St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church

Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 5 August 2002.

Phone: 734-422-0010
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The research was done by The University of Michigan-Dearborn Pluralism Project.

History and Description

St. Mary's Orthodox Church is a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The church was established on February 13, 1972, seven days after its pastor, Father George Shaloub, was ordained a priest. He was assigned to minister to a small group of Palestinian families in metropolitan Detroit, who without a building of their own rented space in a Lutheran church in southwest Detroit in order to hold services of worship. With the help of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Toledo, Ohio, property was purchased in Livonia. Construction on the church began in 1975 and was completed and consecrated by the Most Reverend Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America on May 1, 1977. The current parish is composed of people from a number of Middle Eastern nationalities, including Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian, as well as Palestinian. The center has grown to approximately 2000 individuals (600 pledging members), many of whom live in Livonia, a middle-class suburb of Detroit, as well as in Oakland County suburbs including Farmington Hills, Southfield, Orchard Lake, and Novi.
In 1981, the church purchased two acres of adjacent land from the Livonia Public Schools for further expansion. In 1988, ground was broken and construction began in 1990 on this parcel for the St. Mary's Cultural Center. The cultural Center was opened in 1991 and has served as a place for the parish to gather for social activities. It is also available to members of the community for weddings, anniversaries, and special events.

Re-Building the Church

On April 5, 1996, St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church caught fire. Following the fire the parish met at St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church until October 6, 1996, when the present church was rebuilt. On November 9, 1997, ground was broken for St. Mary's new church, which will be the center's third building. The new church is Byzantine in design, with a dome and free-standing bell tower. As a part of the current building program, the church's Cultural Center will be expanded.


The growth in membership and the many activities of the parish has made this construction necessary. There are approximately 250 students who are taught religious studies at the church. In addition, there is a parish council, a college ministry, a building committee, ladies' society, and groups for ushers and acolytes. Many of the older youth are members of SOYO, the Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations. Members of SOYO participate in retreats and community service projects, including Crop walks to raise money for the hungry, the March of Dimes, First Step which is a program for abused women and children, and Blight Busters which works to rebuild homes in the inner city of Detroit. The church publishes a weekly newsletter, Al-Nour.


Sunday services include Matins, said from 9:30-10:30 a.m. half in English and half in Arabic. At 10:30 a.m., there is a celebration of the Divine Litury, largely said in English.