In the early nineteen seventies, a few Malankara Orthodox Christian families who came to the Metropolitan-Detroit area chasing their dreams brought with them also an idea to have a place to worship the Lord in the Malankara Orthodox way. The “mustard seed” that sprouted in their minds started the origin of the St. Thomas Orthodox Church of India, Detroit, Michigan. They formed a congregation and arranged prayer meetings at their homes. Later they decided to bring priests to celebrate the Holy Qurbana. As a result of this initiative, they were able to obtain the services and spiritual guidance of the late Very Rev. Fr. Thomas P. Mundukuzhy Corepiscopa, Very Rev. Yohannan Sankarathil Corepiscopa, Rev Fr. M.T Philip, Rev. Fr. Dr. M.K. Thomas, and Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Kurian Thottupuram, Rev. Fr. T.M. Zachariah and Rev. Fr. P.K. Mathew. Their services are remembered with deep respect and sincere thanks. The congregation commenced services at Cass Methodist Church in Detroit. The guidance and efforts of Rev. Fr. Yohanan Sankarathil Corepiscopa in helping us to form a parish of our own are praise worthy. The arrival of Rev. Fr. MT Philip (then Deacon M.T. Philip) to Detroit was a great blessing to our congregation. Since then Fr. M.T. Philip helped our congregation in its spiritual growth until he moved to Houston.
On April 9, 1978 the late His Grace Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios, Rev Fr. Philip Jacob and Rev. Fr. Dr. M.E. Idiculla visited our congregation and celebrated the Holy Qurbana at the facilities of the Cass Methodist Church in Detroit. The late His Grace Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios declared our congregation, St. Thomas Orthodox Church of India, Detroit, as a parish of the American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and appointed Rev. Fr. Philip Jacob as the Vicar of the parish. Later we moved to Trinity Episcopal Church, Detroit for conducting our services.
As our parish members grew in numbers, an ambition to have our own church building started developing. A building committee was formed in the year 1984 and a five year plan was implemented for raising funds for the church. Funds were raised through contributions, conducting raffles, and holding entertainment programs. Our youth, Martha Mariam Samajam, and our friends generously contributed towards this cause. By the grace of God, on September 26, 1990 we were able to sign the deed for the Apostolic Faith Temple church in Southfield, Michigan. A great deal of effort was put by our members in renovating the church building and modifying it to the way suitable to our traditions.
On November 3, 1991, the late His Grace Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios conducted consecration ceremony of the church. Since then the new church has provided the congregation with a facility not only to worship, but also to hold cultural and spiritual events. Some of these activities include Malayalam classes, retreats, and youth days. Prayer meetings continued as well as weekly Sunday school classes. The Sunday school has grown over the years thanks to the hard work of our dedicated teachers, supportive parents and enthusiastic students.
Our church has also been an active participant in the ecumenical programs held in the metropolitan area. In 2000, the first MGOCSM chapter was established bringing our youth closer together and since then they are extremely active in church and charitable activities.
We celebrated the Silver Jubilee of our church on June 2003. We had Holy Qurbana and a public meeting with many distinguished guests from Michigan as well as from out of state. Our children presented a colorful entertainment program.
As years passed, the parish blossomed under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Philip Jacob and new members were added to the church. As a result of this, the existing church building was not adequate to accommodate all the members and their activities. So we decided to have a larger church building and a new building committee was formed. After looking into several churches, as well as conducting a detailed study into the possibility of building a church, we decided to purchase The Holy Trinity Seminary with 38,000 square feet building on 5 acres of land in Warren, Michigan in 2006. This facility consists of a chapel, gym and many class rooms.
Our church members once again demonstrated their commitment to the church by working collaboratively to renovate the facility to our needs. Our plan was to build a new church attached to the existing building to accommodate our growing members. The general body decided to build a new church building with Malankara Orthodox traditions for accommodating 700 people. By the grace of God, we were able to complete the new building and are able to conduct the consecration and dedication ceremony of the new church in June 2008.
The consecration & Dedicationof the newly built church was held on June 13th to 15th, 2008. The Chief Celebrant of all the services was then His Beatitude Paulose Mar Milithios Metropolitan. His Beatitude was assisted by, His Grace Mathews Mar Barnabas – Metropolitan of American Diocese, His Grace Zacharias Mar Nicholovas and His Grace Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios.
In 2011, His Grace Alexios Mar Eusebius appointed Rev. Fr. James Cheriyan as the Assistant Vicar of our Church. He is an valuable asset to our church as a whole and especially for the younger generation.
At this occasion, we remember the hard work, dedication and commitment of our members who worked behind this project. We are grateful to all the members of our congregation for their prayers, generous contribution and whole hearted cooperation. Also, we express our gratitude to all our friends who generously contributed towards the cause. The full time availability of our new church building enabled us to involve in various religious and social activities. In addition, our members have generously been donating to various charities in US and also in India.
At this time, we remember the late H.H. Moran Mor Baselius Marthoma Mathews II for his special affection to our church and his frequent visits. We graciously acknowledge the fatherly love, affection, care and guidance of our Bava Thirumeni. We miss his physical presence but feel his spiritual presence always. We also remember our beloved late His Grace Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios for his spiritual leadership, words of encouragements, and prayers of hope. Thirumeni was very infl uential with our children and helped them to learn more about our Orthodox faith and traditions.
We also remember our beloved friends Mrs. Sosamma Kurian, Mrs. Annie Kurian, Mr. K.T. Philip, Mr. Joy Koshy, Ms. Miriam Jacob, Mr. John P Ninan, Mr. Thommey Thomas, Mrs. Chinnamma Thomas, Mr. G.Philip, Mr. Yesudasan Jacob, Mr. Sabu Varghese, Mr. P.E. George, and Mrs. Saramma Geevarghese who left for their heavenly abode.
We would like to express our gratitude to the various bishops, priests and deacons from our Malankara Orthodox Church who have visited us and graced us with their presence. We are also blessed to have the visits of His Holines Baselios Marthoma Didymus I and His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II to our new church.
We are thankful for the prayers, spiritual leadership, guidance and support of Diocesan Metropolitan His Grace Alexios Mar Eusebius. While Rev. Fr. James Cheriyan has been only with us for short period, he has made a lasting impression on all of us. We thankful for his presence here at STOCI, and we keep him and his family in our prayers.
Last but not the least; we remember the sincere prayers, dedicated service, spiritual leadership and the wonderful coordinating ability of our Vicar Rev. Fr. Philip Jacob. He is instrumental in keeping up the spirit of unity among the members to work harmoniously towards the spiritual growth of our church. We are indebted to him for his invaluable contributions to our church and our families. We pray to God Almighty to give him good health and long life to lead us for many more years to come.
With blessings from God, we look forward to serve Him and glorify His Holy Name in this new house of worship.