St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in St. Louis may join Episcopal diocese

Photo: by Huy Mach

Details from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 

It has stood up to three Catholic bishops. It has weathered a decade-long legal storm. It has embraced doctrine far afield from its Roman roots.

Now St. Stanislaus Kostka Church is on the verge of aligning with a different denomination entirely, joining forces with the Episcopal church.

Bishop George Wayne Smith, who leads the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, posted a letter to clergy on the diocese’s website over the weekend telling them that St. Stanislaus Kostka Church may be “coming into union” with the diocese.

Under such an arrangement, Smith said the historically Polish church would have the flexibility to retain its own rites, even as it comes under the wing of the Episcopal church.

“I know that given St. Stanislaus’ rich heritage, the ability to retain their cherished Polish identity, along with practices and rites are surely an important matter,” Smith wrote in his letter. “Alternately of course, St. Stanislaus could also choose any or all the liturgies available to the Episcopal Church.”

In February, the St. Louis Archdiocese dismissed its appeal of a 2012 St. Louis Circuit Court decision handing over control of St. Stanislaus, at 1413 North 20th Street, to its own lay board, and ending a decade-long legal battle between the church and the archdiocese.

As part of the agreement, St. Stanislaus agreed to abstain from representing itself as affiliated with the Roman Catholic church. In the eyes of the Vatican, the church lost that affiliation in 2005, as part of a battle with then-St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke.

The Rev. Marek Bozek, the former Roman Catholic priest who has led St. Stanislaus since parishioners hired him in 2005, in violation of Roman Catholic canon law, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

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