An inclusive Parish Community in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Anglican Church.
Saint Matthias, Bellwoods
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Saint Matthias line drawing





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It all started when ...

Saint Matthias circa 1885

The plans for the parish of St. Matthias were formed on February 25 (The day after St. Matthias Day, in fact), 1873. The cornerstone of the church was laid on August 30, 1873 on the then Strachan Street -- now Bellwoods Avenue -- and the church opened for worship on January 4, 1874.

The parish boundaries have changed over the years, but the original parish was said to be quite extensive. According to documents in the Diocesan Archives, it extended from College to Wellington, and from Palmerston and Tecumseth to Shaw.

From early on, St. Matthias used many of the ceremonies associated with "Anglo-Catholicism" (see below for the Webster's definition), in fact, "St. Matthias is said to be the first Anglican church in Toronto to enjoy all these adjuncts to worship". We enjoy many of these in our services to this day. Our choral mass is beautiful but simple liturgy, accompanied by traditional music, and continuing the traditional use of candles, incense, the sprinkling of holy water, a vested choir and servers at the alter.

"History of St Matthias' Church" by Roland F. Palmer, S.S.J.E.
Eleanor Emmel
David Thomas

(Betty Breckon, from the Toronto Star, undated)
It was a little church
And dim,
Yet there was room enough
For Him.
Few people came within
To pray, But those that did..
Were wont to stay.

There was an altar
Carved and old,
Upon which stood a cross of gold.
And incense, sweetly
Perfumed, rose
From weary hearts
That found repose.

A priest who knelt
And prayed for all,
His love encompassed
Great and small.
He never asked
Your sins or creed,
He was your friend
in time of need.

A little church
With wooden door,
Where each was welcome
Rich or poor.
And tho' 'twas
on a small side street,
God found its shadows
Cool and sweet.

For those who wish to know ... the official Webster's definition of Anglo-Catholicism is:

'The beliefs of those members of the Anglican Communion who hold that the Reformation did not involve a change of doctrine or Church government in the Church of England, that the Anglican episcopate is in direct descent from the apostles, and that its faith is the faith accepted by all Catholics as revealed truth.'

There. Did that help?