Our History

Groundbreaking ceremony of church by The Late H.E. Mor Clemis Abraham

From Paper to Reality…
St. Mary’s Knanaya Church

Rev. Fr. Punnoose Abraham, Kallamparampil,  Vicar

It was   in  October,   1986  His  Grace Abraham  Mor  Clemis,  our  Metr­opolitan,  celebrated  the  first  Holy Qurbana in Hartford, Connecticut. It was a golden day in the history of the North  American  Knanaya Community, the first Knanaya Church was established  in New England. Rev. Dr. P. P. Philips then traveled all the way from Dallas, Texas to take the initiative to organize  the Church  in Hartford,  where he started his career in the United States. The members of St. Mary’s Knanaya Church   are  thankful,  to  our  founding father  Rev. Dr.  P.  P.  Philips  for  his vision for the future.

The   Church   remained   on   the paper for a while until the arrival of the well trained young and energetic priest, Rev.  Fr.  Marcos  M.  Chaluparambil  in 1988. God Almighty fullfilled the needs of the Church  by providing  the  service of a dedicated priest with strong determination   and  commitment   to  the faith and traditions of  the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Knanaya Community.

Since then there has been church services every other Sundays and during church festivals in a rented place, Grace Lutheran  Church,  46  Woodland  Street’ Hartford.  As the membership  increased, there  was  a  strong   desire   to  have  a church of our own.His Eminence Abraham Mor Clemis  Metropolitan inaugurated the Church building fund on Sunday, January 20,1991.  The  22 knanaya   families   in  Hartford   worked hard to raise enough money to acquire a piece of  land  in West  Hartford  to start the construction of the new church building.

The church building committee under the leadership of Mr. Thomas Abraham, Vadavuparambil and with the help of the committee members Mr. Thomas  Chaluparambil, Mr. Bejoy Cheriyan Kallamannil, Mr. Prasad George,Mr. Abraham  Mathew,  Mr.  Saji  Punnoose, Mr. Jacob Uthuppan and treasurer Mr. Kurvilla Jacob and secretary Mr. Baiju Joseph, worked hard to purchase land for the new church. They were able to close the deal  on  110  x  100′  plot  on  15-19 Price Boulevard,  West Hartford,  a very convenient and   beautiful  location on May 25 1995.

The   expanded   Church Committee for the year 1996, under the leadership of Vicar, Rev. Fr. Marcos Chaluparambil, Secretary, Mr. Joseph Chaluparambil,Trustee,  Mr.  Kuruvilla Jacob, the Church Committee members Mr. Bejoy Cheriyan Kallamannil, Mr. Saji Eranackal, Mr.Prasad V.George, Mr.Benny Joseph,Mr. Thomas C. Joseph, Mr. Abraham  Kuunnel,  Mr.  Abraham Mathew and Mr.   Jacob K. Uthuppan worked hard to raise enough money to start the church construction.

I have the great privilege to mention that God Almighty provided the opportunity for me to assist in the first Holy Qurbana celebrated in Hartford by our Metropolitan in 1986. After my ordination as a priest, our Administrator Very Rev. Dr. Abraham Thomas Corepiscopa  gave  me  the   first assignment as the Assistant Vicar of St. Mary’s  Knanaya  Church,  Hartford, where I was ordained as a deacon on Sunday January 20, 1991. I am thankful to God for the opportunity to work with a very loving, affectionate and unselfish priest, Rev. Fr. Marcos Chaluparambil and a very helpful and cooperative group of  Knananites in Hartford.

It was a happy day for the members of St. Mary’s Church when the contract for the construction of the new
4000 S. F. building was signed by the Vicar on August 11, 1996. The unexpected visit of our Metropolitan in September  1996,is  a  very  clear indication of the fact that the church building project was in the hands God. His Eminence Mor Clemis officiated the ground breaking of the new church building on September 14, 1996. The history of our ancient church caught the attention of several local news media, who then participated in this event.  The construction process went very smooth and money poured in even from unexpected sources.

The church established on paper, with the initiative of Rev. Dr. Philips is a reality. It is a reality because of the hard work of Rev. Fr. Marcos Chaluparambil and the 22 Knanaya families in Hartford and the support of the North American Knanaya Diocese. As an outsider and the Assistant Vicar, I take this opportunity to congratulate Rev. Fr. Marcos Chaluparambil and the members of the church for the job well done. It is a fact that there will be disagreements during a project of this magnitude. But for the Knanaya community this kind of disagreement  will  eventually  turn into the best agreement.  The new Church is the result of that best agreement. Let us Keep it up for our younger generations.

During the decade of existence, the  Church  had  the  great  privilege  to host the reception given to His Eminence Mor Clemis, the  Chief Metropolitan of the  East  on  January  20,   1991.  The Church also had the opportunity to host the first North American Knanaya Association  meeting  on  February   15,1992. The constitution for the North American Knanaya Diocese was unanimously approved in the “Constitution State”, the State of Connecticut. The North American Knanaya Diocese was officially established and the first North American Knanaya Committee was unanimously elected.

We are thankful to our beloved Metropolitan  for  all  the  guidance  and His Eminences presence for all the historic moments of our church. We appreciate our Administrator Very Rev. Dr. Abraham Thomas Corepiscopa for his leadership and timely help. All our priests  were  very   helpful,  especially when we visited their churches for fund raising. I take this opportunity to thank all the members of the North American Knanaya Diocese for helping us with their generous contributions in terms of money, time and advice. May the  prayers St.  Mary, the  mother God and St. Knayi Thoma, the patron Saint of the Knanaya Church be with you and your family for generations for all your sacrificial contributions.

We  are  thankful  to  God Almighty for providing a beautiful place of worship to uphold the faith and traditions the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Knanaya Community, which our forefathers were upholding for the last 1652 years in India. Let us all make a determination that, no matter  what, we will not give up our fundamental faith, the  faith  and  traditions  of  the Knanaya Church, which our forefathers were  upholding  for  many, many years.

May God bless us all and the prayers of St. Mary the mother of God be a source of strength for all of us.

Rev. Fr. Punnoose  Abraham, KaUamparampil  was ordained as a deacon in 1991 and  as a priest in January 1996. Fr. Punnoose is currently the Assistant Vicar of St. Mary’s  Knanaya Church, Hartford and St. Stephen’s Knanaya Church, Boston.  He is  the North  American Knanaya Diocesan Secretary and the General Secretary of the North American Knanaya Convention. He received  M.S. in Chemistry in 1973 from Bhopal University and B.S. in Chemistry  in 1970 from Kerala University  and B.S. in Computer Science     in 1984 from Framingham State College. He is employed as a Software Engineer. He is married to Nirmala Vazhayil, and lives with three children Ashok, Sarah and Mekha in Millbury, MA.

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