About the UAE MCC

 

We have sufficient and reasonable evidence to think that Malankara Catholic presence has been in the Arabian Peninsula only towards the later part of the 1900s, especially when we think of it in the scenario of the Re- Union leadership of Geevarghese Mar Ivanios Metropolitan of Bethany in 1930. Their presence, valuable appreciation, and valid consideration of their mother-church are to be acknowledged as the reasons for a gross portion of the onward growth and development, in spiritual and temporal aspects, here and elsewhere. It is a particular quality of the malankarites that they are proud to be reckoned in their own ecclesial identity. The apostolic beginning, Catholic faith, Holy nature, and the state of being One are the essential qualities of the Church of Christ, and this church qualifies herself in all these essential qualities. The essential font of the Church is Jesus Christ himself. Thomas the apostle carried this font along with him, as the other apostles did in relation to their own places of mission, to the Indies and established ecclesial communities alongside the costal and inside of the hill countries of the present civil state of Kerala, India. It is in this background that the ancient Christians of this part of India are called Mar Thoma Christians and referred to as Nazarenee.

 

Ever since their arrival in the land of UAE the malankarites were keen in realizing their identity, of course, in very limited circumstances amidst many restrictions and even in spite of difficult and tough experiences. This is the evidence of their faithfulness and loyalty to their Church that they keep as the apple of their eyes. Their religious interference has been sporadic, in the early stages, but solid to the core of their convictions and substantial to their faith commitment. For the matter of their liturgical life they made use of whatever has been conveniently available for them along with practicing their personal and common prayers.

 

In 1988 when Reverend Doctor Abraham Kakkanat (now Bishop Abraham Mar Julios) visited UAE he came because of his personal reference to some persons and families among the Malankaraites. It was his good thought and great counsel that initiated the formation of a Malankara Catholic community in the UAE for the first time. He was the Rector of the Malankara major seminary at that time. He was well received and his mission well appreciated. We give thanks to the Almighty for the kind of pursuance and vision Mar Julios has been endowed with, and still is. It gave a great impetus to many and communities were formed in different place and common prayers started, though informally.

 

Acknowledgment is verily due to all those opened their doors courageously and generously to pray together, with very rare occurrences of the Eucaristia. Their integral dedication to faith and tradition has been manifested in and through their determination to stay together for the cause of “may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you,” the very purpose of God becoming Man.    

Occasional personal or in transit visits by priests (Reverend Father Daniel Vadakkekkara, now raised to the dignity of Cor-Episcopa and a few others) had been moments of encouragement for the Diaspora. The fraternity here had always been keen in appreciating such visits. However a visit by Corepiscopa Geevarghese Mannikkarott has been a big boost and reinforcement for the Malankara Catholic presence in the emirates. He gave some guidelines and explained some specifications about building up communities and conducting prayers so as to maintain the ecclesial traditions and safeguard the liturgical heritage. It is relevant and essential to acknowledge that it has been the deep conviction and hard work of the lay faithful that came up with great spiritual thrust to nurture the seed of faith here. So it is appropriate to think that Paul the apostle should be the patron saint proper to the Malankara mission in Arabia. We have six communities spread over in five of the seven Emirates. They are Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, according to the alphabetic order of the names of places. Persons in the other two emirates join to their nearby communities.         

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