Mar Thoma Church MTC of Greater Washington

Mar Thoma Syrian Church

Takoma Park, Maryland, USA


322 Ethan Allen Ave
Takoma Park Maryland, USA


10:15 a.m. : Holy Communion Service
2nd & 4th Sunday - Malayalam Service
1st & 3rd Sunday -? English Service
5th Sunday - Praise & Worship

The few Marthomites who were here in the early 70′s along with several Church of South India families worshiped with the Orthodox Syrian Church people. Rev. K.C. Thomas (now Bishop Makarios) and Deacon Varghese Pattammady led the services. In 1973 there were thirty-one families belonging to these Churches. When Dr. Alexander Mar Theophilus Suffragan Metropolitan (our present Metropolitan) came, on March 26, 1973 we conducted a combined service at the Greek Orthodox Church in Washington on 16th Street, N.W. Some Syrian Catholics where also present. This was the first Mar Thoma service held in Washington DC. The first baptism also was conducted after the service. On April 1974 Thomas Mar Athanasius Episcopa conducted a Holy Communion Service in which the Orthodox Church members also attended. In fact Thomas Thirumeni was requested by them also to celebrate this combined service. Since 1974 services were led by our Achens who were studying in the US or Canada or those who were visiting the U.S. We used the facilities of some of the local churches free of charge. For several years from 1974 we celebrated Christmas and passion week in homes of our members.

In 1975, Podikunju Upadeshi (Mr. John Chacko conducted evangelistic meetings. As a result of these meetings we felt that our people should meet regularly for prayer, devotion and fellowship in our homes. Thus the cottage prayer meetings were initiated in 1975 and were held on Friday evenings. Our members gave the message followed by discussion and intercession. This continued for several years. But in 1980 we started holding it every other week. Since 1987 the prayer meetings were held twice a month when Achen was here in town.

In the late seventies the late Rev. M. V. Benjamin, who was then Vicar in New York Churches, was assigned to provide pastoral services to the Washington marthomites as needed. The services were conducted on an ad hoc basis until 1991 and the programs were coordinated by voluntary effort. The financial needs were met through offertories and special collections on those occasions and there were no budge bank account or savings.

Formal Organization of a Congregation and Its Growth
A Consultation was convened in San Francisco in 1981 jointly by the Mar Thoma Church and the American Protestant Episcopal Church to review the Agreement between the Mar Thoma Church and the Protestant Episcopal Church signed by our Metropolitan and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. I was one of a dozen invited participants. I represented the Washington marthomites. This consultation led to the establishment of the Zonal Assembly which later was organized under the name Diocesan Assembly.
During the visit of the late Thomas Mar Athanasius Thirumeni a Congregation Committee was elected on September 1981 after the Holy Communion Serive held at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Rockville. Incidentally in a specially convened meeting prior to that we discussed formally organizing a congregation and electing a committee. The Congregation subsequently took the decision to remain as a congregation rather than become a full-fledged Edavaka and decided to have five services a year.

In June 1995 we purchased the church building located at 322 Ethan Allen Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland. On July 1st we met there for a prayer service and fellowship dinner. On July 16th 1995 the first Holy Communion Service was held in the Fellowship Hall of the new facilities while the main sanctuary was being renovated. The Church underwent substantial renovation and was dedicated on October 21st by our Diocesan Bishop, His Lordship Rt. Rev Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus Episcopa.

The annual Family Conference of the Diocese was hosted by the Parish in July 1993 in McLean Hilton Hotel at McLean Virginia. Over a thousand people attended and was one of the best family conference ever held in the Diocese. This was the first family conference here where two of our bishops provided leadership. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Thirumeni and Geevarghese Mar Athanasius Thirumeni held the conference.