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St Matthew's—the East End's own defiant story of Christmas

PUBLISHED: 11:07 24 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:54 05 October 2010

Carols by candlelight at St Matthew's

Carols by candlelight at St Matthew's

AN HISTORIC church in London's East End that took a battering during the Blitz made the perfect setting for traditional Christmas Story at the weekend. St Matthew's, the mother church' of the ancient parish of Bethnal Green, was packed for its traditional annual carols by candlelight' service

AN HISTORIC church in London’s East End that took a battering during the Blitz made the perfect setting for traditional Christmas Story at the weekend.

St Matthew’s, the mother church’ of the ancient parish of Bethnal Green, was packed for its traditional annual carols by candlelight’ service, which was followed by mulled wine and mince pies for the congregation.

The church is an iconic landmark in St Matthew’s Row, off Bethnal Green Road, that symbolised London’s defiance during the bombing nearly seven decades ago when it was hit in an air raid.

St Matthew’s rose again from the ashes in the post-war years when it was rebuilt.

The refusal to be beaten symbolised the Christmas Story 2,000 years ago when a pregnant young woman gave birth in a stable because there was no room at the inn.

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