It is a matter of great privilege and honour to present a brief history of the Syro Malabar Church in Qatar as well as the movement leading to the fulfilment of a large Syro Malabar community in the Arabian Gulf country of Qatar. The illustrious example set by this community continues to inspire our faithful in other countries in the Arabian Gulf region.
Responding to the encouragement, guidance and assistance provided by the hierarchy of Syro Malabar Church, our community in Qatar accomplished their great dream of having a permanent church of their own for worship in our own tradition, heritage and liturgy. Among the many who served and led the community with their selfless services in gulf, we find a few prominent men who led the Syro Malabar Community in the fore-front, whose selfless and dedicated leadership was inevitable in the community building up activity.
Migration in search of means of life is common among humans; and as a community Syro Malabar faithful from Kerala are in the forefront of this movement. The uniqueness of our flock is the assiduous up keeping of the light of faith and tradition they have received from their parents; and the eagerness to practice the same and to bequeath these invaluable gifts to their new generation. Syro Malabar Catholics who thus reached the gulf countries began efforts to explore the possibilities to practice their faith at their place of residence in the gulf.
In the early days, arrangements were practically nil for Christians to pray together in Qatar. In spite of these limitations, our faithful used to congregate in small numbers to pray together and to keep alive their faith. This spirit gathered momentum leading to the visits of Catholic priests of British nationality, who did not require visa to arrive in Qatar, at the invitation of Catholics to celebrate Holy Mass in private premises/homes.
The seed laid by our people began to sprout in this desert; and the British priests took initiative with the local authorities for permission to offer their services to Catholic faithful. Later, by the middle of 1970s priests began to come from the Vicariate of Arabia in Abu Dhabi. Thus a Roman Catholic Mission under the Vicariate of Arabia came into existence in Qatar.
The number of Indians in these regions began to grow leading to a natural growth of Christian faithful including the Syro Malabar faithful. Catholic faithful utilized the limited services of the Roman Catholic Mission
Changes across the world brought its movements to Qatar also with more facilities granted to Christian faithful over a period of time. Making use of this change, other Christian communities, mainly Indian Churches, began churches, at temporary rented premises, brought priests and began to function like de facto parishes. Of the several members of our community who served the Catholic Church during this period, Mr. Siby Joseph Vaniapurackal hailing from Changanacherry Archdiocese needs special mention. To recognize his services, he was bestowed with the title of Order of Silvester Papa (Cheviliar) by the Holy Father at the request of the then Vicar Apostolic of Arabia Bishop Bernard Gremoli OFM.
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