February 22, 2016

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Closure of Worship Site in Montgomery County

Saints Cosmas and Damian Church (Conshohocken) will no longer serve as a worship site of Saint Matthew Parish (Conshohocken) and will close as a Roman Catholic Church.

Background Regarding Saints Cosmas and Damian Church

In July 2014, Saint Gertrude Parish (West Conshohocken), Saint Mary Parish (Conshohocken), and Saints Cosmas and Damian Parish (Conshohocken) merged with Saint Matthew Parish (Conshohocken) as part of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative that has been ongoing in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. At that time, each parish merged at the location and retained the name of Saint Matthew Parish.

At that time of the merger, the Saints Cosmas and Damian Church building became a worship site of the newly formed Saint Matthew Parish and was available for the occasional celebration of Mass as well as funerals and weddings as is customary whenever possible in the case of a parish merger.

Additional information regarding that merger can be found at the following link: http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/calledtoconversion2014.html.

Today’s Announcement Regarding Saints Cosmas and Damian Church

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. relegated the Saints Cosmas and Damian Church building to profane but not sordid use effective March 16, 2016. This formal, canonical designation means that the church will no longer serve as worship site and will close as a Roman Catholic Church.

This information was shared with Saint Matthew parishioners at Masses during the course of this weekend. A copy of the official canonical decree regarding this matter can be found at http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Cosmas-and-Damian-Rel.pdf.

The formal request to close this worship site originated from the pastor of Saint Matthew Parish after consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils. Both of those advisory bodies supported the request, which was then reviewed by the Archdiocesan Council of Priests and presented to Archbishop Chaput, who, after a careful review of all supporting factors, made the final decision.

Additional Background Regarding Saints Cosmas and Damian Church

The Saints Cosmas and Damian Church building, along with the now vacant rectory, which is physically attached to the church, require annual ordinary maintenance costs of approximately $42,000. That figure is exclusive of deferred maintenance. Projected deferred maintenance costs for issues on the property that must be addressed in the near future total approximately $36,500.

Saint Matthew Parish has endeavored to keep the Saints Cosmas and Damian Church complex in good repair since the merger and is currently able to meet those expenses. However, the growing pastoral needs of the parish have required a commitment to renovate space adjacent to the Saint Matthew Parish Church for pastoral, educational, and administrative purposes as well as general parish usage. The commitment to this capital project precludes the ability of the parish to further maintain Saints Cosmas and Damian Church without negatively impacting the ministries of the parish. Additionally, there have been very few requests to use Saints Cosmas and Damian Church for public worship. Those requests have declined in number since the church became a worship site of Saint Matthew Parish in July 2014.  

When Saints Cosmas and Damian and Saint Matthew Parishes merged, all real estate holdings, assets and debts of the former Saints Cosmas and Damian Parish were transferred to the newly formed Saint Matthew Parish. These transfers are standard procedure in the case of all parish mergers.

As such, the former Saints Cosmas and Damian Church building is the property of Saint Matthew Parish. The Coptic Orthodox Church has been using the Saints Cosmas and Damian Church building regularly in recent years for Sacred Worship and will continue to do so after the relegation.

The future disposition of this building will be determined by the pastor of Saint Matthew Parish in consultation with his parish pastoral and finance councils in a manner consistent with providing for continued parish viability and sustainability.

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Contact:

Bonnie Olinger
Communications Specialist
215-587-3747 (office)