.- A Russian prince who left his wealth behind to come to America and be one of the first priests ordained in the United States has received his first nod from the Vatican on his road to sainthood. The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints has named Fr. Demetrius Gallitzin a Servant of God, announced Bishop Joseph Adamec of Altoona-Johnstown on Monday.
Fr. Gallitzin left Europe at age 29 and entered a Baltimore monastery in 1795. After his ordination, he used his inherited wealth to buy part of what is current-day Loretto, and to build sawmills, gristmills, tanneries, a church and a farm.
Fr. Gallitzin is also known as the "Apostle of the Alleghenies" for bringing Catholicism to south-central Pennsylvania, reported the Associated Press. He died in 1840 of a strangulated hernia related to a fall from a horse years earlier.
Bishop Adamec has asked Catholics to submit any information about Fr. Gallitzin to the diocese and to report any favors received as a result of Fr. Gallitzin’s intercession. A miracle is necessary for his beatification.