They’d been there, in a quiet spot along the back wall of Victoria’s St. Matthias Anglican Church, for decades ”” possibly since the parish opened the doors of its new home in the B.C. capital nearly 50 years ago.
But two elegantly designed wooden armchairs, their origin unknown to clergy or even the eldest members of the congregation, may prove to be the salvation of the financially-challenged church ”” nothing less than a “godsend,” according to St. Matthias’s rector, Rev. Robert Arril.
An antique-furniture buff’s fortuitous visit to the church two years ago for a Bible study session has led to the identification of the chairs as rare and valuable Qing dynasty treasures, expertly crafted in 17th-century China before making their way somehow ”” thanks to a long-forgotten donor evidently unaware of their significance ”” to the Vancouver Island parish.