St. Mary’s Orthodox Church was established in 1982. Priest Kuriakos Thottupuram, its founder, was appointed pastor of the new church. His nephew, Priest Cherian Kunnel assisted him until he was appointed the pastor of a new congregation in Oklahoma City.
Sunoj Achen (Rev.Fr. Alexander Oommen) was the Assistant Vicar from July 25th 2005 till May 31st 2010.
Rev Fr. Abi Chacko is the new Vicar of our Church.
The primary mission of this church was spiritual nourishment of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Christians who had not maintained membership in any other churches in Chicago. Most of those people were Priest Thottupuram’s former parishioners at St. Thomas Orthodox Church, which he had founded and pastored until July 1980. The parish initially had only fifteen families.
The Church building has a main sanctuary that has a pew capacity to accommodate more than 300 worshippers on the second floor of the main building. The temple is adorned with beautiful Orthodox icons. To signify that the foundations of the Church are on the twelve apostles and their priestly ministry entrusted to them by Christ, there are six icons of the Holy Apostles on each of the two sidewalls of the Church. On the walls in front of the main sanctuary you will see the shrine of the St. Mary and of St. Thomas and St. Jude Thaddeus. The icon of the Mother of God carrying the Incarnate God is an unusually inspiring piece of art with indescribable charm. On the same wall the icon of the St. Mary is escorted by those of St. Gregorios of Parumala (India) and St. Michael the Archangel. The Indian Syrians are more attached to St. Gregorios because of his proximity to our current generation and his singular holiness witnessed by a recent generation. St. Michael, who fiercely fought against Lucifer, signifies the subjugation of the evil one by all Christians to please God and enter His Kingdom. The other wall on the right, in front of the main sanctuary, maintains a shrine of St. Thomas, the Apostle of India, and Apostle St. Jude, who is believed to be the patron of hopeless cases.
The wall behind the main altar carries a large icon of the Transfiguration of our Lord. This icon has greater significance in Eastern theology. Two great prophets, Moses and Elijah, were present at the glorious transfiguration of the Lord, as Son of God and the Incarnate Word. This is the most mystery-filled occasion in the earthly life of the Lord after His resurrection. The Syriac Liturgy starts with an invocation to St. Mary and St. John the Baptist, who are more revered in the east than any other saints. They were chosen by God to be participants in the act of redemption. Their icons hang on each side of the main larger icon of the Transfigured of the Lord.
As you enter the Church, and before you move towards the pews, there is a lectern each on the side of men and on the side of ladies. Each lectern holds a bible and an icon. Upon entering the Church, the worshipper bows before them and kisses them and starts his introductory prayer in the Church. Like St. Mary’s, there are very few Malankara Orthodox Churches in the world with such powerful symbolisms that place themselves as windows to heaven directing the believer heavenward.
The first floor of the main church building is a large hall for socialization, it could be used for wedding receptions, or such church related parties. It also has a fairly large kitchen to cook adequate amount of food for our church family.
Our church complex also includes a two-storey school building and rectory for
the pastor to live in. The school building has a large hall on the second
floor with capacity to accommodate about 200 persons in meetings or worship
services. There are also larger classrooms and library facilities on the
second floor. The first floor of the school building has large halls and
classrooms. The rectory is a two-bedroom facility with a spacious living
room and a large kitchen which is currently accommodating our Assistant
The entire church complex, within a residential neighborhood, is on a corner lot covering more than an acre of land surrounded by drivable alleys on two sides and main streets (Oak Park and 96th Street) on the other two sides.
St. Mary’s is a beautiful church in a beautiful suburb of Chicago. Our worship on the last Sunday of every month is in the English language.
WE INVITE YOU TO WORSHIP WITH US ON EVERY SUNDAY.
W. 96th Street
Lawn, Illinois 60453