How did the Story Begin?
As early as the year 2002, the idea of building a church in Dubai was initiated by Father Esizoros Ava Bishoy, the Archbishop Anba Abraham and Coptic church leaders, and the request was approved by the UAE government on October 6, 2002. In April 2003, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, kindly gifted us a land of 25,000 square feet to build the church in the area of Jebel Ali as a token of the UAE love and appreciation of the Egyptian Christians and their services to the UAE.
The cornerstone for St. Mina church in Jebel Ali was laid and obtained the license to build in 2005; the building of the church took almost 3 years with great efforts from leading engineers belonging to the church congregation, and the Grace of God was financially and spiritually supporting the building process. The completion certificate of the building was obtained on December 17, 2008.
At that time, Anba Abraham started to plan for the ordination of the priests who would serve the congregations in the UAE churches, and the first ordination of married priests was performed in Rabtet El Quds Church, the headquarters of Metropolitan See in Cairo, Egypt, on November 13, 2009 and Father Mina Hanna (Dr. Nader Hanna at that time) was ordained to serve St. Mina Church.
All Coptic congregations living in Dubai and mainly near the area of Jebel Ali were excited about the establishment of a church, and many servants from Dubai and Sharjah volunteered to serve therein.
The opening of the church was made official by the first vesper prayer conducted by the Archbishop Anba Abraham together with the priests present in UAE at the time (Father Paula of Jerusalem, Father Rewis Ava Bishoy, Father Saweris Ava Bishoy and Father Arsanious Ava Bishoy), and the first Mass prayers were held on the following day, November 21, 2009.
The Start of the Service
The church congregation celebrated the arrival of Father Mina Hanna to church on December 25, 2009 with the presence of His Grace Archbishop Dr. AnbaAbraham, the Coptic Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Near East.
The church was officially consecrated later by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of all Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of St. Mark during his visit to the UAE on May 11, 2014.
During this historical visit, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of all Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of St. Mark in his first visit to the UAE at Al Bahr Palace.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai also received His Holiness Pope Tawadros II at Zabeel Palace. HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah also received His Holiness Pope Tawadros II.
The Service Growth
Since the beginning, Father Mina started with a group of servants to serve the church congregation. And by grace of God, the church grew and multiplied to the extent of needing more priests to serve, and with the blessing of God, our two fathers were ordained, Father Kyrellos Lotfy on July 9, 2015 and Father Theodore Youssef on July 10, 2016.