St. Mary's Church
Whittier, Los Angeles
| St. Mary's Jacobite Syrian
Orthodox Church is located in Los Angeles, California, and a parish directly
under the administration of the Patriarchate of Antioch. The church was
established in 1982 by immigrants from the state of Kerala in India. The
church has been located in Whittier since November 1993. Worship services
are held every Sunday. We welcome you to visit the church and join us in
worship services according to the ancient traditions of the Syrian Orthodox
10034 Laurel Avenue (At the intersection of Laurel & Carmenita)
From 5 South:
Take 605 North
From 5 North:
Exit on Carmenita
US Census Bureau Map showing approximate location.
(562) 946-5618 (Please call on Sundays between 11:00 am and 12:00 am) You may also contact the Vicar Fr Sabu Thomas <firstname.lastname@example.org> or Secretary Dr. Thomas Joseph <email@example.com> by email.
P.O. Box 125
Note: The schedule may vary on feast days. On certain feast days, evening prayers are held on Saturday. The services are conducted in English only on alternate Sundays.
A Brief History of the St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's church was founded in December 1982, by a handful of immigrant Syriac Christian families from Kerala, India, organized by H.G. Mor Dionysius Thomas, Metropolitan of Ankamaly (now Catholicos Mor Baselius Thomas I). Rev. Fr. George Parathuvayalil was deputed from the Anakamaly diocese to serve as the church's first Vicar. For seven years the congregation gathered every Sunday at St. Ephraim's Syrian Orthodox Church, in Hollywood. When St. Ephraim's church moved to Burbank, St. Mary's church found a temporary home in the school buildings of St. John Eudes Catholic Church, Chatsworth. During the four years that followed, Rev. Dr. Rajan Mani, served the congregation selflessly. St. Mary's church was able to publish two books—Queen of the Sacraments and the Prayer Book during this time period. In October 1992, in a miraculous turn of events, St. Mary's church, with a membership of only 15 families, was able to acquire its first building in San Fernando city. A year later, much to the disappointment of the congregation, the church was forced to move out since the property was acquired by the local school district. Rev. Fr. Sabu Thomas became the Vicar at this time. After a prolonged search, the building on Laurel Ave., Whittier, was acquired in November 1993. The church was remodelled according to the traditions of the Syrian Orthodox Church during April 1994. On May 14, 1994, His Holiness Moran Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the Prince Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, consecrated the altars of the church. It was an ecstatic moment for this congregation of 15 families—their dreams came true that day, 12 years after the church was founded. At the same time, the church became part of the then recently formed Malankara Archdiocese of North America. On March 29, 2002, His Holiness placed the Church directly under the Patriarchate but administered by the Patriarchal Vicar of the Western US Archdiocese, H.E. Mor Clemis E. Kaplan, through encyclical No. E93/02.
H.H., the Patriarch, being received by the parishioners for the consecration. May 14, 1999
H.H., the Patriarch, blessing the congregation during the consecration
H.G. Mor Dionysius Thomas
and H.G. Mor Philoxenos Yuhanon at St. Mary's
Language in the Worship Services
The St. Mary's Church conducts worship services according to the rich and ancient liturgical traditions of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Much of the liturgical works of the Church were originally written in Syriac, the Edessene dialect of Aramaic—which our Lord Jesus Christ and his disciples spoke. During the last century these works have been translated into other languages. At St. Mary's, we use English translations to the extent they are available. We are actively involved in the translation of liturgies into English. The liturgical services in the church are held in English and in Malayalam (the vernacular of the congregation members) on alternate Sundays.
Publications of St. Mary's Church
Despite being very small in numbers, the congregation of St. Mary's has contributed to fostering the liturgical traditions of the Church in the English speaking world. The church published the earliest edition of the English translation of the Holy Qurbono along with the Malayalam text in the United States and has been the lone supplier of these books to the Malankara parishes in the US. In 1991, the Church published the Queen of Sacraments, a commentary on the liturgy of the Holy Qurbono, authored by Rev. Dr. K. Mani Rajan. In 1993, the English translation of the Prayer Book, again authored by Rev. Mani Rajan was published. Since 1992, the Church has published a liturgical calendar. In July 2002, Thomas Joseph and Simon Skaria automated the generation of the liturgical calendar using Java programs producing XML files which are then transformed to any calendar format using XSLT. On April 18, 2003, the BBC Asian Network Radio broadcast a segment on the Easter celebrations at the church through an interview with SOR Web Master, Thomas Joseph.
Address enquiries to Dr. Thomas Joseph. Please note that the Service Book, which is intended for the use of laity during Holy Qurbono, is currently out of print. A new edition is under preparation. Click here for English translations of the full text of the Holy Qurbono from the book Anaphora published by late H.E. Mor Athanasius Samuel.
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|Last Update: April 18, 2003|