A Self Guided Tour of St. Matthias Church in Ridgewood
Sometimes St. Matthias opened it’s doors to the public for self-guided tours in the building. This usually happens in late spring.
Scans of the guide detailing the inside of the church are below. You can also download the PDF of the tour here. Sorry if the scan isn’t as good, but it should inspire you to check out the Church’s interior for yourself.
St. Matthias Church
58-15 Catalpa Ave.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Ridgewood Social would like to thank Tom Kearns for giving us such a detailed tour of the beautiful space and providing the informative text from the pamphlet below. View the chart visuals for detailed information about the artwork inside the church below as well:
On May 2, 1908, Bishop Charles E. McDonnell of the Diocese of Brooklyn, desired to establish a Catholic parish for the Evergreen and Ridgewood sections of Long Island.
He appointed Nicholas M. Wagner as the first Pastor of St. Matthias R.C. Church. For the first time on Sunday, August 30th in 1908, Holy Mass offered within the parish boundaries.
Father Wagner negotiated the purchase of twenty lots on Elm Avenue from the Meyerose Estate. It is now called Catalpa Avenue. The ground then known as Ridgewood Park would soon become the Myrtle and Seneca Avenues. On March 19th, the ground was broken on the new property and the first Church and School of St. Matthias was built. It is now called St. Matthias School.
After World War I, the ground was broken for a new church building and then a basement church was completed in August of 1919. The next few years were spent raising funds for the construction of the current superstructure, and the cornerstone of the current St. Matthias Church building was laid on October 5th, 1924.
The building was designed to teach the faith through visual story-telling. The architect made use of murals, shrines, and stained glass windows to depict various Catholic themes and imagery. The resulting structure was inspired by Italian Renaissance Revival with the church’s clock tower riseing 150 feet to the top of the cross. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
The plans were designed by Brooklynite, Frances J. Berlenbach. He was an expert in ecclesiastic architecture. You can view one of his first designs in Brooklyn. It is a Queen Ann-style house located at 174 Meserole Street in Brooklyn. It was owned by his father and is also a historic landmark.
The scheme of the church was based on the Church of St. Matthias, or Matthiaskirche, near Treves, Germany. The traits of Renaissance Style-rounded arches, Corinthian columns and pilasters, and classical pediments can be identified throughout both the interior and exterior of the church.
Elements were inspired by 16th-century church architecture and were a popular style during the early 1900’s. The extensive use of marble in the sanctuary and gold leaf throughout the church is baroque-influenced. It was very popular in Germany and Austria in the 17th Century. The stained glass windows were made by Franz Mayer Studios in Munich, Bavaria.