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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.

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Reaching out…

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.

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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.

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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 III.
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.

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Evolution...

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Catholic Church.
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.

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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.

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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.

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Silver Jubilee

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 Parumala.
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.

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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 parish.
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.

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