St. Mary's Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church of White Plains.
St. Mary's Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church of White Plains.
Church History
St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church of White Plains, New York was incepted with the blessings and approval of H.E. Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel (1909-1995), former Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in U.S.A. and Canada, on Sunday, the 14th of January 1979 through the initiation of nine* Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox faithful led by Rev. Father John Jacob (now H.G. Yuhanon Mor Philoxinos, Metropolitan of Malabar Diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, Kerala, India). It is worthwhile to remember the hard work of our member Mr.George Kuruvilla under the guidance of Rev. Fr. John Jacob for the birth of this congregation.

His Eminence Mor Athanasius Y. Samuel celebrated the 1st Eucharist 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 (photo of the 1st service can be seen in the picture gallery) in the presence of a large gathering of faithful at Fort George Presbyterian Church Hall, 186 St. & St. Nicholas Avenue, NY, NY. On the inaugural day 18 families became members of the new church. For the first couple of months there were only two services per month conducted by Rev. Fr. John Jacob (Founder & 1st Vicar of the church) and Rev. Fr. P.M. Punnoose alternatively. During this period Rev. Fr. George P. Kocheril who wasn’t associated with any other congregation joined our church. The 1st 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. Kocheril as the new vicar, as Fr. John Jacob had to take care of his pastoral duties in his own parish at St. Gregorios Syrian Orthodox Church, Staten Island, NY. By the end of March 1979, the 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.

As desired by the members to have Holy Service every Sunday, the parish moved to the Holy Rood Episcopal Church auditorium at 179th St.& Fort Washington Ave., NY, NY on November 11,1979. Rev. Dn.David Cheruthottil joined our church and we were fortunate to have three deacons at the same time; the other two were Rev. Dn. Ezhamalil Eapen and Rev. Dn. Paulose T. Peter. Rev. Dn. David Cheruthottil 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.

We were blessed to have our Holy Father, His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, the supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, as our guest in May 1983. His Holiness celebrated the Holy Eucharist at the Inter Church Centre, NY, NY under the auspices of our parish.

On Sunday before the Christmas of 1983 the St. Mary’s congregation made a move from the 179 St. & Fort Washington Avenue location with the entirety of its founding members along with Rev.Fr. David Cheruthottil and the two Rev. Deacons. From that day onwards the parish was on a continuous move from one location to another seeking for a place for worshipping. Several members kept their residences opened for the Sunday Holy Service of their beloved parish until we found a rented Episcopal Church facility in the borough of Bronx (NY) in 1985 for a short period. In the middle of 1985 the parish moved again to a chapel at Theological Seminary, NY, NY for further convenience. 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. At present there is no Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite) Church service conducted at this location. Currently the Holy Services of Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite) Church are held at 101 Pondfield Road West, Bronxville, NY.