Orthodox Church in Doha has a history of more than 70 years. People from Kerala started to arrive here as oil exploration started in the year 1939. Since 1940, priests from Bahrain used to visit Doha via Dukhan using British mini aircrafts visiting for business purposes and conducted holy services. In the beginning all Christian denominations joined together and started community prayers. As time passed, more members from Orthodox churches arrived and felt to have their own church and traditional prayers as followed in Kerala.
During the year 1973, members of our Doha congregation approached H.Ga. Mathews Mar Athanasius, Metropolitan of outside Kerala with this request and His Grace issued a Kalpana on 20th September 1973 declaring a parish named “Malankara St. Thomas Orthodox Parish”.
HG appointed Rev. Fr. C.C. Gheevarghese as the first vicar for the new parish and was succeeded by Rev. Fr. M. T. Easo, Rev. Fr. Joseph Mankidiyil, Rev. Fr. A.M. Peter, Rev. Fr. Joseph Kalapurayil and Rev. Fr. Yunan Mulamootil till 1988. The Parish was at the residence of Late Mr. Baby Kongalam and Orthodox Parish cannot forget his devoted services to Orthodox Church in Qatar. What we are now is the result of sacrifices done by late Mr. Baby Kongalam.Rev. Fr. C.C. Geevarghese was the vicar of Bahrain Church also and in the beginning he used to come once in six weeks and conduct Holy Qurbana.
This practice was continued for a long time. As number of members increased, frequency of visits of priests from Bahrain had increased to once in three weeks. During the year 1988 Rev. Fr. George Joseph was appointed as a full time vicar for the parish.
Mar Gregorious Orthodox Parish was established during the year 1990 and St. Mary’s Orthodox Parish in 1995. Until the establishment of the new Church with the consecration ceremony held on 2,3rd July 2009, the three Orthodox Parishes were independently serving the orthodox community in Doha.
A new place of worship for Malankara Orthodox Church in Doha
The New Church Interior
The new church built for Malankara Orthodox Church in the deserts of Arabia, with the approval of the rulers of Qatar,was consecrated under the name Malankara Orthodox Church Doha (MOC Doha). The members of St. Thomas, Mar Gregorios and St. Mary’s parishes of Doha came under the banner of Malankara Orthodox Church Construction Committee to build this church which can accommodate up to 1500 people at a time. The building consisting of 1968 sq.mt.has the Parish hall, two parsonages, guest room, conference hall, office room etc. at the ground floor.
Seven buildings are constructed on 12,861 sq. Meter land given free of cost by the government of Qatar to the Inter Denominational Christian Church (IDCC) Doha. 28 different Christian denominations conduct their worship here. The foundation stone for the church was laid on 23rd December 2005 by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan of Mumbai Diocese. An amount of Qatar Riyals 9 million (Rs. 12 crores) was spend on the construction.
The consecration ceremony of July 2nd and 3rd 2009 started with the arrival of lamp from St. Thomas Parish, Censor from Mar Gregorios and Flag from St, Mary’s as a true symbol of unity of the three parishes. The Metropolitans and guests were received at the main entrance of IDCC complex and led to the church in ceremonial procession. The public meeting started after the flag hoisting, opening of the main church entrance, lighting of the lamp and offering of the first censor.
H. G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilose presided over the public meeting which was inauguarated by H.H. Thomas Mar Athanasios, Metroplitan of Chengannur Diocese. Felicitation addresses were given by H.G. Dr. Mathews Mas Savarios, H. E. Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa –Indian Ambassador to Qatar, Fr. Jose Thachukunnel – president of Ecumenical Clergy Fellowship Doha, Rev. Fr. T J Joshua – Former Vice-Princopal of Orthodox Theological Seminary and Mr. K C Cherian – IDCC Co-ordinator. Mr. M B Thomas – Convenor of Church Construction Committee presented the working report and Mr. George Pothen – IDCC Chief Co-ordinator placed on record the efforts put in by all in completing the church building. Rev. Fr. Thomas Myalil – Convenor of Consecration Committee gave the welcome speech and Mr. George Thomas- General Convenor of Consecration Committee proposed the vote of thanks.
At the conclusion of evening prayer, Mr. K S Varghese – Secretary of Church Construction Committee handed over the keys of the Church to H. G. Thomas Mar Athanasios which was then handed over to the Diocesan Metropolitan, the Diocesan Bishop to the Vicar and finally the Vicar to the Church Trusty – Mr. M P Philip.
The Metropolitans were assisted during the 2 days of the consecration ceremony by Rev. Fr. Joseph Mankidi – Past Vicar; Rev. Fr, P C Thomas, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Stephen, Rev. Fr. George Abraham and Rev. Fr. M E Joseph, all vicars during the construction stage of the church. Besides Priests from Syro-Malabar, Marthoma, CSI, Knanaya, Malankara Catholic rite etc were participated. The 55 member Choir for the ceremoy was trained and led by Rev. Fr. M P George – Director of Shruthi School of Liturgical music.
Holy Qurbana is conducted in the Church on Friday (morning and evening), & Saturday (evening). The Intercession prayer for St. Mary is on Wednesday and for Parumala Mar Gregorios on Thursday. The church celebrates August 15th as the feast of St. Mary, November 2nd as the feast of Parumala Mar Gregorios and December 21st as the feast of St. Thomas.
The church which is under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Santhosh Varghese – Vicar and Rev. Fr. Koshy George – Assistant Vicar is managed by 15 member Working Committee and 42 member Managing Committee. The Spiritual organisations like Sunday School, Bala Samajam, MGOCSM, Youth Movement, Martha Mariam Samajam, Elders Forum, Medical Forum, Prayer Group, Divyabodhanam, Shruthi, AMOS are very active.