Christianity in the United Arab Emirates

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Christians account for 13 percent of the total population of the United Arab Emirates, according to a ministry report, which collected census data.[1][2] The Christian population in the UAE is exclusively made up of foreign expatriate workers; there are no Christian Emirati citizens.[citation needed]

The government recognises various Christian denominations.[3] Christians are free to worship and wear religious clothing, if applicable. The country has Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox churches along with Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.[4]

Among the Protestant denominations in the country are the Christian Brethren, the Coptic Evangelical Church and the Evangelical Alliance Church.[5] Other denominations are the Arab Evangelical Church of Dubai, Dubai City Church, Fellowship of the Emirates, and the United Christian Church of Dubai.[6] The Anglican Communion is represented by the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.

The importation and sale of religious material is allowed; however, attempts to spread Christianity among Muslims are not permitted. Non-Muslim religious leaders reported that customs authorities rarely questioned the entry of religious materials such as Bibles and hymnals into the country.[3] Christian men are not allowed to marry Muslim women.[3][7] Conversion from Islam is not permitted.[3][7] In spite of this, a 2015 study estimated some 200 believers in Christ from a Muslim background, though not all of those are necessarily citizen of the UAE.[8] Public schools have no Christian religious education.

On December 25, 2007, the President's Religious Affairs Advisor Al Sayyed Ali al-Hashemi participated in Anglican Church celebrations of Christmas.[3][9]

Eastern Orthodoxy[edit]

Eastern Orthodox Christians in UAE traditionally belong to the jurisdiction of Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East. Eastern Orthodox parishes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi were organized in 1980 by late Metropolitan Constantine Papastephanou of Baghdad and Kuwait (1969-2014), who also had ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Eastern Orthodox in UAE.[10] Since 1989, parish in Abu Dhabi was administered by priest Stephanos Neaimeh. After the retirement of Metropolitan Constantine in 2014, the Holy Synod of Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch decided to establish an Exarchate for Eastern Orthodox in UAE. In the same time, auxiliary Bishop Gregorios Khoury was appointed head of the newly established Exarchate, subjected directly to Patriarch John X of Antioch who personally visited UAE in the spring of 2014 and inaugurated the construction of new Eastern Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Elias in Abu Dhabi.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "United Arab Emirates: International Religious Freedom Report 2007". U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  2. ^ "United Arab Emirates: International Religious Freedom Report 2006". U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 2006-09-15. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "United Arab Emirates". Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ World Christian Encyclopedia, 2001 edition, Volume 1, page 771/772
  6. ^ "Who is DECC". Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ Johnstone, Patrick; Miller, Duane Alexander (2015). "Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census". IJRR. 11: 17. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Memory Eternal: Metropolitan Constantine (Papastephanou)
  11. ^ Eastern Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Elias in Abu Dhabi

External links[edit]