The Sharjah Marthoma Church which started as an extended prayer group of the well-known Dubai Mar Thoma Church in Jebel Ali is now a leading religious centre in the emirate home to over 4,000 parish members. If you are new to the emirate and looking to know more about this parish, read on to discover more about the Sharjah Mar Thoma Church; it’s history, structure and the schedule of services that take place in and around its sacred precinct.
Sharjah Mar Thoma Church: Beliefs and Practices
The Mar Thoma Church originated in Kerala, India, following the traditions of the Syriac church. ‘Mar Thoma’ means ‘Saint Thomas’, and references one of the disciples of Jesus who is believed to have founded the church in India. Marthoma Christians believe themselves to be an extension of the community that Saint Thomas founded. This denomination has a notable presence in the UAE since the 1960s when Marthoma Christians first came to live and work here.
History of the Sharjah Mar Thoma Church
The first wave of Marthoma Christians who came to work in the UAE in the 1960s gathered for worship in Dubai. The Sharjah prayer group, then part of the Mar Thoma Church in Dubai, decided they needed their own church in 1977. Currently, the Mar Thoma Christians who live in the rental villas and flats in Sharjah generally congregate at this parish.
The Diocesan Episcopa Rt. Rev. Dr.Philipose Mar Chrysostom Metropolitan visited Dubai in April 1978 and accepted the proposal to form a new church in Sharjah. The proposal was authorised by Dr Alexander Marthoma Metropolitan in July 1978 and Rev M. V. Thomas was appointed as the first vicar of the Sharjah Marthoma Parish.
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council & Ruler of Sharjah, generously allocated land to build the church complex in 1995.
The church building was consecrated on 26th September, 1997, followed by the first holy communion service two days later.
Subsequent additions have been made to the church complex to accommodate the needs of the growing parish. This includes the Dr. Alexander Mar Thoma Memorial Parish Hall and parsonage in 2001 and the Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Valiya Metropolitan Navathi Hall in 2007.
The church celebrated its silver jubilee in 2003 and continues to support the Marthoma community of Sharjah as well as different charity projects in India.
Sharjah Mar Thoma Church: Worship Services and Programs
The church conducts holy communion services every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Other programs and activities at the church include:
The Sharjah Mar Thoma Church Sunday School has over a thousand students and 110 teachers, a significant growth from the 1970s when the Sunday School first began. This makes it the biggest unit of the Malankara Mar Thoma Sunday School Samajam. Note that Christian children of other denominations are also welcome to join the Sharjah Mar Thoma Church Sunday School.
Sunday School starts with a general assembly, followed by worship. Other activities at this Sunday school include choir practice, arts, verse memorisation, teenagers’ meetings and retreats.
Yuvajana Sakhyam or Youth
Formed in 1979, the Yuvajana Sakhyam at Mar Thoma Church, Sharjah takes part in Christian witness and service to the community. The youth group organises charity projects every year to support development projects in India. They also visit labour camps, jails and hospitals in Sharjah.
The Yuvajana Sakhyama also organises singing, preaching, counselling and other group activities. Every Christmas, they also host an Ecumenical Carol, inviting choirs of different churches in Sharjah to foster the spirit of unity.
Similarly, the Onam Sadhya event is held every year so that Marthoma Christians in Sharjah don’t feel homesick and can continue to enjoy the customs from their homeland.
The Sharjah Mar Thoma Church choir consists of over 120 members. They play a key role during the worship services with beautiful chants, hymns and songs.
Finally, the Sevika Sanghom is another essential part of the Sharjah Marthoma Parish. Since the earliest days of the church, the Sanghom meets together for Bible study, prayer and devotional sessions. These are then reflected in the practical services offered by the group, such as visiting the sick and helping those who are struggling financially. They also conduct cooking classes, medical discussions and arts and crafts presentations.
Since 2001, the Sanghom also conducts an annual one-day conference focussing on specific themes.
Sharjah Mar Thoma Church: Location and Getting There
The church is located in the Yarmook area, near Progressive School. In fact, most churches in Sharjah are located in this area. This is why many Christians in Sharjah prefer to live in the vicinity or rent apartments in Bu Daniq.
The church also offers bus services from different routes in and around Sharjah. These include bus services from Ajman via Al Jurf, from Dubai Satwa Bus Station and from Sajja Camp and Sonapur.
Sharjah Mar Thoma Church Timings
Holy Communion Services
- Thursday: 07:30 pm
- Friday: 07:30 am
- Saturday: 07:30 am
The English holy communion service is conducted on every fourth Friday at 08:00 am.
- Sunday School: Fridays at 10:30 am
- Yuvajana Sakhyam: Saturdays at 08:30 pm
- Sevika Sangham: Wednesdays at 08:30 pm
- Choir Practice: Wednesdays at 8:30 pm
- Fasting Prayer: Fridays at 10:30 am
- Youth Fellowship: Saturdays at 6:30 pm
The combined meeting is held every fourth Saturday at 08:00 pm.
Sharjah Mar Thoma Church Contact
- Rev. Sibi T Mathews (Vicar): +971-6-567-4876 | +971-50-862-7593
- Rev. Joby Thomas Samuel (Asst. Vicar): +971-6-566-8982 | +971-50-546-8909
- Rev. Sajesh Mathews (Youth Chaplain): +971-6-545-4858 | +971-50-221-4400
- Church office: +971-6-566-9868 | +971-6-566-2627
- Bus Service: +971-52-886-3500
This wraps up our guide to the Sharjah Mar Thoma Church. Catholics in Sharjah will be happy to know that the St. Michael’s Catholic Church is also located in the emirate.
We have also compiled a list of churches in Sharjah for all major denominations making it easy for Christian residents to find a congregation that meets their spiritual needs.