Saint Paul's Orthodox Church of Greater Orlando.

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A Concise History of Our Parish:


Abraham Kappil


“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you” (St. Mathew 7: 7) is the story of our Parish!


A handful of Malankara Orthodox families embarked on a journey in 1991, placing their trust in Almighty God to nourish the spiritual and cultural needs of the Indian Orthodox faithful living in Metro Orlando area of the State of Florida. St. Paul Orthodox Church of Greater Orlando was organized under the leadership of Fr. Dr. M.K Thomas, and Achen celebrated the first Holy Qurbana on July 28, 1991.



In January 1992 Metropolitan H.G. Mathews Mar Barnabas of blessed memory approved the St. Paul Orthodox Church of Greater Orlando as a parish of the Malankara Orthodox Church under the American Diocese, and it was duly incorporated in the State of Florida as a non-profit organization at the same time. Metropolitan H.G. Mar Barnabas has also graciously appointed Fr. Dr. M.K. Thomas as the first Vicar.


Fr. P.M Zachariah from Tampa, FL, served the parish as Asst. Vicar, from January 1993 to 2004 in co-operation with the Vicar Fr. M.K Thomas, who moved during this time from Morehead, KY, to Chicago, IL. In this period new members started joining our parish. The parishioners started dreaming for a permanent place of worship and the dream started flourishing, when a new property with over 5 acres of land for the construction of a church building was purchased in 2001 within the Downtown area of the City of Longwood of Seminole County, in the Metro Orlando area of Florida.


In 2005 H.G. Mathews Mar Barnabas Metropolitan blessed the foundation stone for our Church Building and the Assistant Metropolitan of the undivided American Diocese H.G. Zachariah Mar Nicholovos placed it at the site of construction.


In 2006 Metropolitan Mar Barnabas appointed Fr. Dr. Joy Pyngolil as Vicar replacing Fr. Dr. M.K. Thomas, and he was succeeded by Fr. Dr. P. C Thomas in 2007, who was commuting from NY.


Answer to our prayers for an Achen living in Metro Orlando Area, and leading the parish to the next higher level came with the arrival of Fr. Dr. Jacob Mathew and family in 2008 from Ethiopia. Construction of the Church Building in Longwood, FL, started under the leadership of our Vicar, Fr. Dr. Jacob Mathew in 2009. Diocesan Metropolitan H.G. Alexios Mar Eusebius consecrated the newly constructed Church building in January 2010, in the presence of clergy and faithful from sister parishes and well wishers, setting us apart for God’s work. Heartfelt thanks in Christ go to all the kind hearted, who selflessly worked and unsparingly donated their time and resources to achieve this noble goal of about a million dollars!


We celebrate Holy Qurbana on every Sunday and on all festival days of the liturgical calendar. We have a talented team of Sunday School teachers, who devote their time and energy to train the new generation as role models and future leaders dedicated to their families, Church, Community and to the Nation at large.


Prayer Group, St. Gregorios Men’s League, Martha Mariam Vanitha Samajam, Church Choir and MGOCSM dedicate their time and talents towards the spiritual growth of our parishioners, and actively support all other parish activities under the leadership of our Vicar and the Managing Committee.


St. Paul’s Orthodox Church of Greater Orlando, now a parish under the Southwest American Diocese, is located in one of the fastest growing metro areas with world renowned tourism highlights and top rated schools. Situated in the Seminole County of the third most populous State of USA we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that the good Lord gives us. We, as one unit, are now sailing against all the odds the evil has plotted to oppose and is scheming against our pilgrimage towards the Kingdom of God.


May the protection of the life-giving Holy Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and prayers of Apostle Paul, our Patron Saint, St. Mary, the Mother of God, St. Thomas, the Apostle of India, St. George, St. Gregorios of Parumala and all other saints, lead us in an exemplary direction well pleasing to our Lord and God Jesus Christ!



The St. Paul’s Orthodox Church of Greater Orlando was consecrated and dedicated on January 22nd and 23rd, Friday and Saturday by Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius of the South West American Diocese. Consecration of the biggest Church building of Malankara Orthodox Church in Florida was a great occasion of joy and jubilation for the parishioners.



Consecration:


The consecration began with evening prayers at 6.00 pm on January 22nd. H.G. Mar Eusebius explained to the faithful in his introductory speech after the evening prayer that like Joshua asked the leaders of Israel to take 12 stones from where the priests stood at the red sea, when the Israelites were crossing the sea and laid them as the foundation to the tent of the covenant, the Church today takes 12 stones to lay the foundation of the holy church at the very place. Until the consecration, it was only a building to pray and after the consecration it becomes holy church the house of God. The Metropolitan received the keys of the Church from chairman of construction committee Dr. Alexander V. Alex for the Malankara Metropolitan and handed them over to Fr. Dr. Jacob Mathew, the Vicar, who in turn handed it over to the trustee of the Church. The foundation stone of the Church was laid with prayer thereafter and it was followed by the first part of the consecration service. There was dinner served to all who have attended. More than 180 people attended the services on Friday, January 22nd in the evening. On 23rd January the services began at 7.30 am. All the priests were around the Metropolitan in their holy vestments to assist him. The metropolitan lead the services to consecrate the holy altar as well as the tablets with holy chrism and there after the building was sanctified. After the services the Metropolitan celebrated holy Eucharist for the first time at the newly consecrated Church.


St. Paul’s Orthodox Church of Greater Orlando, Florida Consecrated and Dedicated.

The public meeting has followed the services. Fr. Dr. Jacob Mathew, the Vicar of the St. Paul’s Church welcomed all dignitaries and people from all walks of life into the meeting and congratulated Mar Eusebius for this was the first church consecration that he was doing all alone, which is a mile stone in his life. The meeting was inaugurated by Mr. John Mangot, the Mayor of the Longwood City, where the St. Paul’s Church is situated. He welcomed the Indian Orthodox community to the Longwood city and expressed his joy over the arrival of a church that is almost as old as Christianity to the historic city of Longwood, Florida. Metropolitan Mar Eusebius commented the unity among the members of the parish that made the edifice eructed and exhorted them to maintain it that the newly consecrated church keeps its beauty over the years to come. He congratulated the Vicar, Managing Committee members and the faithful of the St. Paul’s Orthodox Church at their achievement. Fr. P. M. Zachariah, Assistant Vicar to the Church for almost 12 years has narrated the history of the church and expressed his joy in seeing a Church at Orlando, which was his long cherished longing. Fr. Dr. Joy Pyngolil, former vicar of Orlando St. Paul’s expressed his happiness at the feet that has been achieved and spoke about the beginnings of an Indian Orthodox Church in Orlando and his dream about the growth of our church in the American Dioceses at large. Fr. George Daniel, Fr. George Paulose, Fr. Slomo Isaac George, from Phoenix Arizona, Fr. P. M. Cherian, Secretary to the Adhoc Committee for administration for the Diocese of South West America, Fr. George John, Fr. John Hamatie of the Byzantine Antiochene church of Orlando, Dr. Aravind Pillai representing the Hindu Community of Orlando and Dr. Dennis Mathai representing the youth of our Church in the United States spoke on the occasion. The MGOCSM members of the St. Paul’s Orthodox Church presented a group song to make the occasion colorful. Mr. Hue Harling, the Engineer for the Building and Mr. John Youngman, Architect for the building were also present. Dr. Alexander V. Alex, the Trustee of the Church expressed the vote of Thanks. Ms. Hiba George and Ms. Hana George were the MCs to the meeting. There had been festive lunch after the meeting.