St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church of White Plains, New York was formed with the blessings and approval of Late Lamented H.E. Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel, former Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in U.S.A. and Canada, on Sunday, the 14th of January 1979. The Church was initiated by nine Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox faithful led by Rev. Father John Jacob (Late Lamented H.G. Yuhanon Mor Philoxinos). It is worthwhile to remember the hard work of our member Mr. George Kuruvilla under the guidance of Rev. Fr. John Jacob for the formation of this congregation.
His Eminence Mor Athanasius Samuel celebrated the first Eucharist at this Church on Jan.14, 1979 assisted by Rev. Fr. John Jacob, Rev. Fr. John Meno, Rev. Fr. P.M. Punnoose, Rev. Dn. Ezhamalil Eapen and Rev. Dn. Paulose T. Peter in the presence of a large gathering of faithful at Fort George Presbyterian Church Hall, 186 St. & St. Nicholas Avenue, New York, NY. On the inaugural day, eighteen families became members of the new church. During the initial period, the Church assembled for tworegular services per month conducted by Rev. Fr. John Jacob and Rev. Fr. P.M. Punnoose alternatively. During this period, Rev. Fr. George P. Kocheril joined the Church. The first General Body meeting of the St. Mary’s Church held on March 25th 1979, presided over by Rev. Fr. John Jacob, formally entrusted Rev. Fr. George Kocheril as the new vicar. By early spring of 1979, the Church membership grew to 25 families. A formal dedication of the church was conducted by the then Catholicose of the East, Late Lamented His Beatitude Mor Baselius Paulose II on September 9, 1979 during his visit to the United States.
To fulfill the desires of the members to have Holy Service every Sunday, the parish moved to the Holy Rood Episcopal Church auditorium at 179th St.& Fort Washington Ave., New York, NY on November 11,1979. Subsequently, Rev. Dn. David Cheruthottil joined the church. Dn. David was ordained as priest on October 7, 1982 and served as the Associate Vicar of the parish. The membership strength increased to 40 families by 1982. In May 1983, the Church was blessed by the apostolic visit by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church. His Holiness celebrated the Holy Eucharist at the Inter Church Centre, New York, NY under the auspices of our parish.
On the last Sunday of December, 1983, St. Mary’s congregation moved from the 179 St. & Fort Washington Avenue location with the entirety of its founding members along with Rev.Fr. David Cheruthottil and the Deacons. From that day onwards, the parish was on a continuous move from one location to another seeking for an ideal place of worship. Several members kept their residences opened for the services until a facility was rented at the Episcopal Church in the Bronx in 1985 for a short period. By mid-1985, the parish moved to a chapel at the Theological Seminary, New York, NY. We thankfully remember the selfless services of Very Rev. Dr. K. M. Simon, Rev. Fr. Isaac Paily and Rev. Fr. Alias Aramath to our congregation while at the Theological Seminary. We continued our church service at the Seminary chapel until we purchased our own church building at 99 Park Avenue, White Plains, NY-10603.