St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral Dubai today has emerged as one of the most prominent parishes in the Malankara Orthodox Church. The parish with a strength of more than 3500, surges ahead day by day by the grace of the Almighty and the intercession of the patron saints, St. Mary, St. Thomas, St. Gregorios of Parumala and St. Dionysius.
St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral Dubai is affiliated to Delhi Diocese of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, with Diocesan Metropolitan H.G Dr. Yuhanon Mar Demetrios, Vicar Rev. Fr. Shaji Mathew & Asst. Vicar Rev. Fr. Lany Chacko.
The first Malankara Orthodox congregation in Dubai was officially inaugurated on 2nd December 1968, by the then Bahrain Vicar Rev. Fr. K.K. Punnoose (L.L H.G Stephanos Mar Thevodosios). Initially, the congregation was named St. Thomas Orthodox Association and weekly gatherings were conducted at the residences of its members. Later on, as the membership increased, the congregation began to gather at the Women’s Society Hall, situated in Deira, near Fish Round About.
The Emirate of Dubai, then under the British rule, was strategically located in the Middle East and was famous for its historic trading traditions. The oil boom in the 1960s and 1970s enticed traders, visitors, and job-seekers on a large scale, who began to settle in Dubai, the already established trading hub of the region. The steady influx of people from Kerala in the following years made the number of Malankara Orthodox Church members from Kerala, a large community in Dubai. As the membership of the congregation steadily increased, the need for a formal church building became inevitable, and representations were made to the authorities concerned in this regard.
The first Metropolitan to visit Dubai was H.G Thomas Mar Timothios (H.H Marthoma Didimos I) in 1969. Later on, H.G Mathews Mar Coorilos (L.L H.H Marthoma Mathews II) visited Dubai and requested Dubai Ruler H.H Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum for land to construct a Church. Following that, H.G Mathews Mar Athanasios (L.L H.H Marthoma Mathews 1) visited Dubai on 1972, and again requested Dubai Ruler for land to construct a Church.
The St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral Dubai, situated in plot No. B-21, Zabeel East Area, today stands as a magnificent testimony of the magnanimity of H.H. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the then Ruler of Dubai who gifted the plot of land on April 25, 1972. The first Church building which could accommodate around 300 people was consecrated in 1976 by Late H.G. Joseph Mar Pachomios.
Source: The church’s website