SS. Cosmas and Damian
Status: Worship site, Roman Catholic
5th Avenue and Maple Street
Conshohocken, PA 19428
Original visit: April 12, 2009
Where Is It?
5th Avenue and Maple Street, in Conshohocken!
Easter Sunday! Not just a day to dress up and overload on chocolate, but also a day to celebrate the holiest time on the Christian calendar. Naturally, the Project would need to be a star performer. Right?
Well, sort of. I actually almost didn’t haul the Project out of dry-dock this week. But a friend of a friend lives across the street from SS. Cosmas and Damian in Conshohocken, and he simply insisted that it needed to be covered.
Not that I needed a lot of encouragement, but Cosmas and Damian, on first glance, isn’t exactly a building that gets the Project’s heart racing. It even sort of reminded me of Mother of Divine Grace. You can only imagine the awful flashbacks that ensued!
Still, I’m nothing if not a good friend, so I gave it a go.
And you know what? Cosmas and Damian is actually a decent church — much nicer than you’d expect from the outside. Certainly, the St. Athanasius Effect at work. What you get is a non-columned, non-cruciform Gothic design that’s highlighted by an A-frame roof completely covered in murals. We’ve seen complex mural work before, but nothing that covers the entire expanse of a church’s roof. Sure, it uses wooden beams, and some of the depictions are a little creepy, but on the whole it’s pretty remarkable.
That’s really the star here, as the remaining ornaments, aside from the decent marble altar and organ, aren’t particularly noteworthy. Plus, the size is way too squat — more so than even shrimpy Our Lady of Lourdes, which I didn’t even think was possible.
Look for it: Petite angel holy water fonts, just like Our Lady of Lourdes.
Still, it all works pretty well, and is certainly much better than I expected. Not a great church, architecturally, but it has enough surprises to be worth a look.
How's It Doing?
Despite a robust Italian history, Cosmas and Damian's story ended in 2014, when the Archdiocese took the long-expected action of consolidating all of the Conshohocken parishes into St. Matthew. The building will remain in use as a worship site, but no matter how many of the "right things" you hear from leadership in the here and now, just remember: It won't last.
See St. Matthew. Everything I said there applies here as well. (It should, since the churches are only 3 blocks apart.)
Cosmas and Damian has no lot, but street parking is plentiful.
The aforementioned ceiling mural was actually painted by a parishioner. He’s still living, and continues to touch it up on a periodic basis.
The Final Word
Won’t blow you away, but won’t disappoint, either.