D. Oliver Herbel
ST. ALEXIS TOTH, LEADER OF EASTERN CATHOLIC CONVERTS
WHEN EAST MEETS WEST
On December 18, 1889, Fr. Alexis Georgevich Toth, an Eastern Catholic priest from the Subcarpathian region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, arrived in Minneapolis and presented himself to his bishop, John Ireland. After venerating (kissing) the bishop's hand, per Eastern Rite, Slavic custom, rather than genuflecting, Toth handed his papers to Ireland.
I remember that no sooner did he read that I was a «Uniate than his hands began to shake.48 It took him fifteen minutes to read to the end, after which he asked abruptly (we spoke in Latin):
»Have you a wife?«
»But you had one?«
«Yes, I am a widower.»
At this he threw the paper on the table and loudly exclaimed, «I have already written to Rome protesting against this kind of priest being sent to me!»
«What kind of priest do you mean?»
«I am a Catholic priest of the Greek Rite, I am a Uniate. I was ordained by a lawful Catholic bishop.»
«I do not consider either you or this bishop of yours Catholic. Besides, I do not need any Uniate priests here. A Polish priest in Minneapolis is sufficient. The Greek Catholics can also have him for their priest.»
«But he belongs to the Latin Rite. Our people do not understand him. They will hardly go to him. That is why they built a church of their own.»
«I gave them no permission to build, and I shall grant you no permission to work there.»
The Archbishop lost his temper, I lost mine just as much. One word brought another, so that the thing had gone so far that our conversation is not worth putting on record.49
This exchange would inspire Toth to undergo a conversion he had already been considering and lead to the conversion of tens of thousands of Carpatho-Rusyns, a people native to the Subcarpathian region.50 As this chapter will show, Toth (and the Carpatho-Rusyns who followed him) responded to their situation of perceived and experienced difficulties at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church by turning to the Orthodox tradition of their ancestors. In so doing, Toth encouraged his fellow Carpatho-Rusyns to look to Russia and to unite under the Russian Orthodox Church.
For Toth, as well as for large numbers of Carpatho-Rusyn converts who followed him, America provided the opportunity to turn to tradition not merely as a means to escape Roman Catholic prejudices, though as shall be seen below, that was an important dimension, but as a way in which to return to the Eastern Orthodox Christianity of their ancestors. Toth perceived Orthodox Christianity to be true, apostolic Christianity, and for him, this was a highly important point, even while denning (and presenting) the Orthodox tradition as being an integral part of Carpatho-Rusyn ethnic heritage. He believed the Eastern Orthodox Church of his forefathers, not the Eastern Catholic Church (Eastern Christians under the Roman Catholic Church), was the legitimate church of his people. Furthermore, his understanding of church history included the belief that Western Christianity had deviated from true Christianity in the ninth century. He also saw that the Roman Catholic Church was often heavily biased against Eastern Christian practices, even when Eastern Christians submitted to Roman Catholic authority. Toth, therefore, saw Eastern Orthodoxy as the true Christian tradition and the solution to the religious difficulties faced by the Carpatho-Rusyn people.
America provided Toth with a context in which he was able to act on his beliefs and feelings in new ways. In America, he would encounter a country that had forged a tradition of anti-tradition known as restorationism. This created a context that provided the flexibility necessary for the beginnings of what became known as the «Toth Movement,» a movement based on an appeal to the Orthodox origins of the Carpatho-Rusyns» Christianity. In fact, it is precisely through his apologetical writings that one can ascertain just how important that earlier Orthodox tradition was for Toth.
For his evangelization efforts and pastoral work on behalf of his fellow Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants, Toth would later be canonized as a saint by the Orthodox Church in America.51 The Orthodox Church in America itself is an autocephalous Orthodox Church whose make-up consists of a significant number of parishes that can trace their history back to Toth's own personal efforts.52 For example, one can look to Minneapolis (1891), Mayfield (Pennsylvania, 1902), Wilkes-Barre (1892), Streator (Illinois, 1898), Bridgeport (Connecticut, 1894), Joliet (Illinois, 1907), and the Pennsylvanian towns of: North Pittsburgh (1891), Osceola Mills (1893), Philipsburg (1894), Catasauqua (1891), Lopez (1907), and Edwardsville (1910).53 In fact, Toth helped form seventeen Orthodox parishes in Pennsylvania alone.54 Although Toth was not the first Carpatho-Rusyn in the West to consider Orthodoxy, it was his activities that led to the Toth Movement, the conversion of tens of thousands of Carpatho-Rusyns to Orthodox Christianity.55 This movement occurred byway of newly converted Orthodox Carpatho-Rusyns who returned to their homeland and so successfully encouraged their fellow countrymen to convert to Orthodox Christianity that the number of Orthodox adherents went from about 440 in 1900 to over 118,000 by 1930.56 The Toth Movement proved to be most effective after Toth's own lifetime and set the stage for further Roman Catholic-Orthodox tensions in a region that had experienced continual Latin Rite-Eastern Rite struggles since the ninth century. The strife would continue throughout the twentieth century.57
During Toth's own lifetime, the Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants would be forced to discern between a Roman Catholic Latin Rite clergy who held negative views of the new Eastern Catholic immigrants on the one hand, and Russian Orthodox clergy who had a love-hate relationship with their newfound brothers in Christ on the other. Often, the Carpatho-Rusyns would vacillate between the two, with some returning to Eastern Catholicism even after they had formally converted to Orthodox Christianity. This was certainly the case for the Carpatho-Rusyn clergy in America during Toth's time. As shall be seen below, several factors were involved in this vacillation, including the fact that the Carpatho-Rusyn parishes were lay-dominated entities. Other likely factors included the relatively poor pay of the clergy themselves and tensions with the Russian Orthodox clergy. The Americanist controversy also affected the outcome inasmuch as it helped shape the views of the Latin hierarchy including Archbishop John Ireland, in North America.58
A QUICK PRIMER ON CHRISTIANITY IN THE SUBCARPATHIAN REGION
As important as the American setting would become, Toth's promotion of the Eastern Christian tradition had a well-established history of its own in his homeland. These West-East struggles in the Subcarpathian region prior to Alexis Toth, as well as those struggles he himself experienced and knew, greatly shaped his viewpoint. The tensions between Eastern Christians and Western Christians in Subcarpathia, combined with intra-Western religious tensions (between Protestants and Catholics), had led to the eventual Union of Užhorod. No documentation exists, but it seems that on April 24, 1646, 63 priests made a profession of faith before the Roman Catholic bishop of Eger.59 Efforts to Magyarize the Carpatho-Rusyns, that is, to assimilate them to the Hungarian nationality, language, and culture, began in the late eighteenth century. When the 1867 Ausgleich (compromise) established a dual monarchy for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, however, the Hungarians enacted a policy of forced Magyarization that was much more intense than what had been established previously.60 Protestants and Orthodox created autonomous groups immediately, which were recognized by the government, but the Hungarian government refused to grant autonomy to the Carpatho-Rusyn Eastern Catholics.61 Those involved in the forced Magyarization sought to rewrite the actual history of the Carpatho-Rusyns, so as to eliminate the Carpatho-Rusyns» own national and religious identity and subsume them under the Magyars, or Hungarians themselves.62 To this end, the Hungarians sealed Carpatho-Rusyn archives and established a Latinization religious policy, whereby the Carpatho-Rusyns were to adopt an increasing amount of Latin and Western Rite practices in addition to suggesting, in some cases, that Hungarian could replace the Carptho-Rusyns» Slavonic liturgical language.63
The ethno-religious element, that of overlapping national and religious concerns, greatly shaped the Carpatho-Rusyn context prior to and during Toth's ministry. Toth found himself living within a context that included Russophilism, Ukrainophilism, and Rusynophilism.64 Both the 1848 pan-Slavic conference held in Prague and the advance of the Russian army into Ukraine and the Subcarpathian region when it put down the Kossuth rebellion inspired Carpatho-Rusyn Russophilism.65
An additional complicating factor was the conflict between the episcopal sees of Užhorod and Prešov. The establishment of the eparchy of Prešov created two eparchies for the Carpatho-Rusyns.66 This was done in order to divide the Carpatho-Rusyns against themselves and allow for a more pro-Hungarian approach to church life.67 Although Toth had been a student at Užhorod before teaching at Prešov, he seems to have aligned himself more closely with the thinking at Prešov.68 The priests from Užhorod were more pro-Hungarian than those from Prešov, which can be seen from the fact that in America, the clergy from Prešov were far more likely to react against Latin practices and become Orthodox.69
The Hungarian divide and conquer tactic exacerbated the plight of the Carpatho-Rusyns and this exacerbated tension was about to explode on the American scene.
TOTH'S ARRIVAL IN AMERICA AND HIS TURN TO (THE ORTHODOX) TRADITION
When Alexis Toth arrived in America, he was part of a larger movement that was already underway. During the period of 1880–1908, around 200,000 Carpatho-Rusyns emigrated to America.70 These immigrants were in need of pastoral oversight, which was to be assigned from Subcarpathia, transplanting the Eastern Catholic-Roman Catholic tensions onto American soil Indeed, as described in the encounter with Archbishop Ireland, Toth was about to encounter a situation that would strike him as being too much to bear from Roman Catholic hierarchy.
In 1885, Metropolitan Sylvestr Sembratovych assigned Fr. Ivan Volans'kyi (1857–1926) to the Eastern Catholic parish in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.71 Volans'kyi not only helped organize the Shenandoah parish, but also parishes in other areas of Pennsylvania and the East Coast as well as Denver and Minneapolis (Toth's future parish).72 Volans'kyi's interaction with Catholic hierarchs in America foreshadowed what Toth was about to experience. In Minneapolis, Archbishop Ireland refused to let Volans'kyi serve liturgy in any of the Western Rite parishes.73 In Philadelphia, Archbishop John Ryan refused to meet with him, forcing Volans'kyi to write both to Sembratovych and the Roman Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.74 Volans'kyi later returned to Galicia, was sent to Brazil as a missionary, and ended his career in Galicia.
It should be pointed out that bishops were not the only ones who held such views. For example, Fr. Albert A. Lings, Archbishop Corrigan’s dean in New York, expressed relief in 1892 that the wife of Fr. Eugene Szatala, a Carpatho-Rusyn Eastern Rite Priest, remained in Europe.75 An 1898 trip to L’viv would force Lings to admit later that married priests could be effective.76 Although Lings should be commended for changing his mind on the effectiveness of married priests (at least in the European context), his is but a more tolerant example of the sort of prejudice the Eastern Catholics encountered from both bishops and priests of the Latin rite.77
In response to the arrival of the Carpatho-Rusyns (and their priests, notably Volans'kyi and later Toth), Ireland began working on a «solution» to the «problem» of the Eastern Catholic Immigrants.78 When Toth returned to his parishioners shaken, upset, and distraught, Ireland told the local Polish priest to denounce Toth from the pulpit, instructing the laity not to accept any ministrations from Toth.79 This decree was later published in Roman Catholic parishes throughout the Minneapolis area.80 About six months after the confrontation with Toth, in May of 1890, Ireland raised the issue of «priests of the Greek rite» before the annual meeting of bishops in Boston.81 He believed strongly in a change of rite, claiming that changing from Eastern Rite to Western Rite would assist in breaking down ethnic ghettos and further the «Americanization» of the new immigrants.82
Ireland had the explicit support of the other American Catholic bishops in this regard as well as Rome's.83 For example, Bishop Richard Phelan of Pittsburgh claimed, «a married priest could neither be a good priest, nor a good Catholic.»84
One might be tempted to think it was only those who could be termed «Americanists» who supported this view, but even those who were not «Americanists» opposed the immigration of Eastern Rite clergy and snubbed the Eastern Rite practices.85
Toth responded to his situation by eventually turning to his Eastern Christian tradition, a move not wholly unlike American Protestant restorationism, but though he claimed he had long considered becoming Orthodox, he did not immediately make this turn toward Orthodox Christianity86 First, he tried to operate from the platform of his Eastern Christian tradition within the larger Catholic Church. Toth wrote to his bishop (Ivan Valyi) three times but claimed a «Reverend Dzubay» asked him to write a fourth letter detailing the difficulties, which could then be forwarded to Rome (though the letter proved to be «too harsh» to be sent).87 After the letter exchange, Toth called and chaired a meeting of Carpatho-Rusyn clergy in America.88 The clergy met on October 29, 1890. The group attending the clergy meeting was small, with eight of the ten priests in America attending.89
At this meeting, the Carpatho-Rusyn priests adopted nine proposals: (1) to petition for a bishop over the Eastern Rite Roman Catholics (2) that the Eastern Rite be maintained (3) bishops in Europe should send only married priests (4) parish property should be appropriately deeded, i.e., not left solely in the hands of a small group of the laity (5) Church organizations are not to accept non-Catholics and officers must be installed in a church building (6) parish boundaries must be flexible, so that people have the freedom of attending the parish they helped build (7) the local priest is the one who should head parish finances and property (8) those assigned the duty of collecting pledges must be honorable men and their collection books must contain an introduction by a pastor (9) each parish should have an annual meeting.90
One can extrapolate two factors that will become important to Toth's later success from the nine proposals. First, there was a clear desire to promote and maintain their traditional Eastern Christian heritage to the fullest extent, even going so far as to bypass Western Rite clergy within the American dioceses that already existed. Second, the parishes were largely controlled by lay members, often a small group of lay members.91 The first three proposals speak directly to the Carpatho-Rusyns» difficulty with maintaining their religious tradition. In proposal two, demanding that the Eastern Rite be allowed, they wrote of the «intolerance and total ignorance» of the American Catholic clergy and claimed such «negative influence can only harm our Greek Catholic tradition and draw our faithful into the Latin rite.»92 The final six proposals addressed the situations caused when a parish was deeded to a member, or handful of members, of a given congregation without including the governing oversight of the local priest and his bishop.93
Following the meeting, Toth sent a summary to Bishop Valyi. In this report, Toth wrote, «The first alarming piece of news came form [sic] Philadelphia, where suspicious-looking individuals were said to be trying to lure Hungarian Greek Catholics to the side of the schism.»94 That is to say, the seeds of discontent had been sown and looking to Orthodox Christianity was something Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants had begun to consider. Toth was not alone, not even the «first,» but as we shall see, he became a catalyst who established a tradition-focused pattern.95 Having already claimed in the aforementioned December 16, 1889, letter that some Carpatho-Rusyns were in the habit of taking a two to three day journey one way to Alaska for a major feast where they attended an Orthodox parish, he claimed that unless Catholic clergy in America changed their position, «one portion of the faithful will turn against religion, another portion will join the [Orthodox] and still another portion will become Roman Catholic.»96 Toth’s concerns expressed not only the reality for many a Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant, but for his own parishioners and himself as well.
America provided them precisely the opportunity they needed to follow through on asserting their commitment to their Eastern Christian tradition. Two different versions of how Toth and the Minneapolis parish contacted the Russian Orthodox bishop, Vladimir, exist, though they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. One version places the impetus in the hands of one John Mlinar and some fellow lay members. According to John Mlinar himself, after traveling to San Francisco with the intention of collecting funds for the parish, he secretly met with some fellow lay people, who then went to Toth, asking for Toth’s endorsement of their decision to become Orthodox.97
Toth’s account describes the meeting as occurring upon his decision to gather together his parishioners in order to inform them that given the circumstances, it would probably be best if he left. They responded by reminding him that the situation would be no different for the next priest and that they ought to go to «the Russian Orthodox bishop.»98 Since neither Toth nor his parishioners knew where Bishop Vladimir resided, Toth wrote to the Russian Consulate and learned the whereabouts on December 18, 1890.99 The parish then sent John Mlinar to San Francisco, during which time (and after some difficulties communicating linguistically), Mlinar wrote to Toth wondering what Church it was to which they belonged since he only knew himself to be «Orthodox.»100 This point from Mlinar is an important one, for even though they had been under the papacy in Rome since 1646, the Carpatho-Rusyns had continued to call themselves Orthodox (pravoslavniĭ).
The meeting was a success in that Mlinar and Bishop Vladimir were able to further the petition of the Minneapolis congregation. Igumen George Chudnovski, rector of the cathedral (and whose own native dialect allowed him to understand Mlinar reasonably well) wrote to Toth, explaining the status of the Russian Orthodox Church in America and informing Toth, «your business has been forwarded to St. Petersburg. Write also to the remaining churches that they may follow your blessed path.»101 In February of that year, Toth traveled to San Francisco and on March 25, Bishop Vladimir visited Minneapolis and received Toth and the parish into the Russian Orthodox Church.102 When news reached Prešov, Bishop Valyi requested that Toth accept another parish in America as a temporary assignment before returning to Europe, a futile request since Toth no longer understood himself to be under Valyi's jurisdiction.103
Toth quickly earned the love and respect of Bishop Vladimir and by September of 1891, Vladimir asked if Toth would be willing to serve both Minneapolis and Chicago and praised Toth’s evangelization efforts toward Carpatho-Rusyns in Pennsylvania, exclaiming, «May the Lord help you win Pennsylvania over to the truth. Do not be dejected. Be patient, and may the Lord bless and help you.»104 In July of 1892, the Holy Synod officially recognized the reception of Toth into the Orthodox Church by Vladimir and the Russian Mission, though by that time, a new bishop, Nicholas, had been assigned to America.105
Toth had started his ecclesiastical career in tension-filled Subcarpathia and ended it by adhering to Orthodox Christianity in America. In so doing, he was on the forefront of a mass Carpatho-Rusyn movement from Eastern Catholicism to Russian Orthodoxy. The Eastern Christian tradition was, for him, paramount and the American context allowed him to pursue it more fully than he had been able previously. Initially, holding fast to his Eastern Christian roots meant writing to his bishop back home and meeting with fellow Eastern Catholic clergy, but that proved to be but a short lived initial step. For both Toth and his parishioners came to believe that the only way to maintain their Eastern Christian tradition was to turn to the Orthodox tradition, to restore Orthodoxy as the Carpatho-Rusyn faith. For Toth, this turn, or conversion, had a serious religious grounding. To understand how he perceived his conversion to Orthodoxy to be a return to the tradition of his Orthodox ancestors, however, one has to engage his apologetics, both in evangelistic efforts and his writings because it is there that one finds his motivations and beliefs expressed and witnesses what drew others to follow him.
TOTH TAKES THE OFFENSIVE IN THE NAME OF TRADITION
In November of 1892, Toth's efforts with people residing in Pennsylvania bore fruit and he was contacted by the Eastern Catholic parish in Wilkes-Barre, asking him to become their pastor.106 Initially, Toth thought it could be a joke, but after being assured otherwise, he made the trip in order to inform them about Orthodoxy.107 Toth served the liturgy and explained to them what would be necessary should they become Orthodox, including differences in teachings and practices as well as the fact that they would have to submit to Bishop Nicholas, which included deeding the property to him and the Russian Mission.108 Toth spoke at length and then left the people alone in order that they might decide whether the teachings and practicalities of such a conversion were acceptable. They agreed and sent a petition to Bishop Nicholas.109 Bishop Nicholas responded by way of telegram, accepting the parish and assigning Toth as their rector.
Toth's methods in Wilkes-Barre would not prove unique. In his personal encounters with groups seeking to convert and form an Orthodox parish, Toth responded in a manner that demonstrated an awareness and concern for who the Carpatho-Rusyns actually were. In each case, Toth held meetings with the entire group of interested people and proceeded carefully to inform them of the doctrinal and jurisdictional aspects of converting to the Russian Orthodox Church. Toth kept to this approach even when it seemed that a less structured approach might work (at least temporarily). One example occurred in Mahoney, Pennsylvania:
I found there only seven people. After one and one-half hours of waiting, finally the rest came… To my question, what motives brought them the wish to reunite with the Holy Orthodox faith, after a long silence one of them finally said in the Slovak language, «We don't have any more patience with the premacy [sic] of Mr. Smith [the local lay-leader] and we cannot pay so much to the priest and to have so many collections, and in the church treasury there is nothing»... To that I told them it is not the interest of the Holy Orthodox Church and faith to make now [sic] disagreements and unrest in a Uniate parish, and because of that, if you think that the goal of Orthodoxy is to liberate you from the «rule» of Smith and others, you are mistaken. You are mistaken also that in the Orthodox Church it is not necessary to pay the priest and deacon.... I started to give them a dogmatic and historical explanation of Orthodoxy and Unia. I did it for more than an hour. They listened with attention and when I finished, the brother of the president came and he began to talk. He was very drunk. ... I saw that there the matter was not about the soul, not about the church, nor about the faith, but only about private interests. I told them simply that an Orthodox can be only that one who has a real love of God, the church of our forefathers, and of the Russian nationality, that the Holy Orthodox Church does not want to use the means used by the Uniates and their ksendzes [priests], that the Orthodox Church is going in a simple way, does not twist, does not dodge, but teaches God's truth and honesty and I left them.110
Although nothing came of this meeting, Toth’s description proves consistent with his aforementioned encounter with the parishioners in Wilkes-Barre as well as his description of meeting Carpatho-Rusyns in Scranton.111 In each case, Toth was concerned for both proper and legitimate conversions. This may be seen in the way in which he described the Orthodox tradition to them, as «the church of our forefathers» and as something belonging to «Russian nationality.» One may also see Toth’s concerns for the people themselves, displaying an awareness of the sort of concerns and agendas and behavior his fellow Carpatho-Rusyns tended to have. This latter point of sensitivity for his fellow Carpatho-Rusyn will prove important but is by no means secondary to Toth’s emphasis on the need to look to the Orthodox tradition for an answer to their plight.
According to Toth, Carpatho-Rusyns converting to Orthodox Christianity were turning to the tradition of the true, historical church of Christianity and the faith of their fathers. Toth made this clear from the very beginning of Where to Seek the Truth?, a self-published treatise that went through several editions but was first written in 1893. The treatise itself begins with sixteen opening questions that are followed by short answers. The first question asks who established the Christian faith, the answer being Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. The next ten questions, however, which seek to define where the Christian church began, where the Ecumenical Councils assembled, and where the greatest fathers lived all have answers that begin with a reference to «the East.» So, for example, questions eight and nine read as:
8. Where did the greatest holy fathers of Christ's church live?
In the East – such fathers as St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. Athanasius, St. Gregory, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, and others.
9. From where did our ancestors, the Russians, accept Christianity?
From the East – Constantinople.112
The point is clear. There is no mention of Augustine. The greatest fathers were in the East and it is this faith that their Slavic ancestors adopted. Although the omission of Augustine might make a contemporary Western reader wonder whether Toth himself actually believed this, it is important to remember that Augustine's stature in the East is but a glimmer of what it is in the West. It should hardly be surprising that Augustine did not make Toth's list of greatest saints.
The argument that Orthodoxy is the traditional faith of the Carpatho-Rusyns may be found in the second part of the pamphlet, titled under the heading «church,» thus linking church, tradition, and ethnicity. Continuing the question-answer format, Toth wrote:
3. What do the words «schism» and «dissidence» mean?
They mean «renegade.» Such a faith or church, is one which has splintered off – separated itself from the ecumenical church in its observance of rites.
4. What does the word «heretical» mean?
Heretical is a faith or church, which has not only reneged from the ecumenical church in observance of rites, but is teaching the opposite of the church's teachings, something false or invented which is not acceptable to God.
5. Can a person please God as a member of a schismatic or heretical faith?
No, especially if he knows or hears that he belongs to a misguided faith.113
Toth, as a former professor of canon law and church history correctly distinguished between the notions of schism and heresy, though it is intriguing to see the manner in which he did this. A schism was caused when a group continued to teach correct doctrines, but on its own changed the forms of worship and discipline. A heresy occurred when a group not only changed the forms of worship and discipline but also began teaching doctrines contrary to those held by the historical, apostolic church. Interestingly, though, the results, for Toth, were the same. People in either situation have placed their salvation at serious risk, especially if a person learns that he or she is a member of a schismatic and/or heretical group.
Naturally, the question arises as to what churches are schismatic and heretical. Toth answered this in question fifteen:
15. When were these churches founded?
The Papist, or Roman-Catholic church was founded in the ninth century after Christ.
The Protestant (Lutheran, Calvinist, and others) were founded in the sixteenth century after Christ
The Uniate (Greek-Catholic or kalakuts» church) was founded in the seventeenth century after Christ.114
On the basis of the importance of both rite and doctrinal teaching, Toth claimed there were four types of Christianity. In this way, he set up Orthodoxy as the Christian tradition because the Orthodox Church had stood as the church while the other groups had left either by way of schism or by way of both schism and heresy.
Later, in section five (entitled «Unia»), Toth continued to argue that the Orthodox faith was the faith of the Carpatho-Rusyn ancestors prior to the 17th and 18th centuries.
1. What does the word «unia» mean?
This is a Latin word (unio) that means union or joining, and the faith and church that keeps such union is called the Uniate faith and the Uniate Church....
14. When did the Unia start in Hungary and why?
It started in Hungary in 1649. The Orthodox people were persecuted there by the wild Hungarian-Papists, who persecuted them as did the Poles in Poland... They were forced to denounce their grandfathers» Orthodox Church and not only their faith and church, but also their nationality.115
Clearly, Toth was playing on emotions, here, referencing «their grandfathers» Orthodox Church,» but the point remained. Prior to the Union of Užhorod in 1646, there was no Unia and the Slavic people in the region were members of the Orthodox Church, the one true church that had maintained the faith of Christ.
The broad outlines of Toth's understanding of the history of Christianity may be seen from these last few quotes. Toth believed there was one church until the ninth century, when the East and West formally split.116 The Eastern Churches held to the true faith and kept the faith of the Eastern fathers, making it the traditional Christian church. This same Eastern Orthodox Church Christianized his ancestors and the Slavic peoples beginning in the ninth century. The Western Church persecuted the Carpatho-Rusyns even after they formally accepted Roman Catholic oversight. On this point, he made no distinction between the local Hungarian Catholic Church and the Roman papacy. The one served the other.
Since Toth closely linked the true faith of his Rusyn ancestors with their Slavic heritage, denouncing their Orthodox Church went hand in hand with denouncing their «nationality» (narodno). «Each true Russian, even if he is not the Czar's citizen, every person who has even one drop of Slavic blood, has to pray for his health and for his royal house because the Russians and the Slavs have in the Russian Czar their only protector on this planet.»117 This and other very similar remarks, which permeated not only this treatise, but all of Toth's writings, simply verifies the final point he raised in the opening section of the pamphlet:
What does the word «catholic» mean? This word is Greek and it means «sobornyi» This means that the Christian Faith must spread over all the world... And why is the Orthodox faith also called »Russian»? Because this faith is confessed by the most glorious, greatest, and most religious people, the Russians. It is missionized by the great, glorious, mighty Russia where more than eighty million people are Orthodox.118
According to Toth, the Russian Orthodox Church has been charged with evangelizing the world on behalf of the Orthodox faith. Toth’s statements situate him squarely within a late imperial (1855–1917) Russian Orthodox movement that had encompassed Nicholas Bjerring, the first American convert priest in the 1870s and early 1880s, «Orthodox patriotism.»119
Although he was an Orthodox patriot and believed religion intertwined with the historic destiny of the Russian, Slavic people, which included the Carpatho-Rusyns, one should assume neither that this means Toth subsumed the theological arguments under nationalistic arguments nor that Toth promoted some sort of tribalism.120 The guiding factor was Orthodox Christianity. Its connection to Russia and the Slavic peoples was that they were given a special calling by God to spread and defend the Orthodox faith throughout the world. Although Toth was clearly writing to Carpatho-Rusyns whom he believed were part of the larger Russian people, their guiding principle was to be their faith.
These were two important arguments for Toth. Orthodoxy was the traditional faith of the Carpatho-Rusyns and the Carpatho-Rusyns were part of the Russian people, whose lives were furthered by the tsar and the Russian Orthodox Church. These two contentions were brought to bear upon a central point that Toth wished to emphasize – the Roman Catholic Church had persecuted and continued to persecute both the Orthodox and the Eastern Catholics. Specifically, Toth listed four main abuses:
Their [the Orthodox] holy, only-saving Christian faith and church were called «peasant.»
Their priests were called "Jews» and under the leadership of Polish ksendzes or Jesuits. The priests were attacked, beaten, even dragged on the ground by their hair and beards.
Corpses were thrown from their coffins. During funerals the dead and mourning parishioners were dragged to the marshes or to waste places. The priests and Orthodox believers were hit and many times people were even killed.
(d) The Orthodox churches, it is horrible to say, were turned over to the Jews to control. When an Orthodox priest needed to have a service, to baptize or wed or bury people he had first to pay money to receive the key and to be admitted to the church.121
One needs to be careful in assessing the list of abuses Toth provided. The Hungarians looked down upon the Carpatho-Rusyns and did consider them peasants (which they largely were, though in this case, it was clearly a pejorative term). The Hungarians were also clean-shaven and expected the Eastern Catholic clergy to be clean shaven as well, per the standard Western custom of the time. We also know that Hungarians (as well as Poles and Russians) would hire Jews and use Jews to further their own intra-Christian struggles.122 One must be cautious, however, of giving too much weight to dead and mourning parishioners being dragged off and corpses stolen from their coffins. Orthodox have had their dead stolen from coffins, most recently by Presbyterians and Methodists in Alaska in the early twentieth century, but Toth was almost certainly referring to abuses attributed to Josaphat Kuntsevych.123 Kuntsevych joined the Catholic Church and eventually became the Eastern Catholic bishop of Polotsk. Toth compared him to the leaders of the Spanish Inquisition:
The Spanish Inquisition was an ecclesiastical court, where Dominican monks judged everyone, using horrible tortures ... The main villain inquisitors were Peter Arbuesis and Thomas Torquemada. These were shouted out as saints by the pope as also was the kalakut Josaphat Kuntzevich! God protect us from that type of saint. Whoever does not believe us should take the service book, the L'vov edition, and there in the proskomide can find that after Ss. Basil, John, Nicholas, and Athanasius, is also written, «St. Holy Martyr Josaphat.»124
To this day in Poland and other areas of Eastern Europe, one may find pamphlets describing a host of abuses attributed to Kuntsevych, though many of the abuses themselves cannot be verified.125 For Toth, church history all too readily bequeathed a history of abuses in the name of papal authority against those who did not accept Latinization. By including Kuntsevych in the proskomide prayers, the propagators of union with Rome displayed a triumphalism Toth found intolerable. The proskomide service is a service of preparation in which an Eastern Rite (whether Orthodox or Eastern Catholic) priest prepares the bread that is to be placed on the altar during the divine liturgy. This service occurs on a small table to the north of the altar (which is oriented east) from which the bread and wine is processed to the altar during the portion of the liturgy known as the Great Entrance. The priest performs this preparation service with prayers that include commemorating significant saints of the church. To include Kuntsevych would be to elevate his importance for Eastern Catholics and would make the implicit theological statement that his actions and uniatism are on par with the actions and doctrinal writings of St. Basil the Great. Nor did Toth present the persecution simply as Roman Catholic versus Orthodox. He noted the more recent Carpatho-Rusyn church history and reminded his readers that in Hungary, the Eastern Rite Roman Catholics themselves «are beaten and persecuted; their Uniate church and their church rite is displayed for mockery by the Latin rite.»126
Toth’s arguments must have resonated deeply with the common Carpatho-Rusyn peasant-immigrant, for whom he wrote. Toth’s commitment to his parishioners and the common Carpatho-Rusyn is not difficult to demonstrate. His people were largely impoverished miners working dangerous jobs for very little pay127 Toth ministered to them regardless of the conditions and on at least one occasion had himself lowered into a mine in order to hear a dying miner's final confession.128 His desire to address the average Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant can be found in both his publication efforts and in his personal interaction with immigrant groups seeking to establish an Orthodox parish.
With regard to his publications, Toth sought to present arguments in a manner that not only might appeal to the common Rusyn sentiments, but would be readily accessible. The important pamphlet, Where to Seek the Truth?, already analyzed, is probably the most obvious example, given that it went through many editions over the years and was distributed to large groups of people. Some of the changes to the editions are also notable. One of the prominent Russophile exponents during Toth’s lifetime in Subcarpathia was Ievhennii Fentsyk (1844–1903), who published the journal Listok.129 The journal included a supplement intended for the less educated simply entitled Dadotok. In the later 1907 edition of Where to Seek the Truth?, Toth likewise added two supplement sections (also entitled Dadotok), which addressed the sorts of concerns one might expect from a Carpatho-Rusyn peasant, such as why Eastern clergy had beards while the Roman Catholic clergy were clean-shaven.130 He also added a section that discussed the various types of crosses, including the Slavic three-barred cross.131 For the average Carpatho-Rusyn, such things were the marks of the Eastern Orthodox tradition, of which they felt a part.
Toth also founded the paper Svit because he believed that the Russian Orthodox Mission needed a paper written for the average Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant, akin to the Eastern Catholic paper Amerikanskiĭ Russkiĭ Viestnik. He belabored this concern many times in his letters to Bishop Nicholas. For example, in the letter to Bishop Nicholas, wherein he argued that Bishop Nicholas should not have written the letter to Svoboda or Amerikanskiĭ Russkiĭ Viestnik, Toth claimed that having their own newspaper could serve as a means of responding to the Eastern Catholic voices.132 At one point, by way of a passing remark, he even wrote, «I would have liked to enclose several more letters from people in which they are constantly asking about a newspaper.»133 In a later letter, Toth noted that the Amerikanskiĭ Pravoslavnyĭ Viestnik (the Russian Missions paper, which was also known as the Russian Orthodox American Messenger) «would be a magazine in which only learned people would find pleasure, but our uneducated people will not understand anything and because of that – I am convinced – venia sit verb! – that the best would be not to get occupied with grandiloquent questions in the magazine, and with more easy questions for example with the intemperate behavior of the local Russian people.»134 In another letter still, he wrote, «Your Eminence! Our magazine somehow is writing only for educated persons. Wouldn't it be possible that in it would also be written something for the people?»135
Toth's concern for the average Carpatho-Rusyn was well founded. For as convincing as Toth's arguments on behalf of the Orthodox tradition were to thousands, many also waivered and sometimes reversed course on him. In fact, this happened within the Wilkes-Barre parish that had called him from Minneapolis. Despite Toth's care to ensure that all the parishioners knew what they were doing, the parish soon split, with some members claiming that Toth and a faction within the congregation stole the parish from the Eastern Catholics. A lawsuit ensued, which was not finally settled until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Eastern Catholic party. The court did not reach this ruling because it thought that the property had not been deeded correctly to the Orthodox Church. Nor did the court think that the parishioners had not become Orthodox. Instead, it based itself on a case involving a Lutheran parish, wherein the court had decided the property should go to the group representing tenets of the original, founding members, and so ruled in favor of the party that could claim to be Eastern Catholic, the faith of the parish before it converted to Orthodoxy.136 The length of the trial and the church-political machinations and expense it required exacted a toll on Toth.137
It is interesting to note that the court treated the parish as a Protestant institution rather than either Roman Catholic or Orthodox. At one point, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania even claimed, «We think there is no evidence that would warrant us to placing this church under control of the Roman Catholic bishops.»138 This is a bold statement given that the ruling itself placed the parish under the control of «the Roman Catholic bishops.» The court was either unable or unwilling to treat this situation other than how they would treat warring factions in a Protestant parish. Almost certainly, this is because the case went to court during a time of transition. The court in the Watson v. Jones case of 1871 had invoked the principle of church autonomy, which meant that in cases involving hierarchical structures, the court was to follow the decision of church hierarchy.139 This was a change from the prior English-law approach, known as the Lord Eldon's Rule, which sought to determine the doctrinal position of the religious body in question and then rule in favor of the group that most closely held to correct doctrine.140 As Toth's case demonstrates, it took time for the implications of Watson v. Jones to be fully appreciated and implemented within the American court system.141 From the ruling of Watson v. Jones, Toth and his Orthodox parishioners should have won the case, since the parish had been properly deeded to the Orthodox hierarchy, but Lord Eldon’s Rule influenced the court's thinking and so the court prioritized the founding, Eastern Catholic doctrinal position.
The Supreme Court did not even discount the general outline of events, as presented by Toth's party. This should dissuade us from making the sort of speculative judgment offered by Konstantin Simon, who insinuated that during the trial, Toth must have mitigated «the amount of persuasion and prompting, as well as the use of half-truths» he had supposedly used to convert the parish.142 The court at the time certainly did not insinuate any such thing and even if one grants Simon's claim for sake of argument, an honest reading of the sources themselves makes it very difficult to understand why only one party in this suit could be blamed for such behavior. Neither side was pulling any punches. Furthermore, Toth's rendition, which the Supreme Court accepted as true, was in complete accordance with how he interacted with other parish groups seeking to enter Orthodoxy. Toth's approach was always to make an apology for the Orthodox tradition as the faith of the Carpatho-Rusyns» ancestors and the church to which they should return.
Toth's troubles during his tenure as an Orthodox priest were not limited to Eastern Catholic Carpatho-Rusyns. From the beginning of Bishop Nicholas» episcopal oversight, Toth also had to struggle against Russian Orthodox prejudices, all the while furthering the faith of the Russian Orthodox Church. In many ways, the source of this tension was Russian prejudice against Carpatho-Rusyn liturgical practices and culture. In parishes that converted, the Carpatho-Rusyn plainchant was replaced by the Russian liturgical, musical tradition. Even Toth had made passing remarks how he knew the parishioners in Bridgeport «would like their children to go to a Russian school and learn to sing, read, and write as their delegates heard and saw it during the conference at Wilkes-Barre.»143
Toth himself personally suffered from the Russification efforts of the Russian Mission. In Minneapolis, an assistant was assigned to Toth in order that the parish would have the services of a priest when he needed to be absent to pursue evangelistic ventures among Eastern Catholic Carpatho-Rusyns.144 For this purpose, Bishop Nicholas assigned Fr. Sebastian Dabovich. According to Toth, Dabovich immediately began instituting changes in order to adhere more strictly to Russian practice, changes Toth noted ought to have occurred slowly over time. Toth claimed Dabovich then proceeded to instigate ill-feelings toward Toth, only to pull back from the fray later and feign innocence.145
In addition, the Russian Mission's periodical, the Russian Orthodox American Messenger, included essays that contained negative assessments of Toth’s Eastern Catholic background and of Eastern Catholics more generally, written by two prominent clergymen, Alexander Hotovitsky and Benedict Turkevich.146 Hotovitsky criticized liturgical differences between the Carpatho-Rusyns and the Russians, argued against longer sermons (which at least one converted priest, Fr. Hrihoryi Hrushka, suggested fit the American context better), and even went so far as to claim that a newspaper recently started by Toth (Svit) had no right to exist. Turkevich, for his part, had a different view than Toth regarding the Carpatho-Rusyns place in America. Although Toth argued that it was possible to be fully American and maintain one's culture and ethnicity Turkevich believed the only nationality that mattered was that of the Russians and in an article in Toth's Svit, suggested that the Carpatho-Rusyns should not be going to America, but to Russia, their homeland.147
It must be noted, here, that the Turkevich-Toth tension is not one of whether the Carpatho-Rusyns were wanted in the Orthodox Church. Turkevich was not saying «get out of Orthodoxy.» Rather, there was an intra-Russophile division at work. For Toth, looking to the Orthodox faith of Russia did not preclude embracing the American situation. Indeed, the American context allowed Carpatho-Rusyns to restore Orthodoxy as their faith. For Turkevich, the Russian Orthodox mission in America was primarily to Russians and a new, large group of peasant converts should further Russia's ambitions. At the time, one of Russia's major endeavors was the settling, or colonization, of Siberia.148 When Turkevich suggested colonization in Siberia, he was simply making a suggestion that would have fit with Russia's goals and would not have seemed unduly out of place, however much it might have contrasted with Toth's own vision and pastoral sensibilities (not to mention those of the immigrant-converts themselves).
The difficulties existed not only with fellow Russian Orthodox priests, who disliked aspects of the Carpatho-Rusyns religious life, but also with Bishop Nicholas himself. On February 24, 1896, Bishop Nicholas accused Toth of producing «an unpleasant feeling of irritation and dissatisfaction against you in all those, who have to deal with you.»149 Toth even claimed that Fr. Ambrosii Vretta, then the priest at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Church in Chicago, told Toth that Bishop Nicholas suspected Toth of being nothing more than a Jesuit who joined Orthodoxy in the hopes of attaining some material gain and Vretta was to watch Toth.150 About a year and a half later, Toth would also write, «Your Eminence, in the same letter you deign to ask me, "Why does nothing happen like that, where the priests are Moscovites?... Naturally, because they always act more legally»151 Despite these ongoing tensions, Toth continued to act as an apologist for the Orthodox Church among his fellow Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants.
Although Toth endured these tensions, every single other Eastern Catholic priest who had joined Toth, including his own brother, Victor, later returned to the Eastern Catholic Church. Likely, their reasons included tiring of the lay-dominated parishes, the related issue of poor clergy compensation, and tensions with the Russian Orthodox clergy. For Alexander Dzubay, the tensions with the Russian Orthodox clergy certainly proved to be too much. Dzubay attended the clergy meeting on October 29, 1890, which Toth chaired, and later followed Toth into the Orthodox Church. Alexander Dzubay would even be consecrated the bishop of Pittsburgh in 1916, but in 1923, he returned to the Catholic Church with the expectation of being made a bishop to serve Carpatho-Rusyn Eastern Catholics. His expectations remained unfulfilled and he died defrocked in a monastery rest home in 1933.152
In the case of Victor Toth, he left because he refused to change his alcoholic ways. Alexis Toth, who occasionally provided statements that demonstrate an aversion to hard liquor and heavy drinking, drew a hard line with his brother. On the one hand, Alexis Toth reacted negatively to the embarrassing write-up his brother received in the Amerikanskiĭ Pravoslavnyĭ Viestnik, which described Victor Toth's necessary removal from priestly service.
Why does the entire world have to know, that he is a drunk, it is sorrowful to admit, that we have people like him?... Meanwhile we have had even worse matters happen... their "sicknesses» were also not described as tragically as my brother's was!... Fr. Hotovitsky [the editor] is a nice young man, but he does not have experience – not for a cent!153
On the other hand, Alexis Toth refused to provide communion to his censured brother (apparently because Victor continued living a reprobate life even after being removed from ministry). However, Alexis Toth still loved his brother and paid his fare back to Europe. «To my great regret I have to admit that my brother has thrown himself in with Uniate priests; the real reason was that I myself refused to communicate with him. However, in the end, I had to send him back to Europe at my own cost.»154
Despite all this, one must note that Toth's relations with Bishop Nicholas and his fellow Russian Orthodox priests were not characterized only by tensions, misunderstandings, and mistrust. Alexander Hotovitsky did concelebrate (serve in the same altar) with Toth at times and Bishop Nicholas once wrote to the Amerikanskiĭ Russkiĭ Viestnik (American Russian Messenger, an Eastern Catholic paper) defending the Russian Orthodox Mission and its work among Eastern Catholics.155 Bishop Nicholas sought to refute the two-pronged attack of the Eastern Catholics at the time (that the Russian Orthodox Mission used «itinerant disciples» and offered promises of material improvement). At the outset, he claimed:
The Orthodox Mission in America under my supervision has never employed, nor does it employ, unfair means for the conversion of Rusin Uniates – and never has dealings with «itinerant disciples» – and never gives »promises» She accepted them into the bosom of the Orthodox Church since after repeated ordeals they were desiring to join the Orthodox Church – and only through persuasion, by a sincere offering of a confession of faith, did she join them to her Church.156
Toth responded to Nicholas with a mixed review, on the one hand cautioning that only «trouble» arises from engaging Amerikanskiĭ Russkiĭ Viestnik and/or Svoboda (Freedom), the two papers in which the letter appeared, while on the other hand noting that what Bishop Nicholas wrote was «the truth.»157 Two ways in which Toth believed Nicholas may have caused trouble was by bringing himself down to the level of those who were directly involved in the disputes and by encouraging Eastern Catholic Gallicians and Polish Roman Catholics to unite around a common enemy (Bishop Nicholas and the Orthodox). Toth claimed that the editor of Amerikanskiĭ Russkiĭ Viestnik, Zhatkovych, originally had decided not to publish it until he saw it in Svoboda, at which point he published it, adding some comments of his own in response. Whatever the personal suspicions and tensions between the two men, Bishop Nicholas proved capable of acknowledging Toth’s importance with respect to the mission of the Russian Orthodox Church in America. In addition to this letter defending the mission (and, indirectly, Alexis Toth) Bishop Nicholas also awarded Toth for his efforts with a pectoral cross.158
Toth continued to receive the support of his bishops and fellow Russian Orthodox clergy throughout the remainder of his life, regardless of the tensions and cultural suspicions that existed. Bishop (Saint) Tikhon awarded him with various Russian imperial orders of distinction and a palitsa, or epigonation, and made him a mitred archpriest.159 Bishop Platon (later Metropolitan Platon) also supported Toth by writing a eulogy160 Fr. (St.) Alexander Hotovitsky wrote a moving memorial for Toth, printed in the Russian Orthodox American Messenger.161 The brother of Benedict Turkevich, Fr. Leonid Turkevich, a future Metropolitan, also wrote a tribute.162 Toth's arguments on behalf of the Orthodox tradition among Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants were too effective to ignore.
Carpatho-Rusyn conversions to Orthodoxy Christianity did not end with Toth's efforts. The Roman Catholic Church would continue to struggle with the concern over Eastern Catholic immigrants in America even beyond Toth's lifetime. Valyi argued against Rome's ruling that married priests should not emigrate to America by claiming that until an apostolic vicariate was assigned (if not a bishop), the Carpatho-Rusyns should be subject to their bishops in Europe rather than the Latin Rite bishops in America. Following Toth's conversion and the beginnings of a movement toward Orthodoxy, Rev. Nicephorus Chanath worked as a liaison between the American Roman Catholic bishops and the Eastern Catholic clergy, though the bishops paid him relatively little attention. Back in Hungary, the bishop of Mukačevo (Firczák) considered the American situation as one «caught between the Scylla of poverty and the Charybdis of schism [Orthodoxy].»163
Eventually, the Right Reverend Andrew Hodobay was assigned as the Apostolic Visitor but after a few years (from 1902–1906) he was recalled due to in-fighting among the various Eastern Rite Catholic groups. In 1907, Rome consecrated Stephen Ortinsky to be an Eastern Catholic bishop in America but he was given no real jurisdiction, being nothing more than a vicar of Rome and an auxiliary to the American, Latin Rite bishops. He was given full jurisdiction in 1913, but died unexpectedly in 1916, before he could fully initiate needed changes and pastoral oversight. Upon his death, the Eastern Catholics in America split between a Carpatho-Rusyn camp and a Ukrainian camp. The Carpatho-Rusyns did receive Bishop Basil Takach in 1924, but Fr. Orestes Chornock led a group of Carpatho-Rusyns – much as Toth had earlier – to join the Orthodox Church. They chose to enter as an autonomous Church under the Ecumenical Patriarch due to concerns of Russification (e.g. establishing Russian language schools in Carpatho-Rusyn parishes, replacing Carpatho-Rusyn chant and liturgical practices with Russian ones, and telling the faithful they are really part of the Russian people).164
Nonetheless, Toth's own personal efforts effected the intra-Christian conversions of tens of thousands of his fellow Carpatho-Rusyns. Throughout his dedicated career of service to the Russian Orthodox Mission in America, Alexis Toth consistently argued that Orthodoxy was both the apostolic faith and the traditional religion of the Carpatho-Rusyn people. He joined this argument to the belief that the Carpatho-Rusyns were part of the Russian people, whose lives were furthered by the Tsar and the Russian Orthodox Church. In this way, Toth looked to restore the pre-unia Orthodox Church of the Carpatho-Rusyns. In many ways, the Carpatho-Rusyn resistance against Hungarian and Latin Catholics was a matter of preserving their culture and their Eastern Rite tradition. Here, the point expressed by Mlinar was important. The Carpatho-Rusyns knew themselves only as Orthodox, which enabled Toth to argue successfully that to be a Carpatho-Rusyn Eastern Christian meant they needed to turn to the Orthodox tradition of their ancestors.
Toth believed that the Orthodox faith was given to the Slavs and had her defenders in the Tsar and the Russian Orthodox Church. What needed to be done was not defend Eastern Catholic prerogatives, but to join the Russian Orthodox Church, where the Carpatho-Rusyns could see the Slavic Orthodox life continuing to exist. To further this end, Toth's tactics centered upon the Carpatho-Rusyn peasant immigrant rather than intellectuals, as evidenced by his responses to his Eastern Catholic critics, the manner in which he engaged prospective convert parishes, and his use and understanding of the role of church publications.
It could be tempting to claim Toth became Orthodox simply because he was a Russophile, but this would not do justice to the theological aspects of his conversion, aspects he himself highlighted as important. He could have lived as a pan-Slavist and remained an Eastern Catholic, but the ecclesiological imperative was too great. He believed Eastern Catholicism was a schism from the Orthodox Church and if the Carpatho-Rusyns returned to Orthodoxy, their conversion would end that schism. It was not enough simply to preserve their Eastern Rite. For Toth, there were four main groups: the Orthodox Church, the Eastern Catholics, the Roman Catholics, and the Protestants. Three of the four were in schism. Only the Orthodox Church preserved the Orthodox tradition fully intact.
The American context proved to be important for both Toth and the Carpatho-Rusyn conversions to that Orthodox tradition in two ways. First, from a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical perspective, the American situation was too reminiscent of the Old World situation. In Hungary, Magyarization had created a difficult situation for the Eastern Catholic Carpatho-Rusyns. In America, Toth and his fellow Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants encountered a combination of factors at play in the Roman Catholic Church that created a situation no less tolerable. On the one hand, Americanists like Ireland desired to create a Catholic Church that would be more accommodating to American society. It is not difficult to find motivations for this. A Protestant centric perspective affected public perceptions and even immigration laws.165 Non-Western rites and languages and cultures were too un-American in character for many in the Catholic Church in America at that time. Additionally, Roman Catholic clergy in America did not wish to accept a married priesthood. Given that opposition to Eastern Catholics included even the bishops and priests who opposed Americanism, one should also allow for cultural and ethnic prejudice as a factor.
Second, the American context provided for the freedom necessary for Eastern Catholic immigrants to safely enter the Russian Orthodox Church as a way of preserving their Eastern Christian tradition. In America, church and state were much more independent than the situation within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Moreover, as noted in the introduction, American Christianity has an anti-traditional tradition of restoration, of looking back to an idealized period of church history and attempting to restore that same church. Although Toth was not operating out of an American Protestant restorationist movement, he did utilize his religious freedom in America to prioritize the Eastern Christian church of the first nine centuries and argued that that was the same church that had Christianized the Slavs and therefore was the same church to which the Carpatho-Rusyns should return. While some Protestant restorationists might look to America as the biblical city on a hill, Toth looked to the Russian Orthodox Church as the entity that was to promote and defend all Slavs and, ultimately, all Orthodox Christians worldwide, thus becoming a beacon even to the non-Orthodox.
In this way, the Toth Movement anticipates the conversions that follow in the later chapters but with one key difference. The Toth Movement was addressing an Old World dilemma in a New World (American) context. The conversions of Morgan, Berry, Gillquist, and those who followed them, however, will directly enter into the American Christian restoration anti-traditional tradition itself as a way to reestablish their theological bearings and then formally turn to tradition itself.
* * *
1. The term Uniate refers to those Christians who would trace their heritage to the Union of Brest of 1596 and similar union agreements with the See of Rome (such as the Union of Uzhorod in 1646). Some contemporary Eastern Catholics may take offense at the term «Uniate» despite the fact that during the time covered in this chapter, Uniates would use the term «non-Uniate» pejoratively! At times, secondary literature will use phrases such as «Greek Catholics» or «Byzantine Rite Catholics» to refer to the same group, though these carry their own intriguing characteristics. I have chosen to use the term «Eastern Catholic.»
This encounter has been recounted numerous times. Although far from all-inclusive, the following list should suffice: Keith S. Russin, «Father Alexis G. Toth and the Wilkes-Barre Litigations,» St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 16:3 (1972),132–133; Constance J. Tarasar, 50–51; James Jorgenson,» Father Alexis Toth and the Transition of the Greek Catholic Community in Minneapolis to the Russian Orthodox Church,» St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 32:2 (1988),127–128; Mark Stokoe, in collaboration with Leonid Kishkovsky, Orthodox Christians in North America, 1794–1994(Syosset, NY: Orthodox Christian Publications Center,1995), 26–27; Peter G. Kochanik, Rus» i pravoslavie v sievernoi Amerikie; k XXV lietiiu Russkago pravoslavnago obshchestva vzaimopomoshchi, 1895–1920 (Wilkes-Barre, PA: Russian Orthodox Catholic Mutual Aid Society, 1920), 20–21; «Primiernoe i muzhestvennoe vysuplenie otsa Aleksiya Tovta na zashchitu pravoclavnych "i russko narodnych» idealov,» Svit 62 (May 1959), 18–19. Konstantin Simon notes that one will not find any reference to this encounter in Ireland's correspondence. See Konstantin Simon, «Alexis Toth and the Beginnings of the Orthodox Movement among the Ruthenians in America (1891),» Orientalia Christiana Periodica 54:2 (1988),391.
See Keith Russin, 134. The reader should note that I use the term Carpatho-Rusyn rather than other designations, such as Carpatho-Russian, Carpatho-Ukrainian, or Greek Catholic Hungarians in an attempt both to designate the traditional geographic and national locale of the people and to allow for a better recognition of any ulterior motives that may lie behind those other designations. For several essays relating to the issue of designation, see Paul Robert Magocsi, Of the Making of Nationalities there is no End, Vol. 2, Speeches, Debates, Bibliographic Works (Columbia, NY: Columbia University Press, 1999). Accordingly, I have used the Library of Congress's transliteration system for Carpatho-Rusyn names and sources. I have chosen to use the Russian transliteration system for Russian and Russian Orthodox names and sources. However, exceptions have been made in cases where the spelling of a name has become standardized across many (or all) of the sources used here. For example, I use «Toth» rather than «Tovt.» I humbly ask the reader to bear with me in this endeavor and sincerely apologize for any confusion caused. For place names I have largely adopted the contemporary spellings for convenience.
Documents relating to the canonization, including liturgical service materials, maybe found in Alexis Toth, The Orthodox Church in America and other writings by Saint Alexis, Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy in America, trans. George Soldatow (Minneapolis, AARDM Press, 1996). See also John Kowalczyk, «The Canonization of Fr. Alexis Toth by the Orthodox Church in America,» St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 38:4 (1994), 424–431.
«Autocephalous» is a technical term meaning «self-headed» or «self-governing.»
Thomas F. Sable, «Lay Initiative in Greek Catholic Parishes in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (1884–1909),» (doctoral dissertation, Graduate Theological Union, 1984), 124.
See Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 412.
On this, see Joel Brady, «Transnational Conversions: Greek Catholic Migrants and Russky Orthodox Conversion Movements in Austria-Hungary, Russian and the Americas (1890–1914)» (doctoral dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 2012). Brady's dissertation highlights the transnational aspect of Carpatho-Rusyn conversions, from Britain to South America.
Athanasius B. Pekar, The History of the Church in Carpathian Rus», trans., Marta Skorupsky (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), 107, 110, 144–161. See also «Assassinate Bishop Who Led Secession from Rome,» The Christian Century (October 13, 1948), 1069; drew Sorokowski, «Ukrainian Catholics and Orthodox in Czechoslovakia,» Religion in Communist Lands 15:1 (1987), 54–68; Andrij Yurash, «Orthodox-Greek Catholic Relations in Galicia and their Influence on the Religious Situation in Ukraine,» Religion, State & Society 33:3 (2005), 185–205, especially 190.
Americanists were those who believed that all Roman Catholics in America should conform to a single Catholic ethos, or culture. Two prominent Americanists were Archbishops John Ireland and James Gibbons (of Baltimore). Prominent opponents included Archbishop Michael Corrigan of New York City and Bishop Bernard McQuaid of Rochester, New York. Americanism had become a point of contention in the1890s. For more on Americanism, see Robert D. Cross, The Emergence of Liberal Catholicism in America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958); James Hennesey, American Catholics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981); Thomas T. McAvoy, The Americanist Heresy in Roman Catholicism (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 1963).
No document of the union itself exists. Pekar notes that the «act of union» often cited by historians is, in fact, simply a1652 request from Carpatho-Rusyn clergy, asking for their bishop-elect to be confirmed. See Pekar, The History of the Church in Carpathian Rus’, 38. For a further discussion, see also Michael Lacko, «The Union of Užhorod,» Slovak Studies 6 (1966), 7–190. An English translation of this document is available in Walter C. Warzeski, Byzantine Rite Rusins in Carpatho-Ruthenia and America (Pittsburgh: Byzantine Seminary Press, 1971), 272–273. The intra-Western Christian disputes centered on the Thirty Years» War. See Lawrence Barriger, Good Victory: Metropolitan Orestes Chornock and the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Diocese (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press,1985), 8.
Pekar believed the Orthodox movement would have been abated simply with a cessation of Magyarization. See Pekar, The History of the Church in Carpathian Rus» 110. While I agree that forced Magyarization (including public trials and imprisonment for converting to Orthodoxy) played a vital role, I am skeptical that the movement can be dismissed, en masse, so easily. Regardless, this set the stage for religious violence in the region during the twentieth century.
Pekar, 5, 84–100.
Maria Mayer, The Rusyns of Hungary: Political and Social Developments, 1860–1910, trans., János Boris (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997) 3–11, where she introduces these three movements. Mayer discusses all three throughout this work. Russophilism was a form of Slavophilism that believed Slavic peoples were to be led by Russia and the tsar. Ukrainophilism and Rusynophilism were expressions of nineteenth century nationalism, with their proponents propagating a national agenda for the Ukrainian people and the Carpatho-Rusyn population (which used the term Rusyn when speaking nationalistically).
Pekar, 101. Concerning Louis Kossuth and the Kossuth Rebellion, see Deák István, The Lawful Revolution: Louis Kossuth and the Hungarians, 1848–1849 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1979) and Louis Kossuth, Memories of My Exile, trans. Ferencz Jausz (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1880). For the 1848 pan-Slavic conference in Prague, see Lawrence D. Orton, The Prague Slav Conference of 1848 (Boulder, CO: East European Quarterly, 1978).
Emperor Francis I established the eparchy in 1815, and Pope Paul VII declared it canonically established on September 22,1818. Despite this, it was not until June of 1821 that a bishop was consecrated.
Pekar, 75, 78.
Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 390.
Richard Renoff, «Seminary Background and the Carpatho-Russian Celibacy Schism: A Sociological Approach,» Diakonia 10:1 (1975), 56.
See Bohdan P. Procko, «The Establishment of the Ruthenian Church in the United States, 1884–1907,» Pennsylvania History 42 (1975), 139, 143 n26, 149 n48, 150, and 152. For a source that exaggerated the number of immigrants to two to three million, see Greek Catholic Union, Opportunity Realized: The Greek Catholic Union's First One Hundred Years, 1892–1992 (Beaver, PA: Greek Catholic Union of the U.S.A., 1994), 5.
Konstantin Simon, «The First Years of Ruthenian Church Life in America,» Orientalia Christiana Periodica 60 (1994), 188.Further background information may be found in Konstantin Simon, «Before the Birth of Ecumenism the Background Relating to the Mass "Conversion of Oriental Rite Catholics to Russian Orthodoxy in the U.S.» Diakonia 20:3 (1986),128–151.
Ibid. See also Greek Catholic Union, 6–7.
See Jorgenson, 122. See also Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 389–390.
Thomas J. Shelley, «Dean Lings's Church: The Success of Ethnic Catholicism in Yonkers in the 1890 s,» Church History 65:1 (1996), 32.
Ibid., 36 n.22.
Indeed, Eastern European immigrants could occur encounter difficulties even when the immigrants were clearly Western Rite Roman Catholics. See Victor R. Greene, «For God and Country: the Origins of Slavic Catholic Self-Consciousness in America,» Church History 35:4 (1963), 446–460. Greene recounts the difficulties faced in a Polish community in Chicago and charts its division into separate parishes.
For a summary of Ireland's prejudiced views of Eastern Rite Roman Catholics, see Marvin R. O'Connell, John Ireland and the American Catholic Church (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1988), 269–271. O'Connell mentions the fallout between Ireland and Toth and notes the irony of Ireland's prejudiced dislike of Eastern Rite Catholics despite his work on behalf of African Americans.
Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 391–392. Given Simon's depiction of this reaction from Ireland, I find it odd that Simon claims Ireland «took little notice of the incident» (391).
Simon, «The First Years,» 206.
Simon, «First Years,» 192. It is worth noting that this proposed solution came in correspondence with Ryan since both bishops reacted negatively (and strongly) to Volans’kyĭ’s presence. On the Americanist controversy, see Gerald P. Fogarty The Vatican and the Americanist Crisis; Denis J. O'Connell, American Agent in Rome, 1885–1903 (Rome: Gregorian University, 1974) and Thomas Timothy McAvoy, The Americanist Heresy in Roman Catholicism, 1895–1900 (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 1963).
Ibid., especially 193–194.
Simon, «First Years,» 226.
Rusin, 134. The claim that Toth had already considered Orthodoxy is elicited from Russin’s usage of court transcripts that were, I was informed by the Luzerne county clerk, lost in a 1972 flood from Hurricane Agnes. Russin cited the transcript as Testimony: Greek Catholic Church et. al. v. Orthodox Greek Church et. al. (Court of Common Pleas, Luzerne County, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1894).
Russin, 134. Simon notes that the «Reverend Dzubay» mentioned by Toth is likely not Fr. Alexander Dzubay, the colleague of Toth’s who later became an Orthodox priest and bishop and then reverted to Roman Catholicism, which will be discussed below, but Canon Joseph Dzubay of Prešov. See Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 392 n15.
Mayer discussed a letter available in the «Slovak State Archives» from Toth to Valyĭ, dated December 16, 1889 (200–201). In this letter, Toth referred to his exchange with Ireland and listed some religious grievances experienced by the Carpatho-Rusyns in America. This letter also mentioned a previous letter dated December 5, 1889, which has been lost. It is unknown whether Toth was including a reference to this letter as well when he mentioned writing three letters. Toth claimed that following his exchange with Ivan Valyĭ and «Reverend Dzubay,» he made up his mind to follow through on something he had long considered – converting to Orthodox Christianity. See Rusin, 134. The minutes from the meeting of the clergy can be found in Kochanik, Rus» i pravoslavie v sievernoi Amerikie, 481–484. John Slivka provides an English translation in John Slivka, Historical Mirror: Sources of the Rusin and Hungarian Greek Rite Catholics in the United States of America, 1884–1963 (Brooklyn, 1978), 3–5. Slivka actually used the version Kochanik published in Svit, which he gave as: Archbishop Peter Kochanik, «Pravoslavije v Siv. Ameriki,» Svit (1920), 12–32. Simon also quotes from the Kochanik’s transcript in «The First Years.»
Some sources mistakenly place this meeting two months before Toth’s encounter with Ireland, which then prompts them erroneously to give 1890 as the year of that encounter (rather than 1889). Simon, possibly following Slivka, gave the year as 1890. See Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 393 and Slivka, 6. Fr. Nicholas Ferencz, giving a more recent summary of Toth’s encounter with Ireland and conversion gives both dates. See Nicholas Ferencz, American Orthodoxy and Parish Congregationalism (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2006). He explicitly writes 1890 (148) but then later says Toth arrived in Minneapolis in 1889 (149). Toth himself referred to the encounter with Ireland as having occurred in 1889, so the clergy meeting occurred in 1890. Alexis Toth, «The Archpriest John Naumovich as Viewed by the Uniate Viestnik» in Archpriest Alexis Toth: Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, trans, and ed., George Soldatow, Vol. 4 (Minneapolis: AARDM Press, 1988), 3.
Slivka, 4–5 and Kochanik, Rus» i pravoslavie v sievernoi Amerikie, 482–484.
Incidentally, trusteeism was not just a problem within the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches. In addition to Ferencz's work, which takes note of this, see other Catholic works, such as Terrence Murphy, "Trusteeism in Atlantic Canada: the struggle for leadership among the Irish Catholics of Halifax, St Johns, and Saint John, 1780–1850,» in Creed and Culture : the Place of English-speaking Catholics in Canadian society, 1750–1930, ed. by Terrence Murphy and Gerald J. Stortz, 126–151 (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1993) and Patrick W. Carey, People, Priests, and Prelates: Ecclesiastical Democracy and the Tensions of Trusteeism (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 1987).
Kochanik, Rus» i pravoslavie v sievernoi Amerikie, 483, Qtd. In Simon, «The First Years,» 213.
For reflections on the significance of this, see Thomas F. Sable and Nicholas Ferencz. The importance of the lay ownership of parish property and lay trusteeship in general will be discussed further below.
Qtd. in Mayer, 202.
On the point of Toth’s actions taking advantage of a situation (Carpatho-Rusyn discontent and consideration of Orthodoxy) see Brady, 132–135.
Qtd. in Mayer, 203. Mayer’s presentation corrects Simons, who had thought the report had not been authored by Toth but Mayer found the report together with his letter in the archives of the Prešov eparchy.
See Alex Simirenko, Pilgrims, Colonists, and Frontiersmen: An Ethnic Community in Transition (New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1964), 42 and Sable, 110–111. Sable mistakenly claims that Nicholas was the bishop. Vladimir was actually the bishop at the time, with Nicholas beginning his tenure in America in 1892, though he had been consecrated bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska on September 29, 1891. See Tarasar, 30–31. It should be noted that Bishop Vladimir was recalled primarily because of unresolved infighting at the cathedral in San Francisco in October of 1891. On this, see Terence Emmons, Alleged Sex and Threatened Violence: Doctor Russel, Bishop Vladimir, and the Russian in San Francisco, 1887–1892 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press,1997).
Russin, 131. Russin relied upon an account available in Very Reverend John Dzubay, ed., Diamond Jubilee Album (St. Mary’s Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota 1962), 21.
Per Carpatho-Rusyn tradition, Mlinar knew himself only as Orthodox. «They tell me I'm a Uniate; what sort of Uniate? When I never heard anything about it, I always held myself for an Orthodox Christian,» qtd. in Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 401, from Kochanik, Rus» i pravoslavie v sievernoi Amerikie, 490.
Kochanik, Rus» i pravoslavie v sievernoi Amerikie, 490. My quotation is taken from Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 401. Simon quoted (in English translation) from two sections of the letter (see pp. 397 and 401). Taken together, they amount to a translation of about half the letter and contain the most important portions. The letter is included as part of The Archpriest John Naumovich as Viewed by the Uniate Viestnik, written by Toth and available in translation in Alexis Toth, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, trans. George Soldatow. Vol. 4 (Minneapolis: AARDM Press, 1988), 9–10. An Igumen is typically the head of a monastic community, though in the Russian Orthodox tradition, the title may sometimes be given to any priest-monk for honorary purposes.
Jorgenson, 132, Russin, 135. Jorgenson notes that there is no record of how Toth and the parishioners were received, but correctly claims that likely it was through a profession of faith, without any re-ordination of Toth himself.
Russin, 135 and Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 404.
Vladimir to Toth, September 12, 1891. This letter is available (in Russian) in Kochanik, Rus» i pravoslavie v sievernoi Amerikie, 491. This letter is mentioned in secondary sources as evidence of Vladimir's respect for Toth. See Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 404–405.
See Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 406 and Tarasar, 51.
Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 407.
Russin, 140–141 and Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 410. Simon added,"Toth fails to explain how, as an acknowledged Orthodox priest, he celebrated for and presumably communicated church members who were still Uniate Catholics.» Here, Simon anachronistically presupposed his post-Vatican II experience for that of late nineteenth-century Eastern Catholics. Likely, Toth alone consumed the Eucharistic gifts of consecrated bread and wine that day. Infrequent communion by the laity was the norm at the time, not the exception.
Russin produced the petition on 141–142. The petition may also be found in «GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH et. al. v. ORTHODOX GREEK CHURCH et. al.,» Atlantic Reporter 46 (1900), 74. According to Toth himself, the sermon lasted an hour and a half. See «From the History of the Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre,» in Alexis Toth, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, trans. George Soldatow, Vol. 1 (Minneapolis: AARDM Press, 1978), 79–80.
Toth to Bishop Nicholas, August 14/26, 1896 in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1,49–50.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, December 16/28, 1896, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1, 67. The consistency of Toth’s approach whenever he described meeting with prospective converts should also caution against Constantine Simons doubt of Toth’s veracity. Though again, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania accepted Toth’s outline of the events even while ruling against him.
Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 3, 1(1–2).
Ibid., p. 3(9–10).
Ibid., p. 5 (13). Kalakuts is a derogatory term referring to a group of Slavic people in the region of Chelm (Kholm) and Podlachia (Podlasie) who accepted Roman Catholicism and adopted a Polish self-identity despite retaining their Ukrainian language. Toth claimed that the East-West divide occurred in the ninth century in other places as well. He seemed to be unaware of the 879–880 reunion council that healed the rift between Rome and Constantinople.
Ibid., 25–26 (63, 70–71).
Although Rome and the Eastern Churches did separate in 869, a reunion council in 8789–880 revoked the 869 council and healed the division. Ironically, however, the 869 council is considered the eighth ecumenical council by the Roman Catholic Church, and this likely shaped Toth’s views. Most scholars date the separation of the Roman Catholic Church from the Eastern Churches in 1054, when Cardinal Humbert, hotheaded a papal legate, slammed a bull of excommunication upon the altar of Hagia Sophia, the main Orthodox Christian temple in Constantinople. This act, brazen as it was, however, did not become the touchstone it now is until the crusades, which were truly the final rupture between the churches.
Ibid., 29 (79).
Ibid., 1–2 (6–8).
See John Douglas Strickland, The Making of Holy Russia – The Orthodox Church and Russian Nationalism Before the Revolution (Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Publications,2013). Interestingly, Nicholas Bjerring had also adopted «Orthodox patriotism.» See my article, «A Catholic, Presbyterian, and Orthodox Journey,» 64. Toth, however, did not use the imagery and culture of the Israelites to make sense of Russian history and culture, as was common amongst «Orthodox patriots.» For more on this aspect of «Orthodox patriotism,» see Daniel Rowland, «Moscow – The Third Rome or the New Israel?» The Russian Review 55 (1996), 591–614.
I assume, here, that this is likely the immediate reaction of most contemporary readers, given the secondary literature on ethnoreligiocity. See for example, Paul Mojzes, Yugoslavian Inferno: Ethnoreligious Warfare in the Balkans (New York: Continuum, 1994), where Mojzes analyzed the conflict in the Balkans and relegated religion to a secondary factor, falling in line behind nationalism. It may be worth noting, though, that even Paul Mojzes was later still willing to speak of the «specifically religious factor.» See Paul Mojzes, «The Role of Religious Leaders in Times of Conflict in Multinational and Multi-Religious Societies: A Contribution Toward Interreligious Dialogue in Macedonia,» Journal of Ecumenical Studies 39:1–2 (2002), 83.
Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 3, pp. 23(67–68). Toth used ksendzes, the Polish word for priest, here and consistently used this term as a derogatory term when discussing Roman Catholic priests. He would also make a similar maneuver by referring to Roman Catholic church buildings as kostels rather than churches.
One should not dismiss this remark by Toth as mere anti-Semitism or, more properly speaking, anti-Judaism (since Palestinian Orthodox are also Semites). Mayer provided examples of the Hungarian government using Jewish agents to undermine the Orthodox movement in Hungary in 1904. See Mayer, 138 and 140. Mayer presented these are being unexceptional, suggesting the Hungarian government had a history of paying Jews to help settle Christian religious affairs according to its liking. In one of his footnotes to his translation of Toth, Soldatow also cited some examples of Poles and Russians paying Jews to work toward their own cause. See Toth, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 3, p. 37 n. 2.
See Michael Oleksa, Orthodox Alaska: A Theology of Mission (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1998),173–174.
Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 3, p. 32(97).
A more balanced account of Kuntsevych would be that the man persecuted Orthodox Christians, but certain abuses cannot be attributed to him. For such an account, see the recent Polish work by Antoni Mironowicz, Prawoslawie I unia zapanowania Jana Kazimierza [«Orthodoxy and Union during the reign of King John Casimir»] Dissertationes Universitatis Varsoviensis 443 (Bialystok: Orthdruk, 1997). For an example of what can be verified, see the letter from the Lithuanian chancellor Leo Sapiega to Kuntsevych, dated March 12, 1622, in Alphonse Guépin, Un apotre I'union des églises au XVII siécle: Saint Josaphat et I'église Greco-Slave en Pologne et en Russie, vol. 1, Paris: the religious library of H. Oudin, 1897, supporting works, 1–10. Guépin included a second letter as well. Unfortunately, all accounts in Western languages, including that by Guépin, are panegyric in nature and heavily biased. See Theodosia Boresky, The Life of St. Josaphat Martyr of the Union, Archbishop of Polotsk, Member, Order of St. Basil the Great (NY: Comet Press, Books, 1955); Johann Looshorn, Der heilige Märtyrer Josaphat Kuncewicz, Erzbischof von Polozk (Munich: P. Zipperer’s Bookstore, 1898) and Athanasius B. Pekar, Saint Josaphat (1580–1623) (Stamford, CT: Publications of Basilian Fathers, 1967).
Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 3, p. 34. There is no corresponding Slavic text in the later 1907 version. In section seven of the 1907 version, the text is much shorter, suggesting that Toth condensed this portion.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, August 21, 1897, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 3, 67, where he says the faithful in Pottsville and Sheppton «have worked only 2–3 days a week. These work shortages will continue in places where work depends on soft coal as long as the strike continues there.» The reader, however, should not conclude that because of the dangerous work and poor pay, Slavic immigrants were completely at the mercy of larger powers and incapable of fending for themselves. On this, see Victor R. Greene, The Slavic Community on Strike: Immigrant Labor in Pennsylvania Anthracite (Notre Dame and London: Notre Dame University Press, 1968). Although acknowledging their poverty, Greene’s central purpose was to argue against mistakenly believing the Slavic immigrants had been disorganized and incapable of seeking to improve their status by unionization.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, December 28, 1896, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1, p. 74.
Mayer, 13. Amongst this second generation of Russophilists, Mayer also mentioned Aleksander Dukhnovych (1803–1865), Aleksandr Mitrak (1837–1913), Ivan Sil'vai (1838–1904), Anatolii Kralyts'kyĭ (1835–1894), Viktor Kimak (1840–1900), and Kyril Sabov (1838–1914). The two leading proponents of the Russophile movement from the generation before were Adolf Dobrians'kyĭ (1817–1901) and Ivan Rakovs'kyĭ (1815–1885). See Pekar, 102.
Toth, Alexis, Gde iskati (glyadati) pravdu? (1907), 82–91. Concerning the question of beards, Toth argues that neither Christ nor the apostles shaved themselves, nor did the great luminaries of the Church such as Moses and King David or St. Nicholas of Myra or Basil the Great (82–83). Soldatow's translation omits these supplement pages, suggesting that earlier versions of the pamphlet did not yet contain them.
Ibid., 108–112. As with the supplement sections, Soldatow's translation omits it, presumably because it did not yet exist in the version used by Soldatow.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, March 12, 1896, Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1, 17.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, March 12, 1896, Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1, 27.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, July 5/17, 1896 in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1,42.
Toth to Bishop Nicholas, December 16/28, 1896 in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1, 69. A little less than a year later, as the idea began to take shape, Toth argued that «Orthodox Galician» would not be appropriate name for such a paper, but rather Svit (Light) or Zarya (Dawn). See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, March 3/15, 1897, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 3, 66.
See «GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH et al. v. ORTHODOX GREEK CHURCH et al.,» 72–77. The Lutheran cases bearing on the Wilkes-Barre suit is described on 75.
See «GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH et al. v. ORTHODOX GREEK CHURCH et al.,» 77, where the supreme court noted, «This case has taken a very great latitude and a vast amount of testimony that was really irrelevant to the issue has gone in, and by reason of this vast amount of testimony, and by reason of the great width and breadth of the case, and of the discussion thereon, it has been dragged along for a very great length of time.»
Harvard Law Review Association, «Judicial Intervention in Disputes over the use of Church Property,» Harvard Law Review 75:6 (1962), 1154–1158.
Ibid., 1157–1158. «Yet, while most state courts professed adherence to Watson, and while judicial interference with hierarchically organized churches decreased markedly after Watson, the implied-trust doctrine persisted in most states.»
Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 411.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, March 12, 1896, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1, 17.
Simon, «Alexis Toth,» 407.
Toth recounts this in a lengthy letter to Nicholas when describing the troubles he (Toth) had had to endure from the Russians up to that point. See Toth to Nicholas, March 12, 1896, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, vol. 1, 23.
Sable discusses these on 118–122. Like Toth, Hotovitsky would later be canonized by the Orthodox Church. In his case, this was due to martyrdom by Bolsheviks. No official report of his martyrdom exists, though oral reports do. He had been spied upon and arrested several times before dying a martyr’s death due to sufferings undergone while in exile
See Sable, 122.
Willard Sunder land, «Peasant Pioneering: Russian Peasant Settlers Describe Colonization and the Eastern Frontier,1880's-1910s,» Journal of Social History 34:4 (2001), 895–922.
Toth to Bishop Nicholas, March 12, 1896, in Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1, 21.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, March 12, 1896, in Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1, 22.
Toth to Bishop Nicholas, December 10, 1897, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 4, 18.
See «Bishop Stephen (Alexander Dzubay),» in Tarasar, 132.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, December 10, 1897, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, Vol. 4, 19. Fr. Ambrose Vretta served the Russian Mission in America from1892–1896. See Oliver Herbel, «An Old World Response to a New World Situation: Greek Clergy in the Service of the Russian Mission to America,» LOGOS: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 53:3–4 (2012), forthcoming.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, December 27/January 8, 1898, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, Vol. 4, 26.
Bishop Nicholas's letter, dated January 10/22, 1896, is available in the Amerikanskiĭ Russkiĭ Viestnik, of February 13,1896 (page 2 of the Cyrillic).
Bishop Nicholas's letter is also available in Svoboda 6 (1896).
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, March 12, 1896 in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1, 20–21.
See Toth to Bishop Nicholas, December 27, 1897/January 8,1898, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Articles, and Sermons, vol.4, 25, where Toth thanks Bishop Nicholas for the award.
See «Autobiography of Father A. Toth,» taken from a church record book in Wilkes-Barre, in Soldatow, Selected Letters, Sermons, and Articles, vol. 1, 13. A palitsa, or an epigonation, is a diamond-shaped vestment piece worn by bishops and certain priests on their right side. In the Russian practice, the palitsa is awarded to priests for extensive and/or exemplary service, though in the Greek practice, it signifies a priest who may have an advanced degree and, more typically, a priest who has been blessed to hear confessions (which in the Russian/Slavic practice is assumed of all ordained priests). This award is not to be confused with the similar rectangular vestment piece called a nabedrennik, which hangs also on the right side. The nabedrennik is not utilized in the Greek tradition and in the Slavic tradition, when a priest has been awarded both, is worn on the left side. Russian bishops do not wear the nabedrennik.
See Platon, «A Wreath Upon the Grave of Mitered Archpriest Fr. Alexis Georievich Toth» («Venok na mogilu mitrofornago protoiereya o. Aleksiya Georievicha Tovta») in Amerikanskiĭ Pravoslavnyĭ Viestnik 13:10 (May 28/15, 1909), 177–182, in Soldatow, The Orthodox Church in America and other writings, 153–157.
See Amerikanskiĭ Pravoslavnyĭ Viestnik 13:10 (May 15/28,1909), 375–377. This memorial has been translated by Soldatow. See «The Bat'ko of the American Rus,» in The Orthodox Church in America and other writings by Saint Alexis, Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy in America (Minneapolis, AARDM Press, 1996), 168–169.
See «To the memory of Fr. Alexis Toth,» in The Orthodox Church in America and other writings by Saint Alexis, Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy in America (Minneapolis, AARDM Press, 1996), 164–165.
Simon, «The First Years,» 227.
For further discussions of the intra-Roman Catholic struggles and this later group of Rusyn converts, see Simon, «The First Years,» especially 215–232; Gerald P. Fogarty, "The American Hierarchy and Oriental Rite Catholics, 1890–1907,» Records of the American Catholic Historical Society 85 (1974), 17–28; and Lawrence Barriger’s, Good Victory: Metropolitan Orestes Chornock and the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Diocese, cited above, and Glory to Jesus Christ! A History of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2000).
For an overview of the difficulty Catholic immigrants faced, see Chester Gillis, «American Catholics: Neither out Far nor in Deep,» in Religion and Immigration, ed. by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith, and John L. Esposito, 33–52 (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2003).