Abdullah Bin Anees St-21st St - Halwan SuburbAl Yarmook
Sharjah, Sharjah United Arab Emirate
The advent of Orthodox Christians from Malankara (Kerala) to the Gulf began with the development of the Gulf countries. Bahrain at that time was the most developed country in the Gulf and it was the first country to commercially produce Oil in the 1950s. The first Orthodox Church established in the Gulf was St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Bahrain.
With the finding of oil in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, people from many countries of the sub-continent started coming to these places in search of job opportunities. Among them were many Orthodox Christians from Kerala, who were employed in Government and Private organizations. They formed prayer groups for their spiritual needs and were frequently visited by the Vicars from St.Mary’s Orthodox Church, Bahrain. St. George Orthodox Church, Abu Dhabi and St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Dubai, were the early congregations to be established in the UAE under the patronage of St.Mary’s Orthodox Church, Bahrain.
In 1970, at the time of elevation of St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Dubai as a Parish, a large number of its members lived in Sharjah. Their travel to Dubai for attending the Holy Mass at Women’s Society Hall in Dubai was a great ordeal. So, in the year 1973, a group of the Orthodox Church members from Sharjah formed a Prayer Group, under the patronage of St.Thomas Orthodox Church, Dubai. Prayer meetings were held once in a month, at the residence of those members, under the leadership of the Vicar from Dubai Church. This prayer group was the forerunner for the formation of the present St. Gregorios Orthodox Church in Sharjah.