Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Carpatho-Rusyn Saint Alexis Toth

Holy Father & Confessor Alexis of Wilkes-Barre - Father Alexis (Georgievich Toth) of Wilkes-Barre was a missionary priest, sent from his homeland in (Eperjes, now Presov in Zepes county) Slovakia as a Uniate, who, in order to serve and protect his flock in the United States in a hostile Latin environment, recognized the need to lead them in a return to their Orthodox Christian heritage. His feast day is celebrated on May 7th.

By this action Father Alexis Toth gained the distinction of being the first Uniate Greek Rite Catholic priest in America to lead his people in reunion with the Orthodox Church. Having been sent originally to America to be a missionary to the immigrants, Father Alexis, in his new role, was to fulfill his destiny as the missionary leading his people back to the Orthodox Church.

In December 1892 he evangelized the immigrants in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, preaching and enlightening them about their social and religious future in America. In 1902, he received the parish of St. John the Baptist in Mayfield, Pennsylvania, into the Orthodox fold. Elevated to the rank of protopresbyter, he was in the forefront, over the years until his death, of receiving parishes from the Unia into Orthodoxy. Through his efforts over 20,000 Carpatho-Russian and Galician uniates were re-united with the Orthodox Church.