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.
Construction of the parsonage, new parsonage complex and parish hall were some of the projects of the parish in the years followed. When the existing Church building proved to be too small for the ever increasing members, foundation stone for a new Church was laid on 5th Jul 1991 by L.L H.G Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios. The Church building was completed in record time and was consecrated by H.H. Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II of blessed memory on 12th June 1992, assisted by the Late Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios, Late H.G. Stephanos Mar Theodosious, H.G. Kuriakose Mar Clemis and Late H.G. Job Mar Philoxenos. The new office complex, comprising offices, sextonage, library, mini hall and stores was constructed in 1998 and was blessed by the Late H.H. Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II.
H.H. Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II of blessed memory, the then Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, seated on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas, elevated the Dubai St. Thomas Orthodox Church to the position of ‘Great Church’ in an Encyclical Bull and proclaimed it as ‘St. Thomas Orthodox Great Church’ during the Apostolic visit to the Parish in October 2003.
Again, in 2006, the church building was re-constructed with more space and a balcony, and was consecrated on 22nd December 2006 by L.L H.G Basellios Marthoma Didimos I, the then Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, assisted by H.G Kuriakose Mar Clemis and H.G Geevarghese Mar Coorilose. On this date, the Great Church was also elevated to the position of the Seat of the Diocesan Head, and named at as ‘St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral’ by the H.H. the Catholicos.
In 2014, a new multi-storied complex was opened adjacent to the Church, that include a large auditorium, Sunday School office, management office, conference rooms, mini halls, kitchen and other amenities. The complex was consecrated by Diocesan Metropolitan H.G Dr. Yuhanon Mar Demetrios on 22nd November 2013.