Major events in the History of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Sharjah

1973 - St. Thomas Orthodox Syrian Prayer Group, under the patronage of St.Thomas Orthodox Church, Dubai, was formed in Sharjah with 11 members on June 15, 1973. Prayer meetings were held once in every month at the residence of the members, Presided over by Rev. Fr. T.A. Jacob, Vicar of Dubai Church. The first Secretary and Treasurer of the Prayer Group were Mr. Cheeran Varkey and Mr. T.O. Varghese respectively.

1974 - First Anniversary of the formation of the St. Thomas Orthodox Syrian Prayer Group was held on July 19, 1974 after the Holy Mass and feast, presided by Rev Fr. P.M. Mathews. 45 members attended the function. A farewell for Rev. Fr. T.A. Jacob, the founding President of the Prayer group, and a felicitation for our Diocesan Metropolitan, H.G. Mathews Mar Athanasius, was arranged during the year.

1975 - Holy Mass, on the Second Friday of every month was started from March 1975, at the St. Martin’s Church in Sharjah. Second Anniversary was celebrated on July11, 1975.

1976 - Prayer meeting held on February 27, 1976 presided by Rev. Fr. P.M. Mathews discussed various activities of the Prayer Group. A Bank account was opened in the - The First National Bank of Chicago, Sharjah Branch on February 28, 1976 to carryout the Financial transactions of the Prayer group.

Third anniversary of the Prayer Group was held on July 23, 1976, presided by the Metropolitan of the Kollam Diocese, H.G. Mathews Mar Coorilose. 90 members attended the function.

1978 - General Body of the maternal Parish, St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Dubai, presided by Rev. Fr. V.G. Sam, decides to establish a Parish in Sharjah. As recorded in the first annual report of our parish “ A General Body meeting of the Dubai Parish adopted a resolution requesting the Diocesan Metropolitan. H.G. Thomas Mar Makariose, the formation of a new Parish and the appointment of a Vicar. His Grace vide ‘Kalpana’ No. TM 98/78 announced the establishment of the new Parish, naming after the only declared Saint of Malankara, Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church and appointed Rev. Fr. George Panackamattom as the Vicar of this Parish ”

The first meeting of the representatives from various areas of the Parish was held at St.Thomas Orthodox Church, Dubai on January 27, 1978, presided by Rev. Fr. V.G. Sam, Vicar of the maternal Parish and attended by Rev. Fr. P.M. Kuriakose of St. George Orthodox Church, Abu Dhabi. This meeting formulated the initial set-up of the Parish and empowered Rev. Fr. V.G. Sam to follow-up all matters relating to the initial establishment of the Parish. A Managing Committee was elected representing 12 members from various areas of the Parish such as Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujeirah, Khorfakhan, Ras Al Khaimah. The strength of the Parish was 320. Mr. Sunny Varghese Mylapra and Mr. P.C. Simon were the first Secretary and Treasurer of the Parish respectively.

Rev. Fr. George Panackamattom takes charge as the First Vicar of the Parish on August 15, 1978, under the Bombay Diocese with H.G. Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios, as the first Diocesan Metropolitan.

Holy Qurbana was conducted at Sharjah on 1st & 3rd Friday, Fujeirah and Korfakhan on 2nd Friday and Ras Al Khaimah of 4th Friday of the month.

H.G. Mathews Mar Coorilose was the first Metropolitan of our Church, who blessed us with His visit since the formation of the Parish. His Grace also made a Good Will visit to the Ruler of Umm Al Quwain H.H. Saud Bin Rashid Al Mualla and Ruler of Ajman H.H. Sheikh Rashid Bin Humeid Al Nuami. The magnanimous Rulers promised to offer His Grace plot of land for places of worship.

H.G. inaugurated the activities of the Youth League and Martha Mariam Samajm on November 11, 1978.

1979 - With the re-organization of the Dioceses, Sharjah Parish came under Delhi Diocese with H.G. Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios, as the Diocesan Metropolitan. Another notable event was the formation of the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church Charity committee on January 26, 1979. It is a unique feature of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Sharjah, among all the Parishes in the Malankara Orthodox Church to have a full-fledged Charity Committee.

1980 - With-holding the Constitution of the Malankara Orthodox Church of 1934 and the rules and regulations of the U.A.E. federal and local Governments, St. Gregorios Orthodox Church By-law was brought out on June 6, 1980, as a guidance to carryout the Spiritual and Administrative functions of the Parish.

1982 - Rev. Fr. Varghese Chacko was the vicar for a brief period of 6 months before being transferred as Vicar of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Ras-Al-Khaimah in August, 1982. Rev. Fr. P.K. Thomas became the Vicar of the Parish. Rev. Fr. Thomas was instrumental in establishing the UAE Sunday School Association.

1985 - A revised By-law was brought out on July 26, 1985.

1986 - Rev. Fr. Thomas Yohannan, takes charge as Vicar of the Parish.

1988 - We celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of our Parish. To commemorate the event, a Souvenir was published and 10 houses were donated to the poor and needy in Kerala.

1989 - Rev. Fr. C.M. Kuriakose, takes charge as the Vicar of the Parish in 1989.

1990 - A Parish Directory was first published with details of 458 members.

A special conference of the Orthodox Youth Movement of the UAE zone was organized at our Parish. H.G. Dr. Geeverghese Mar Osthatheos, the President of the Malanakra Orthodox Youth Movement was the Chief Guest. More than 400 delegates from all over UAE participated in the conference.

1992 - The By-law was revised and brought out on December 26, 1992.

1993 - H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, allocates land as a gift for the Church building. Rev. Fr. Jacob Abraham takes charge as the Vicar of the Parish.

1994 - H.G. Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios, our Diocesan Metropolitan laid the foundation for the Church building on July 2, 1994. Construction was started immediately with the incessant guidance and support of our Diocesan Metropolitan, and under the direct supervision of the Managing Committee, headed by Vicar Rev. Fr. Jacob Abraham. With the wholehearted efforts of the Parishioners, their financial contributions and above all, the intercession of our Patron Saint, St. Gregorios of Parumala, we were able to complete the work in a record time of Nine months. M/s. Shaharco Contracting Company, Sharjah carried out the construction of the Parish.

1995 - With the Blessings of God Almighty, the new Parish building was consecrated on March 30 / March 31, 1995 by H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews II assisted by H.G. Job Mar Philoxenos, H.G. Philipose Mar Eusebius, Paulose Mar Militheus and Priests from other Orthodox Parishes in UAE. It was a memorable event in the history of the Parish. Public meeting was held in the evening on March 31, 1995 attended by Indian Ambassador, Consul General and various local Government dignitaries. From a small congregation of less than 11 members in 1973, it has reached more than 500 members by 1995.

Orthodox Youth Movement - UAE zonal conference was organized at our Parish.

1996 - Our Beloved Metropolitan, H.G. Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios, did not live longer to see the progress of the Parish. His Grace Entered into Eternal Peace on November 24, 1996.
H.G. Job Mar Philoxinos, the then Asst. Metropolitan, takes charge as Acting Metropolitan of the Diocese.

Rev. Fr. Sam P. George had been given the mantle to lead the Parish as the new Vicar from May 1996.

1997 - Foundation stone for the Parish Hall cum Parsonage Complex, was laid on April 18, 1997, by the Acting Metropolitan of the Diocese, H.G. Job Mar Philoxinos assisted by H.G. Kuriakose Mar Clemis and H.G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos. Many members contributed Dhs.250/- each and loans were raised among members for financing the project. Construction was carried out by M/s. Mzoon Contracting Company, Sharjah and M/s. Singh Associates, Sharjah, was the consultant.
A Fourth revised edition of the Parish directory was published with details of 590 members.

1998 - Annual Harvest Festival and Cultural program was started in 1998, which was an immense success for raising fund for Parish Hall cum Parsonage complex. Blessing ceremony of the complex was held on November 5, 1998. As a fitting tribute to a Great leader, the Parish Hall was named, Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios Memorial Hall, in memory of our late Metropolitan.

Celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Parish on 6th November1998 with a public meeting attended by many dignitaries. A commemorative Souvenir was released on the occasion.

St. Gregorios Orthodox Church By-law was revised on November 15, 1998.

Orthodox Youth Movement - UAE zonal conference was organized at our Parish

1999 - An eventful year in the history of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Sharjah. We were in the threshold of entering a new era, the Third millennium. Truly on a democratic set-up, ballot paper was first used, during the election of the Managing Committee for the year 1999.

Rev. Fr. John Daniel became the Vicar of the Parish from May 1999.

2000 - Fifth revised edition of the Parish Directory, with photos and details of 746 members, was published.

Group life insurance Scheme for Parish members commenced - yet another unique feature among the Orthodox Parishes.

Various charity projects, to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the establishment of our Parish in 2003 - A housing project of 25 houses for the poor and needy in Kerala, 100 Sewing machines as self employment scheme for poor widows in Kerala and Construction of the Administrative block for the Shantigram Project under the Delhi Diocese, a people centered project for the rural community covered by 8 villages, at Mandavar in Haryana, India - were commenced and planned for inauguration during the Jubilee celebrations in 2003

H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II, The Catholicose of the East, was felicitated on His visit to our Parish.

2001 - Our Parish made tremendous growth during this period. Number of Registered members of the Parish has reached more than 1000. In an effort to reduce the hassles of Book keeping of the Member’s data and Accounts, Church Membership Account was computerized during 2001.

Orthodox Youth Movement - UAE zonal conference was organized at our Parish on October 14, 2001. A record number of 500 delegates attended the conference from UAE.

Election rules & Procedures for the election of the Managing committee & Charity Committee were introduced during the year.

An yearlong Centenary celebrations, of the of the Holy Demise of Parumala Mar Gregorios was inaugurated on 2nd November 2001.

2002 - As part of the celebrations to commemorate the Centenary of the Holy Demise of our Patron Saint, Gold Coins of 8 grams and 5 grams, with the portrait of St.Gregorios embossed on it, was released in May 2002.

Rev. Fr. Y. Thomas takes charge as the Vicar from June 1, 2002.

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