The Saint Elias Greek Orthodox Cathedral was inaugurated in Abu Dhabi on Saturday by the Minister of Tolerance, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, and in the presence of Patriarch John X Yazigi, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, The National reports.
The new religious edifice is situated in Abu Dhabi’s Al Mussafah industrial area. The land plot was a donation of the UAE leadership to signify the country’s respect for values of tolerance, love and peace.
Sheikh Nahyan thanked Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for their support in the project of founding the new church in Abu Dhabi.
“Our presence together in this spiritual celebration is a strong affirmation of the special and strong relationship between the UAE and Lebanon, which is always based on the ideal values and common principles we cherish together,” Sheikh Nahyan said.
Patriarch John X expressed his gratitude to the president for his generous support noting that in this way the message of tolerance and co-existence is spread around the world.
“The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s legacy has instilled within UAE society the values of peaceful co-existence, tolerance, and respect for all beliefs and cultures, which has been carried forward by the UAE leadership,” the Patriarch added.
The inauguration of Saint Elias Cathedral was attended by Arab and foreign ambassadors, dignitaries, and members of the Greek Orthodox Church.
At the conclusion of the inauguration ceremony, Patriarch John X offered Sheikh Nahyan a commemorative gift.
Construction works for the new church were launched in 2014 and were inaugurated by Patriarch John X at the site. The area is also the location of several newly erected churches, including Saint Paul Catholic Church and Saint Martyrs’ Armenian Orthodox Church.
Saint Elias Greek Orthodox Cathedral is expected to serve about 1,300 worshippers and will be under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All The East (also known as the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchate), an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church, currently headquartered in Damascus, Syria, within the wider communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity.