Abu Dhabi

Photos: Majlis doors open for Christians this Easter in UAE

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com Filed on April 20, 2019 | Last updated on April 20, 2019 at 06.40 am
Photos: Majlis doors open for Christians this Easter in UAE

Bishop Yakob Mar Elias led prayer service at Adnoc's Hill Top tent in Ruwais.



Adnoc's gesture to permit Easter service at its Hill Top tent has come as big relief for Christian expats.

This is an unforgettable Easter Week for hundreds of Christian expats residing in Ruwais and remote corners of the western regions of Abu Dhabi. As the believers of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church have no place to offer prayers, the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has offered its facility to be used for conducting services of Good Friday, Easter Vigil and the big feast on Easter this Sunday.

It was last year that Adnoc unveiled major developmental plans for Ruwais City, which is known for its oil refineries. Adnoc has built Ruwais Housing Complex with residential units, shopping centres, schools and other services. There are two temporary churches inside the complex for Coptic and Catholic believers. Followers of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church usually offered prayers at the premises of Coptic Orthodox Church but the festive week made it difficult for shared services.

Adnoc's gesture to permit Easter service at its Hill Top tent has come as big relief for Christian expats. Moreover, Bishop Yakob Mar Elias, Metropolitan of the Brahmavar Diocese, is in Ruwais from India to preside over the services.

"Since we don't have a church in Ruwais, there are many believers from Madinat Zayed, Ghiyathi, Al Sila and other border areas who would have missed these services. Thanks to the Adnoc authorities, they can all get together and offer prayers at their majlis. We highly appreciate their gesture in the Year of Tolerance. We thank the UAE leadership for their magnanimity and will always keep them in our prayers," the priest said.

Some 300 faithful were part of services arranged by the St George Orthodox Cathedral Abu Dhabi at Hill Top tent. Father Benny Mathew of St George Orthodox Cathedral said it was a great opportunity for expats to avail service conducted by a bishop. "Adnoc's service is a blessing for the community. This adds to the celebratory mood."

Jose Tharakan, St George Orthodox Cathedral's coordinator in Ruwais and an Adnoc employee, said the state-owned company's initiative is a blessing for expats in Al Dhafra. "This is for first-time that we have been allotted the tent for an entire week. This will help those from different communities and nationalities to follow their traditions this Easter. Bishop being here is a blessed moment for all of us. There is more good news as both temporary churches will give way to permanent ones. While construction of Catholic Church has started and foundation stone for Coptic Church is laid," Tharakan added.



Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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