Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Alexis, Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy in America.
Saint Alexis was born on March 18, 1854 in Eperjes (now Prešov) in Šariš Zepes county in the Kingdom of Hungary. into a poor Carpatho-Russian family. This region is now in Slovakia. This was during the reign of Franz-Joseph Hapsburg. Like many others in the kingdom, the Toths were Eastern Rite Catholics.
Saint Alexis received an excellent education and knew several languages (Carpatho-Russian, Hungarian, Russian, German, Latin, and a reading knowledge of Greek). He married Rosalie Mihalich, a priest’s daughter, and was ordained on April 18, 1878 to serve as second priest in a Uniate parish
In October 1889 Saint Alexis was appointed to serve as pastor of a Uniate parish in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Just a few years later in 1891 Father Toth and his churchwarden, Paul Podany, made the journey to San Francisco, the see of the Diocese of the Aleutians and Alaska, to meet with Bishop Vladimir, Archbishop of the Aleutians and Alaska to discuss the reception of Saint Mary Church into the Orthodox Church.
Later that year, on the feast of the Annunciation, His Grace Bishop Vladimir traveled to Minneapolis to receive Father Toth and 361 parishioners into the Orthodox Church of their ancestors. The parishioners regarded this event as a new Triumph of Orthodoxy, crying out with joy: “Glory to God for His great mercy!”
Bishops Vladimir, Nicholas, Saint Tikhon, and Platon recognized the special gifts of Father Toth, so they often sent him forth to preach and teach wherever there were people of Slavic background. Even though he was aware of his shortcomings and inadequacies, yet he was obedient to the instructions of the bishops. He did not hesitate or make excuses, but went immediately to fulfill his mission.
On March 31, 1994, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America to number the ever-memorable Archpriest Alexis Toth among the saints for veneration by the faithful, and that his feast be celebrated on May 7, the day of his blessed repose, and on the Feast of All Saints
of North America-Second Sunday after Pentecost.
- Read more about the life of Saint Alexis, view photos and download music for the feast
- Read a reflection about Saint Alexis
The Proclamation of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America on the Glorification of the Holy and Righteous Archpriest Alexis Toth
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
To the beloved priests, deacons, monastics and faithful flock of the Orthodox Church in America
March 31, 1994
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. Amen
The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, having reviewed the recommendations of the Canonization Commission, agreed at its session of March 29-April 1, 1994 to number the ever-memorable Archpriest Alexis Toth among the saints for veneration by the faithful. Mindful of the apostolic injunction to “remember your leaders” (Heb. 13:7), we give thanks to God for His great mercy toward us in raising up in our midst a faithful pastor filled with zeal for the glory of God, and for the salvation of his own people. The return of Archpriest Alexis Toth to the Orthodox Faith of his forefathers is a milestone in the history of the Orthodox Church in North America. The missionary labors of Archpriest Alexis Toth, his steadfastness and his leadership in bringing thousands of souls back to the Orthodox Church, manifested by his words and deeds among his own Carpatho-Russian and Galician people in America, offer significant guidance and direction for the missionary outreach of the Orthodox Churches today, many of which are now encountering adverse conditions similar to those he experienced.
Thus, with one mind and one heart we resolve:
- That Father Alexis Toth be numbered among the saints.
- That his honorable remains be considered as holy relics.
- That a special service be composed in his honor.
- That his feast be celebrated on May 7, the day of his blessed repose, and on the Feast of All Saints of North America-Second Sunday after Pentecost.
- That holy icons be prepared to honor the newly-glorified saint accordL1g to the canon:; of the Seventh Ecumenical Council.
- That his life be published for the edification of the faithful.
- That the name of the new saint be made known to the primates of all sister Churches for inclusion in their calendars.
- That his glorification take place on May 29-30, 1994 at St. Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania.
We summon the faithful to remember him at Memorial services or Litanies for the departed when appropriate until the time of his glorification.
Through the prayers of His newly-glorified saint, may the Lord grant His mercy and blessing, to all who seek his heavenly intercession with faith and love. Amen.
Holy Father Alexis, Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy in America, Pray for us!