Taking You through the Beautiful Churches in Abu Dhabi
The first thing that comes to our minds while talking about this mighty city is the oil depot that made it prosperous over the years. This beautiful oil exporting city has beautiful mosques, skyscrapers, man-made islands, and breath-taking beautiful gardens, the sand dunes, riding on a camel, desert safari and many more. This global settlement homes people of various religions. Amongst the famous and beautifully sculptured mosques, Abu Dhabi has some of the most alluring Churches. As a matter of fact, 13% of the total population of United Arab Emirates are Christians. Well, that’s a huge figure, isn’t it? Christian praying houses are equally admired with utmost faith and peace amidst the Muslim neighbours in the United Arab Emirates. This is one of the very unique and rare phenomena seen and heard in Abu Dhabi that makes the residents of this place more admirable. Christian praying houses are equally admired with utmost faith and peace amidst the Muslim neighbours in the United Arab Emirates. This is one of the very unique and rare phenomena seen and heard in Abu Dhabi that makes the residents of this place more admirable.
Abu Dhabi shows a brilliant picture of the diversity of cultures through the juxtaposition of centenarian mosques and prepossessing churches. This reflects the real and rich religious bonding among them. Abu Dhabi is a modern city is also known for its beautiful churches. The number of churches is growing day by day in the United Arab Emirates. According to research, in 2005 there were 24 churches. The number increased to 40 in the recent years. You will be overwhelmed to see those wonderful churches around Abu Dhabi and their unity in diversity. In a world, where Government and other institutions have been facing problems and crisis, the United Arab Emirates held its head high, in terms of diversity, tolerance of cultures and peace. It has become the global icon of unity and progress in a very short span of time. Let us do a detailed study of the beautiful churches of Abu Dhabi, before your next trip. Hold your seats, or fasten your seat belts as it can take your breath away!
Here are glimpses of the most renowned churches in Abu Dhabi for you:
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
St. Joseph’s Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Abu Dhabi. It is the only Catholic Church in Abu Dhabi, besides St. Paul’s Church in Musaffah. This beautiful church is located near the intersection point of Airport Road (Street 2) and the Seventeenth Street. The construction work of the first church in Abu Dhabi was started in 1963 in the month of October. In the month of February 1964, the foundation stone was laid on the plot of land along the present Corniche. This plot of land was generously donated by Mr. H.H. Sheikh Shakbut. He was the ruler of Abu Dhabi during that period. On 19th February 1965, the first church was inaugurated. On March 1981, the church was, then, relocated to its present location. In February 1983, the church was transformed into Cathedral. St. Joseph’s Cathedral served the Roman Catholic Vicariate Apostolic of Southern Arabia. The Bishop Bernard G. Gremoli was then the resident bishop. Masses are conducted in different languages, primarily in English. Urdu, Arabic, French, Tamil and various other languages are also followed during the masses. With a rise in population, the church witnessed a steady increase in the number of faithful devotees. Till date, the church has over 100000 Catholic devotees.
St. George Orthodox Cathedral
Orthodox, as the name suggests, St. George Orthodox Cathedral is one of the most conservative and traditional churches in Abu Dhabi. On 7th August 1970, the foundation stone of this church was laid at Khaldiya. The stone was laid by the then ruler of Abu Dhabi, H.H. Mr. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. His Highness, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan graciously granted the plot of land in the Khaldiya area. The construction work of the first church was completed on 1st December 1971. The construction expenses were met with the compensation granted by the then-generous ruler of Abu Dhabi. In the early days, the total membership strength of the church was only 89. This was a very humble beginning for the church. The church building was relocated to present premises. This relocation was entirely done as per the instructions of the Government Authorities. There is a library inside the church premises. The library offers an opulent collection of valuable and popular books. The Church complex comprises of the splendid traditional church, Sunday school hall, community room, parsonage, guest room and many other rooms. The contribution of the priests’ welfare funds was also very remarkable. The church has also donated funds for the marriage of the underprivileged ladies, for the construction of houses for the poor, deprived and needy people, irrespective of race, caste, and creed.
Evangelical Community Church
The Evangelical Community Church is located on the Karamah Street (24th Street) towards the Corniche from Shakhbout bin Sultan Street (19th Street). The church is located on the fourth block on the right. It is believed to be the local church of God in Abu Dhabi. This community church was started in 1972. A large number of people from all nations visited this church on a daily basis. The church believed in the words of Bible. There is a bookstore inside the church. It is managed by the Bible Society.
St. Paul’s Church, Mussafah
The churchgoers of St. Paul’s Church, Musaffah are a part of Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia. It is a territorial jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Oman. St. Paul’s Church is the second Catholic Church built in Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates. The land donation for the church was graciously done by the generous rulers of Abu Dhabi in November 2011. The foundation stone for the church was laid on 29th June 2013. The complex of the church was completed within a time range of 2 years. On 11th June 2015, the complex was inaugurated by his Highness, H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan. This church was built to serve the needs of the largest Catholic community in Musaffah.
Abu Dhabi Pentecostal Church
Abu Dhabi Pentecostal Church was founded in 1978. Abu Dhabi Pentecostal Academy was formed with only 15 members. Pastor Manniyattu Thomas George was one of the founding members of the church. This church is located on the Al Dhafra Street in Abu Dhabi. This church is renowned for its fun, loving and above all authentic people.
St. Andrew’s Church
The St. Andrew’s Church was built in 1968 on the beach of Abu Dhabi. It was relocated in 1984 to the centre of Abu Dhabi Island. This church was built on a land donated by the then Ruler of Abu Dhabi. It is located in the Al Mushrif Area. The location is just next to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It is now the home of over 10000 worshippers every week.
Abu Dhabi Assembly of God Church
The Abu Dhabi Assembly of God Church basically belongs to Tamil District Council of South India Assemblies of God. This church is located in the Mussafah area, United Arab Emirates. The church is under the efficient leadership of Rev. Jayadev Jayaraj Samuel. It focuses on the spiritual growth of the believers. This is mainly done by the systematic teaching of the Bible. The services are mainly conducted in two languages. The morning teaching is done in the English language, while the afternoon or evening teaching classes are done in the Tamil language. With the rise in the economy, the church is also growing day by day.
Mar Thoma Church
The Mar Thoma (St. Thomas) Christians of Malabar (Kerala) were the earliest Christian communities in the world. There is a belief that Mar Thoma built seven churches in the Chera kingdom of Kerala. These churches continued to make an impact around the neighbouring areas. Though very little is known about their conditions. This church is neither a Protestant church nor an orthodox church. It is called a ‘bridge church’ between the western and eastern religious traditions.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also known as the LDS Church or rather called the Mormon Church unofficially. It has the total member strength of 1500 devotees who follow the scriptures of Bible and their own religious texts which are written in the Book of Mormon. A half-acre land was donated by the then Crowned Prince for the church.
Abu Dhabi Apostolic Church
Abu Dhabi Apostolic Church was established on 20th September 1991. It was built with a vision which was given to Rev. Dr. Joseph Raj Kumar. New members, souls, and families started coming within weeks. But, the main problem here was space. The space was very limited and was not enough to accommodate a large number of worshippers. So Raj Kumar approached St. Andrews Church in Abu Dhabi. He requested for a hall to worship in the church. During that period, there were many vacant halls. So, the request of the Apostolic Church was immediately sanctioned. The progress, growth, and unity of this church were very remarkable over the past years. We pray that the church continues to flourish like this in the future.
The Armenian Church of Abu Dhabi
There are around 3000 ethnic Armenians in the United Arab Emirates. Previously, they either went to St. Andrews Church, or to some Armenian church in Sharjah. His Highness, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak opened a The Armenian Church of Abu Dhabi. This place of worship was opened with a vision that it would serve the needs of the Armenian community. Such actions will ensure the stronger relationship between the Armenian Community and the United Arab Emirates.
All Saints Anglican Church
The All Saints Anglican Church is located in Musaffah area. It was generously donated by the UAE President, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The construction work is still going on. Only two-third part of the construction work is done. It all started back in 2014. It has the capacity to accommodate around 4000 worshippers, once completed. The total cost of the church is estimated to be 20 million UAE dirhams. The project is expected to be completed by December.
The other remarkable churches who have made an impact in Abu Dhabi religious bonding are Brethren Church Centre, New Vision Tamil Church, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, St. Elias Orthodox Church and many other notable churches.
A church is a peaceful institution for the believers to connect themselves to the almighty. Apart from the religious activities that the church conducts, it has a lot of influence on the social and religious interaction of the residents. It brings loyalty and the power of belonging to the members. In Abu Dhabi, there is a cacophony of sound where the Christians hymn songs and choruses get gelled with Islamic call to prayers. This unique phenomenon is possible through ministry building which seeks to serve the local community. It includes sharing meals, and above all, being present in both situations- sadness and joy. This strengthens the bond between the people of all communities residing in Abu Dhabi.
Next time, when you visit Abu Dhabi, the churches should definitely be on your priority list. As a travel organiser, we recommend two types of trips for the churches in Abu Dhabi-
- One whole day trip to the wonderful churches around Abu Dhabi
- The church trip can be clubbed with other day trips around Abu Dhabi.
The choice is entirely yours! We have some efficient, knowledgeable and humoured tour guides in Abu Dhabi. Our guides will give you an amazing and memorable tour of the renowned churches. Don’t worry at all, if you have not done your homework on the churches. The prime focus of our tour guides is to take you through the history of all these churches. Your quench for knowledge will be well satiated by them. Our effective and systematic tour guides are very well versed in the history and other related information of each and every church in Abu Dhabi. We provide hotel pick up facilities at your scheduled time. At the end of the trip, our guides will drop you back to your hotel.