ʺAnd remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20)
Although the face of the Diocese of Montreal has changed a great deal since it was founded almost 200 years ago, Christ remains the same, yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). Through our archives, we are able to see the tangible evidence of the ever active Presence of Jesus Christ among his people.
As our Blessed Pope Paul VI liked to say, the bits and pieces of paper that make up the archives are echoes and traces of the passage of the Lord Jesus in the world. They are pages of our history, a witness to Christ’s action through the centuries in thousands of men and women who lived here.
Moreover, as with biblical stories, our archival documents witness the journey taken by God’s people who lived here. These documents reveal a people’s journey of faith, at times close to God, at other times more distant. In this way, archives become a multi-faceted mirror reflecting many self-images back to the local Church, helping Her to question and renew Herself. The archives are also the mirror of Montreal and Quebec society, where our faith history and quest for God can be found. In summary, our archives weave together the storyline of our sacred history.
Mandements, pastoral letters, circular letters and other documents
In collaboration with the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Quebec, the 30 volumes of mandements, pastoral letters, circular letters and other documents published by the Diocese of Montreal since its beginnings have been available online since 2017. The documents which are full of information on the history of our diocese are available here.
Each year, our department of archives answers more than 200 requests from university researchers, students, journalists and history buffs seeking information. This is our way of supporting the writing of numerous publications which enable those who are interested to better understand the instrumental role that the Catholic Church has played in our history (until the 1960s). A non-exhaustive bibliography of these publications is available by clicking here. (to come).
If you have published something recently that makes reference to one or several documents in our archives, please let us know!
The Archives of the Archdiocese of Montreal hold historical documents spanning more than four centuries of history. Items dating back to the French Regime (1642-1760) can be found here. In fact, our oldest document dates back to 1648, a mere six years after the founding of Ville Marie (Montreal). Our collections include writings and correspondence from our bishops and priests concerning the administration of the Diocese. We also find a wide array of correspondence with the Holy See (Vatican, Rome), several dioceses on the five continents, many religious communities, different levels of government and exchanges with the heads of educational, charitable and social institutions. These documents bear witness to the role of the Catholic Church of Montreal and to the political, cultural and social history of our country.
Our archives also hold some fonds of photos, maps and plans, travel journals, religious images and all the back issues of the Revue diocésaine published without interruption from 1883 to 2006.
You may download our general inventory by clicking here. (to come)
Attention: Please note that it is not possible to search the church records in person. These records are available on the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec website. (In French only)
Our archives are private, in other words they are financed through donations from the public and by researchers. The donations received enable the processing of our archival holdings, and ensure their conservation and their dissemination.
The archives department of the Church of Montreal wishes to sincerely thank all the generous donors who make it possible to continue its historical mission. If you wish to lend financial support to this mission:
Do you believe that you may be in possession of old documents or photographs that bear witness to the life of the Catholic Church in the diocese of Montreal? Our archives regularly acquire private fonds! We invite you to contact us to find out more about our acquisition process.
Please note that the diocesan archives are open to the public and to researchers by appointment only, and that our offices are closed on Mondays.
For research or consultation requests, please contact us at the following address:
Archives of the Archdiocese of Montreal
2000, Sherbrooke St. West
(514) 925-4300 ext. 236