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St. Edmond

Status: Active, Roman Catholic 

Founded: 1912

21st Street & Snyder Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19145

Visit its website

Original visit: September 30, 2007



Where Is It?

21st and Snyder, right near St. Monica.


The Skinny

St. Edmond is notable because it is the first entirely  brick church we’ve seen. By brick, I mean the classic red-brick-and-white-mortar type. You see buildings like that all the time. But a church? Now that’s something special. And St. Edmond is special, but not as much as I had hoped.

Let’s be clear. That brick is really something. It’s unique and eye-catching, and the sheer red hues of the place are pretty damn cool. The problem is that the inside doesn’t really match up. Sure, it’s pretty enough, with tan, gold and pink plaster, stout pillars and a uniquely crazy roof comprised of countless honeycomb patterns.

Even the altar does something we’ve haven’t seen — it goes for a three dimensional effect by placing statues in front of a panoramic painting of Golgatha, the place of Jesus’ crucifixion. As far as effects go, it’s not Hollywood, but it’s a valiant attempt.

Still, I can’t shake the disappointment. There’s nothing here that’s really bad, but nothing that really stands out, either. I think the problem is that the interior in no way matches the exterior. With the awesome, creepy and mysterious red-brick exterior, I guess I was expecting something that kept the same vibe. Oh well.


How's It Doing?

Meh. There's not much here that seems worrisome, although the 300-ish average attendance is not a good harbinger for the future.


Travel Tidbits

South Philly bites because all of the thoroughfares there absolutely suck. If you live in the area, don't worry. If not, well, how badly do you want to come here?

You're a little too close to Point Breeze for my tastes, but I encountered no issues dealing with the church itself. Don't wander too far north, however.


Interesting Note

The Italians love their statuary, because Edmond, like the other South Philly parishes, has statues in abundance. Big ones, little ones, stone ones, plastic ones. The whole gamut.

Parishoners touch them respectfully, even possessively. It's a puzzling, weird fixation. I'm not judging, just observing; I've never seen any group so obsessed with religious statues. If you go, don’t dress like a religious figure. They may never let you leave.


Image Gallery


The Final Word

A surprisingly mediocre entry. You could probably just use the exterior shots I’ve taken and save yourself the trouble of actually having to go in person