabitants or habitations. After incredible
labor and privations, and expending a princely fortune, he succeeded in
making "the wilderness blossom as a rose." His untiring zeal has collected
about Loretto, his late residence, a catholic population of three or four
thousand. He not only extended the church by his mis-sionary toils, but also
illustrated and defended the truth by several highly useful publications.
His "Defence of Catholic Principles" has gained merited celebrity both here
and in Europe.
In this extraordinary man we have not only to admire his renunciation of the
brightest hopes and prospects; his indefatigable zeal-but something greater
and rarer-his wonderful humility. No one could ever learn from him or his
mode of life, what he had been, or what he had exchanged for privation and
To intimate to him that you were aware of his condition, would be sure to
pain and displease him. He who might have reveled in the princely halls of
his ancestors, was content to spend thirty years in a rude log cabin, almost
denying himself the common comforts of life, that he might be able to clothe
the naked members of Jesus Christ, the poor and distressed. Few have left
behind them such examples of charity and benevolence. On the head of no one
have been invoked so many blessings from the mouths of widows and orphans.
It maybe literally said of him "If his heart had been made of gold he would
have disposed of it all in charity to the poor. (Mountaineer, May 14,
To this sketch may be properly appended the following
Princess Amalia Gallitzin, a lady distinguished for talent and a strong
propensity to mysticism. She was the daughter of Count Schmeltan, and
lived, during a part of her youth, at the court of the wife of Prince
Ferdinand, brother of Frederick the Great. She was married to the Russian
prince, Gallitzin; and, as much of his time was passed in traveling, she
chose Munster, in the center of Germany, for her permanent residence. Here
she assembled around her some of the most distinguished men of the age,
Hemsterhuis, Hamann, Jacobi, Goethe, Furstenberg, and others. The two first
were her most intimate friends. She was an ardent Catholic, and strongly
given to making proselytes. With the exception of her excessive religious
zeal, she was an excellent lady in every respect. In the education of her
children, she followed Rousseaus system. The princess is the Diotima to
whom Hemsterhuis, under the name of Dioklas, addressed his work on Atheism.
She died, in 18o6, near Munster. Her only son was a missionary in America.