Prior to 1860, the congregation used to pray at Saint George Cathedral situated downtown in Parliament Square, as there was no Orthodox Church in Ras Beirut at that time. . They would also pray at Saint Elias El Btina church in Msaytbeh, at the southern east side of Ras Beirut, and bury their dead in Saint John’s church cemetery which is located next to Saint Elie. Both churches were considered far away due to the difficulty of transportation, the poor conditions of the roads and the added the danger presented by highwaymen who were active along the narrow, little used alleys.
Land to build a church with a cemetery and a school for parish children was donated by the Rbeiz and Bekhazi families, the largest orthodox families in Ras Beirut. The Archbishop of Beirut at that time was Archbishop Ierotheos, the last Archbishop of Greek origins.
The building of the church was completed in 1860. It was called Sayyudat Al Niyah (Saint Mary’s Orthodox Church of Dormition). The Church was consecrated for worship on February 18, 1861.