The early days…
Mor Ignatius Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in Dubai dates back to 27th
March 1976 when seven devotees owing allegiance to the Holy Apostolic Throne of
St. Peter gathered at the residence of Mr. Thomas K. The meeting commenced with
prayers and an oath taking ceremony. The participants expressed their ardent
desire to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers and declared their
allegiance to H.H. The Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. The Church proudly
remembers the pioneering participants of the Dubai Jacobite Syrian Christian
Association – M/s. M. A. Abraham, P.G. Alexander, Cheeran Varkey, Cherian
Venkadathu, P,V. Chummar, K.M. Mathew and Thomas Kosamattom was elected as the
President; and Mr. Cheeran Varkey was the Secretary of the Association. They
decided to contact other like-minded people in and around Dubai.
The Secretary was entrusted with the responsibility to regularly update H.B. the
Catholicos, the various activities of the Association. The members worked under
the strict guidance and instruction from H.B. Mor Baseliose Paulose II and H.H.
the Patriarch in Damascus. They distributed, at their own expense, copies of the
church publications ‘Malankara Sabha’ and “Viswasasamrakshkan” among faithful
members of the Jacobite community while regularly urging them of the need to
form a congregation. Subsequently, H.B. Mor Baseliose Paulose II formally
recognized the seven members as a committee to coordinate the activities of the
Association in Dubai. Prayer meetings were conducted regularly at the residences
of the members of the committee in Dubai, Sharjah and Khorfakkan.
A meeting of the congregation members was convened on 27th September 1977 at
Mr. N.P. Philipose’s residence. The participants affirmed their allegiance to
H.H. the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and H.B. the Catholicos. To
further expand the activities of the congregation, Dubai Jacobite Syrian
Christian Association was formed in this meet, attended by eighteen members.
They were – P.G.Alexander, Babab, Cheeran Varkey, P.V. Chummar, P.P. George, Job
Arimpur, P.D. Joseph, Koshykunju, T.K. Mani, K.M. Mathew, P.T. Mathew, Pappachan
Arimpur, N.P. Philippose, Raja Paul, G. Sam, V. Varkey, C.I. Kunjukunju and P.M.
Zacharia. An ad hoc committee was formed during this meeting. Among the first
seven founder members and the eighteen members of the first recorded meeting,
currently only five members are present in Dubai.
The number of the faithful attending the prayers increased gradually and
individual residences were found to be inadequate to conduct such meetings. A
prominent Indian, the Late Mr. K.S. Varkey, a man of generous outlook cordially
extended a part of his premises in Bastakia for conducting prayer meetings. This
arrangement continued until the congregation found an alternative hall in the
Holy Trinity Church Premises, Dubai.
Functional arms …Vanitha Samajam
Prayer meetings were held regularly on Friday evenings. In addition to the
important feasts of the church, prayers for deceased, prayer for the church,
prayer for the sick, intercessional prayers etc., were held. A one-day seminar
was held at Sharjah explaining the role of the church and the relation between
Antioch and Malankara. St. Mary’s Vanitha Samajam was set-up. Mrs. Ponamma
Joseph was elected as the convener. The tradition of visiting the residences of
the members during Christmas season began in UAE during 1977. A Carol service
and fellowship meet were held at Our Own English School, Dubai on 24th December
1977. The congregation fondly remembers the Varkey family with gratitude while
praying for them.
The parish forms…
An important milestone in our parish history was the arrival of Rev. Fr.
Varghese Pulian on 28th March 1978, appointed as Vicar by H.B. Mor Baseliose II,
Catholicos of the East. Celebrating the first Holy Qurbana for Dubai Jacobite
Syrian Chrisitian Association on 31st March 1978 at the facilities offered by
Late Mr. K.S. Varkey, the Association was named Mor Ignatius Jacobite Syrian
Orthodox Church – in reverence of saint and Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Elias
Ref. Fr. Pulian extended services to the faithful in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and
Khorfakkan. Holy Qurbana was celebrated in Khorfakkan. He baptized the son of
Mr. K.E. George in Khorfakkan. A meeting of the followers of Jacobite faith was
convened in Abu Dhabi under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Pulian on 14th April
1978, forming the Abu Dhabi Jacobite Syrian Christian Association.
The first General body meeting of the church was held on 26th May 1978 when
members pointed out the need to have a written constitution for the parish.
Consequently, a committee comprising the Vicar and four members were elected.
H.B. Mor Baselius Paulose II, Rev. Kurian Cor Episcopa and V. Rev Sleeba
Geevarghese Rabban – Principal of Theological College in Lebanon graced the
Church with apostolic blessings and visits. By the grace of God Almighty and
through the intercession of our saint, the parish bought a minibus to facilitate
travel to the church for members residing in Deira, Sharjah and Dubai.
The parish celebrated the feast of the patron saint Elias III Bava with Holy
Qurbana, intercessory prayers, procession and love feast on 16th February 1979.
Their Excellencies Hawa Mor Xavarios Thomas Mor Dionysus and Bursome Ayoub Cor
Episcopa, visited the Church and blessed the faithful. His Grace Thomas Mor
Dionysus led a convention and a retreat during the Passion Week that the members
greatly benefited. One such retreat was conducted at the residence of Mr. P.D.
Joseph. Prayer meetings were held on Sundays during this year.
By the Grace of God the parish membership grew and the church moved to a
spacious hall at the Holy Trinity Church Compound during this year. We would
like to express our gratitude to V. Rev. Fr. John Paxton and office bearers of
the Holy Trinity Church. Very Rev. Benyamin Joseph Rabban, secretary to HH The
Patriarch was appointed Vicar to Dubai in 1980. We are grateful to Rabban for
drafting the parish constitution. Rabban later was consecrated Metropolitan of
Simhasana Churches in Kerala.
Late Very Rev. Benyamin Rabban had to return to Damascus to resume duties.
After a short while, His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Yaqoob III, who led us
towards light and truth in this dark and misty world, was taken to the heavenly
abode. The Parish was deeply saddened at the demise of His Holiness. Special
prayers were held on the 41st day of His Holiness’s demise.
The solemn ceremony of the Ordination of the Patriarch, His Holiness Mor
Ignatius Zakka I Iwas took place in Damascus on 24th September 1980. A number of
our members were blessed to witness the ordination and later allowed an audience
with His Holiness.
Sunday School’s humble beginnings…
Rev. Fr. Philippose was appointed as vicar of the church in the third week
of February 1981. A praiseworthy development of the parish during this year was
the start of the Sunday School under the able guidance of the Vicar. Sincere
thanks to Mr. P.C. Elias who wholeheartedly conducted classes with the
co-operation of the parents on Friday evenings at the Parsonage.
The ‘Sradhaperunnal ’ of the Late Lamented Moran Mor Ignatius Yaqoob III was
held at the Church with piety on the 26th June. The Parish was blessed with the
rare opportunity of being host to H.G. Isaac Mor Xavarios, Vicar General of The
Patriarch. His Grace humbly paid visits to the residences of parishioners and
expressed happiness at the functioning of the church. Prayer meetings were held
regularly at the members’ residence on first Thursdays.
1982 Patriarchal UAE visit
His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Prince Patriarch of the
Antioch and all the East, as their Graces who accompanied HH to Kerala were
accorded a very warm welcome at Sharjah International Airport on 2nd February
1982 on behalf of the church.
Home away from home…
The parish took possession of a parsonage in Al Karama on 1st April 1982.
H.G. Geevarghese Mor Gregoriose (Perumpally Thirumeni) who visited Abu Dhabi
during the Passion Week led Easter service at Dubai and blessed the parsonage.
The Parishioners are thankful to the Late Rev. Fr. Babu Kurian who took pains to
come from his work place in Bahrain every weekend to lead Holy Qurbana in Dubai
while the Vicar was on annual leave. It is of special mention that a handful of
members dedicated their time, energy and facilities for the Parish in the
initial stages. From among them Mr. P.C. Elias deserves special thanks for
arranging the Vicar’s accommodation until the time of the Karama parsonage.
Sunday School at Holy Trinity…
Another milestone in the parish history was the decision to move Mor
Ignatius Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Sunday School classes to the Holy Trinity
Church premises. Accordingly, Rev. Fr. Kuriakose Moolayil, Vicar of St. Mary’s
Church, Muscat inaugurated the Sunday School after the service on 10th September
1982. Mr. Mathew and Mr. Kuriakose were in charge of the Sunday School.
Mr. Thomas Abraham donated an altar to the Church. There were generous
contributions towards charity by individuals and the Parish. H.G. Abraham Mor
Sevarios visited the parish on 12th November 1982. With the blessing of God
Almighty and the intercession of our patron saint, the number of faithful in the
parish increased considerably during this period. The congregation was fortunate
to have the services of late Very Rev. Rabban Benyamin Joseph during the annual
leave of the Vicar during 1983. Rev. Fr. Thomas Corepiscopa visited the parish
during the first half of the year 1983.
Dubai government formally recognizes...
During the tenure of V. Rev. Joseph Rabban the church was accorded
registration by the Government of Dubai on 30th August 1983. The Church takes
this opportunity to express our heartfelt and sincere gratitude to late His
Highness Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of UAE, the late His
Highness Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and the Ruling
Family of Dubai and the Dubai Municipality authorities. The Church is also
thankful to the Vicar, the members of the Managing Committee and Mr. A.P,
Skaria, for their tireless efforts. The parish is also indebted to Mr. M John
who contributed invaluable efforts for obtaining the Parish priest visa.
Patriarch’s state visit to Dubai
H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch & All the East was
accorded a very warm and hearty welcome in Dubai as a State Guest on 1st
November 1988 by H.E. The Consul General of Syria, other dignitaries, the Vicar
and the Parishioners of our Church. His Holiness was in UAE for nine days and
met with members of the Ruling Family and dignitaries of Dubai Government. HH
celebrated his first Holy Mass in Dubai, on 4th November 1988 at St. Mary’s
The Church has grown from strength to strength during the subsequent years from
1989 till date under the spiritual guidance of several vicars - Prasad
Kuruvilla, Baby Chamakkala Corepiscopa, Late Varghese Thomas and Roy Kochattu
Corepiscopa. Several spiritual and social activities were introduced through
functional arms such as - Youth Association, Vanitha Samajam, Sunday School,
Prayer Link, Church Choir, Senior Kids band, Junior Choir, Church News,
Transportation Facility etc., and are all working in harmony for the overall
growth of the community in the U.A.E. The principal aims of these spiritual arms
are scriptural enrichment of the people as well as extending a helping hand to
the poor and needy. The Church also facilitates for a good Library with an ever
growing collection of books.
A dream comes true...
A dedicated place of worship of our own was a long cherished dream of the
parishioners. By the immense grace of God, the intercession of our Patron Saint
Moran Mor Ignatius Elias III, St. Mary and the incessant prayers of the
congregation, our church was granted land in Jebel Ali by the generous Rulers of
Dubai. This was announced in the Church by the Vicar Rev. Fr. Roy Abraham
Kochattu in July 1999.
We express our deepest gratitude and indebtedness to late His Highness
Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of UAE, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa
Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE, late His Highness Shaikh Maktoum Bin
Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness General Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum,
UAE Prime Minister & Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Shaikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al
Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi & Dy. Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed
Forces, His Highness Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown
Prince & Deputy Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al
Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai & Minister of Finance & Industry and the
good-hearted, blessed people of the U.A.E.
The church foundation stone blessed by Patriarch H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius
Zakka I Iwas, was laid by HG Joseph Mor Gregorios, Metropolitan of Kochi &
U.A.E. on 6th October 2000. Under HG dynamic leadership and the determination
and hard work of the Vicar and Parish Members, the two-storied church complex
was completed in a very short span of eight months.
The ‘Mooron’ consecration
HH Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas consecrated the church on 14~15 June
2001, assisted by HG Thomas Mor Dionysius, HG Joseph Mor Gregorios, HG Kuriakose
Mor Julius, HG Abraham Mor Clemis. HG Benyamin Joseph Mor Ostatheos, Rev. Fr.
Roy Abraham and Rev. Fr. Prince Mookkanottil, The vicars and parishioners of
sister parishes graced the consecration ceremony, while dignitaries including
H.E. K.C. Singh Ambassador of India to the UAE, felicitated during the public
gathering held on the 14th June 2001.
Over the past 32 years, the congregation has grown from seven to over a
thousand. We submit ourselves to God through the intercession of our Patron
Saint Moran Mor Ignatius Elias III for leading us in the right path. We take
this opportunity to express our gratitude to all well wishers who contributed
towards the growth of the parish.
To mark the 25th year of establishment of the Jacobite Church in Dubai, the
Silver Jubliee celebrations were conducted on the 23~24 January 2003 to coincide
with the glorious occasion of centenary of the sacred demise of St. Gregorios of
On January 23rd 2003 evening a public meeting was held chaired by H.H. Moran
Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, H.E. Sheikh Ali
Al Hashimi, the religious advisor to the President of U.A.E., H.B. Baselios
Thomas I – Catholicos, Indian Consul General H.E. George Joseph, Syrian
Ambassador delegate Mr. Said Toma, EMKE Group Director Mr. Yousaf Ali, Mr.
Mohammad Hussain Alkasmi, special delegate from Wakaf & Assistant Director of
Islamic Affairs Dubai, H.G. Kuriakose Mor Julius Metropolitan, H.G. Thomas Mor
Themotheos Metropolitan of Marthoma Church, Rev. Fr. Thomas George – Marthoma
Church, Rev. Fr. John Fernandes and Rev. Fr. Condrado – Catholic Church, Rev.
Fr. Eso Zoras – Coptic Church, Chev. Rafat Kostandi, Indian Consul H.E. Mr. I.P.
Mohan, Mr. M. John, Chev. Joseph Zarah, Mr. Madhavan – President Indian
Association - Sharjah, Alumnae Association President Mr. Radhakrishnan, UAQ
Radio Director Mr. K.P.K. Venkara, other social and spiritual dignitaries graced
the occasion. His Holiness the Patriarch released the Silver Jubilee Souvenir.
Special mementos were awarded to H.E. Sheikh Ali Al Hashimi, Mrs. Varkey, Mr.
Yousaf Ali and Mr. M. John honouring them. Vicar Rev. Fr. Prince Mookkanottil
welcomed the gathering while Diocesan Metropolitan H.G. Joseph Mor Gregorios
expressed the Vote of Thanks.
On 24th, Holy Qurbana in seven Altars , a historical event in the history of
our church in U.A.E. was led by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas,
assisted by H.B. Baselios Thomas I, Catholicos, H.G. Joseph Mor Gregorios
Metropolitan, H.G. Kuriakose Mor Julius Metropolitan, Rev. Fr. Paulose
Thalikkattu, Rev. Fr. Thomas Arackal, Rev. Fr. Stephen Njanamattathil, Rev. Fr.
Prince Mookkanottil, Rev. Eldho Valiyaparambil and Rev. Fr. Kurian Maliyil.
During the Holy Qurbana His Holiness blessed and released the Jubilee Coin with
picture embossing of St. Mary and St. Gregorios of Parumala.
Church Extension plans…
The formal approval for the church extension and hall plan was granted from
Dubai Municipality on 16th September 2008. The 2009 annual general body
recognized with sincere thanks the efforts and success of the Municipal
permission team, led by Mr. K.S. John. Detailed plans have been drawn up and the
construction tender is under progress. Works are expected to begin during the
2nd quarter of 2009. Although amidst a global financial crunch, with ripple
effects felt in every part of the world, it was decided to press ahead with the
extension plan, considering several positives associated with the growth of the
Headed by the parish Managing Committee, two construction committees were
formed to oversee the extension works: 10 members each in Finance Committee and
Technical Committee convened by Mr. Balu Mani & Mr. P S Thomas respectively with
Mr. P V Varghese as the General Convener.