H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews III, The Ninth Catholicos of the East in Malankara
His Grace Thomas Mar Ivanios Metropolitan
St. Mary’s Orthodox Church is a parish of the South-West American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India. The Parish was established in 1982, in Chicago, Illinois and then later on moved to Park Ridge. The parish began as a small extension of the St. Thomas Orthodox Church Community founded by The Very Rev. Kuriakos Thottupuram, Cor-Episcopos, its first vicar. His nephew, Rev. Fr. Cherian Kunnel assisted him until he was appointed the vicar of a new congregation in Oklahoma City. Rev.Fr. Sunoj Malayil Oommen was appointed the Assistant Vicar from 2005 until 2010. Rev. Fr. Abi Chacko was appointed to serve as the Church's second Vicar since June 2010 until July 2021. Currently, Rev. Fr. Thomas Mathew has been serving as the Vicar since August 2021.
Over the history of the St. Mary's parish we have continued to see the faithfulness of our Lord and God. In 2001 the church moved to its present location in Oaklawn, Illinois. The purchase of this building is a true testament to the hard work and prayers of the founding Vicar, and all the faithful of the St. Mary's Parish Community.
The Church complex consists of two buildings; the Church and a Sunday School building with an attached parsonage. The Church Sanctuary is adorned with beautiful Orthodox iconography signifying the foundations of the Church; The twelve icons of the Holy Apostles, the shrines of St. Mary and St. Thomas with altars, St. Jude Thaddeus, St. Gregorios of Parumala (India), St. George, and Transfiguration of our Lord to name a few. The newest addition inside the sanctuary is a shrine in the back of the Church consisting of the large Icon of the Life of St. Mary with the Holy Archangels Sts. Michael and Gabriel on either side.
St . Mary's Church has a very vibrant, active and spiritual parish life. The Sunday School, ranging from nursery to senior class continues to mold and grow our children in the faith and traditions of the Holy Orthodox Church having regular exams, talents shows and competitions. The St. Mary's youth fellowship consisting of members 13 years old and above holds regular meetings with bible studies and social fellowships. In addition our families join together for monthly prayer meeting, outings such as three day Parish Retreat, Bulls Game, and family Night. As the Psalmist says "how lovely it is for brethren to dwell together in Unity. Extending beyond the parish, the St. Mary's family comes together to participate in the area, regional, and diocesan level programs such as OVBS, MGOCSM, MMVS, FOCUS, and Midwest Regional Family and Youth Conference. This allows for our parish to join in fellowship with sister parishes on an on-going basis. In addition to Church programs, the members of the St. Mary's Orthodox Church are prominent and active leaders and participants in ecumenical and cultural programs in the Chicago-land area .
The parish continues to grow as a place of worship that welcomes the community, and witnesses the love of Christ to all those who seek the intersession of St. Mary the Mother of God. Being the only Malankara Orthodox Church dedicated to St. Mary in the Chicago area we have worked hard to develop and maintain a welcoming atmosphere. We thank our Heavenly Father for his abundant blessings and faithfulness, May His Name be blessed.