Our Church History

St. Mary Church - Atlanta

About Us

DSC02915.JPGThe Kidist Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral (St. Mary) was founded by a small group of faithful Ethiopians and established as a nonprofit religious corporation in the state of Georgia in 1987. Initially, Kidist Mariam (St.Mary) Church was serving its congregation in a chapel rented from Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Atlanta.

Since that time, Kidist Mariam Church has taken the lead in providing services to meet the spiritual, cultural, and economic needs of the Ethiopian immigrant population in the greater Atlanta area by upholding  the centuries-old tradition and values of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and; to increase the awareness of our community in greater Atlanta area  about the history, cultures, languages, and tradition of Ethiopia; and to provide services consistent with our religion, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church practices. The chapel we rented was very small; we were conducting our church services under extreme difficulty. The space constraints have limited the types of services that we can offer and also greatly restricted the number of persons served.  Because those reasons, members of the church encouraged by their strong conviction and deep religious dedication, purchased a church located at 266 Robin Street Decatur, Georgia, in 1995. At the same time the church adopted a revised By-lows and the general assembly elected a Board of Trustees to administer the overall management of the Church. Our Church is, therefore, a people’s Church managed by board members who are elected for two year-term.

However, as the size of the congregation grew faster than expected the Church was still unable to provide essential services for many hundreds of Ethiopians. Again, with members and all Christians’ fulfillment of their spiritual obligations, the church acquired and fully paid for 5.5 acres of land, to build bigger facilities. By the grace of God, and ceaseless effort and unremitting perseverance by members and the administration of the Church, our church contraction was completed and blessed by His Holiness Abune Merkorios, Patriarch of Ethiopia on August 29, 2009. The dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony of our brand new Cathedral, located at 1152 South Stone Mountain Lithonia Rd., Lithonia, GA, was attended by archbishops, dignitaries, and representatives of various churches, organizations, and institutions. Above all, this was a ceremony in which our congregation, young and old, can witness and take part in a truly historic event.

Now that this complex is completed, the largest and most traditionally built Ethiopian Orthodox Church ever constructed outside of Ethiopia will provide adequate space for both worship and community outreach activities for many Ethiopians. The church plans to offer classes in health promotion and disease prevention, anti-crime meetings, social and youth activities, and English language training, educational and employment referrals and senior citizens activities. These services will be available to the entire Ethiopian community and other interested individuals, regardless of faith commitment. Above all, our church is committed to build a strong orthodox community that promotes the teachings of Our Lord to love one another and that does not condone ethnicism, tribalism and racism. Members of our congregation continuously pray that God grants them guidance, unity, and vision in order to utilize the facilities of the new cathedral for the glory of His Holy Name.