Parish of St Matthew the Apostle,
Douglas, Isle of Man
Name of Church and Style of Worship
The church is dedicated to St. Matthew-one of the twelve apostles of Christ, who was also one of the four evangelists. St. Matthew's Church identifies with the 'High' or 'Anglo-Catholic' tradition within the Church of England.
What is Anglo-Catholicism?
The Church of England claims to be part of the 'one Holy Catholic' Church. The word Catholic means worldwide or universal. When we claim to be a Catholic Church, we are claiming that we are part of something much bigger than just ourselves, that it is vital to seek Christian unity and we can only confidently teach and practise what has always been taught across the worldwide church.
In the aftermath of Henry VIII's break with the Roman Catholic Church in 1534, the Church of England continued to adhere to catholic doctrine. It wasn't until the reign of Henry's Son, Edward VI, that the Church of England began to incline towards Protestantism, and this shift (despite a brief return to Roman Catholicism under Queen Mary) was consolidated during the long reign of Elizabeth I.
The modern Anglo-Catholic movement began in the 1830s with the Oxford Movement, led by John Henry Newman, John Keble and Edward Pusey. Their principal idea was that Anglicanism was not a Protestant denomination, but a branch of the historic Catholic Church, conforming with Roman Catholicism as far as doctrine was concerned, whilst acknowledging its own hierarchy.
The upholding of liturgical and doctrinal tradition was-and continues to be-an important part of the movement. Active presence in the local community, for the alleviation of material and spiritual poverty, was also strongly emphasised. It is no coincidence that Anglo-Catholic churches tend to be found in poorer and more urban areas of Britain.
'High' Churches such as St. Matthew's embrace traditional catholic practices such as honouring the Blessed Virgin Mary, incense in worship, holy water stoups at the entrance to the church, and genuflection as a sign of reverence to the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Eucharist, and in particular the sung Mass on Sunday mornings, is at the heart of its common life. St. Matthew's is the only Anglo-Catholic church on the Isle of Man, and the congregation comes together from all parts of the island.