History of Our Church
A Journey in Christ
Since the 1960’s, a considerable number of people from India migrated and settled down in North America. The main destination points of these new immigrants were the metropolitan cities of United States. Many of them were Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Christians. They followed the Syrian Orthodox faith, maintained their distinct identity, and preserved the glorious traditions of the Syrian Orthodox Church. The first Jacobite congregation in United States was formed in 1978 at Staten Island. Then, a second congregation was formed in Manhattan with Very Rev. Dr. George P. Kocheril of Queens as the vicar along with Rev. Dn. David Cheruthottil of New Jersey.
By mid-1980’s, the Jacobite Syrian Christians in New Jersey also grew in number. With the grace of our Lord, a formal meeting to pursue the need was held on February 9th, 1986 at the residence of Mr. Abraham Mathew, in West Orange, presided by Rev. Fr. David Cheruthottil. Among the present were Mr. Alias Mathai, Mr. Mathew Thomas, Mr. & Mrs. Eapen Mathews, Mr. C. J. Paulose, and Mr. Abraham Mathew. The first church committee was formed as Mr. Abraham Mathew as the Secretary and Mr. Paulose Chennattu as the Treasurer. The meeting decided to form a Jacobite Syrian Church in New Jersey with St. George as its patron saint. Rev. Martin of United Methodist Church, Orange, New Jersey granted a place to worship in their church building at the corner of Day Street and Park Avenue, Orange, New Jersey. The inaugural service was held on February 22nd, 1986 (Patriarchal Day) by Rev. Fr. Varghese C. Pattamady with the blessings of the then Syrian Orthodox Archbishop late lamented Yes hue Mor Athanasius in the presence of Very Rev. Eapen Ezhamalil Corepiscopa, Rev. Fr. David Cheruthottil and Rev. Dn. Paulose Peter.
Rev. Fr. David Cheruthottil was encouraged by many clergy in this endeavor. Rev. Fr. Isaac Paily from Queens, Very Rev. Fr. Eapen Ezhamalil, and Rev. Fr. Punnoose Chaluvelil of Knanaya diocese played very active role in nurturing the congregation in its infant stage. In 1988, the church officially got registered as ST. GEORGE’S MALANKARA SYRIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH INC. In 1991, the church bylaws were incorporated. The church participated in the 1992 delegates meeting held in New York for the election of the Malayalee Bishop. In 1994, a standing building committee was formed for pursuing necessary actions to purchase a permanent building for the congregation. By 1998, the congregation had the good fortune to purchase the current church building at 611 Roosevelt Ave, Carteret, New Jersey, which was formerly known as St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Subsequently, the church was consecrated on May 1st, 1999. Rev. Fr. Joy John (then vicar) with his leadership and efforts did some remarkable renovation and beautification works for the church building. The church building committee, formed as Rev. Fr. Geevarghese as President, Mr. Jacob Kuriakose as Vice-President, Mr. Abraham Mathew as Secretary, and late Mr. Reju Varghese as Trustee, was the backbone for this great movement to this permanent church building. Mr.Abraham Mathew collected the highest amount of money to the church building fund and Rev. Fr. Geevarghese and Mr. Lalu Kuriakose collected the second highest amount towards the church building fund.
Though modest in stature, the parish had the good fortune to serve as the diocesan Headquarters of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Diocese of North America from January 2002. Archbishop H.E. Mathews Mor Ivanios Mathews from March 2002 to December 2003 and from January 2004 Archbishop H.E. Yeldho Mor Titus were residents of this parish. The Holy Relic of Parumala Mor Gregorios Thirumeni was installed in the church on October 26th, 2002 by H.B. Mar Baselios Thomas 1st in the presence of Archbishop H.E. Mor Ivanios Mathews. The Parish remains as the home of many visiting bishops and priests of the Syrian Orthodox Church and a destination place of worship for the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Christian faithful in and around New Jersey. The church was blessed to conduct a ‘Kalkazhukal Sushrusha’ in the presence of a large number of faithful people from Tri State in the year 2000.
The church was blessed to have Rev. Fr. David Chruthottil to be elevated to the rank of Corepiscopa and decorated Mr. James John with Chevalier position by H.H. Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas in 2008. The elevation and Chevalier decoration ceremonies were held at St. Peter’s Church, PA on September 27, 2008 in the presence of a large number of faithful members from all our sister churches in the Tri State. In the year 2010, Mr. Abraham Mathew was decorated with Chevalier position by H.H. Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. The Chevalier Decoration ceremony was conducted in a meeting in the church after Holy Qurbana presided by H.E. Yeldho Mor Titus in the presence of a large number of faithful members and friends from Tri State. The church will be celebrating its Silver Jubilee in the year 2011. Silver Jubilee committee is working hard to make this event a memorable and blessed one. Our church remains in full allegiance and indebted to the spiritual guidance and leadership of our Patriarch of Antioch and All The East, H.H. Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, H.B. Baselius Thomas I, Catholicose of the East, and H.E. Yeldho Mor Theethos, Archbishop of our Diocese.
During the period of these 25 years, the following clergymen served the church as vicars for different periods. The church members are extending their sincere love and affection to these priests who helped to grow the church spiritually.
His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East
His Eminence Mor Titus Yeldho, Archbishop
Very Rev. Fr. David Cheruthottil Corepiscopo (current Asst. Vicar)
Very Rev. Fr. Issac Paily Corepiscopo
Very Rev. Fr. Geevarghese Puthoorkudilil Corepiscopo
Very Rev. Fr. Eapen Ezhamalil Corepiscopo
Rev. Fr. Paulose Peter
Rev. Fr. Joy John
Rev. Fr. Rajan Peter
Rev. Dr. Varghese Manikkatt
Rev. Dr. George Paily
Rev. Fr. Viju Abraham Thadathiparambil
Rev. Fr. Varghese Paul
Rev. Fr. Joel Jacob
Our church thank God Almighty for guiding us in all our initiatives and activities throughout these past years and we all pray Him to shower His blessings abundantly on all of us in serving Him according to His Will with praise and worship.