Christian Churches to be built in Qatar
- News Article:
Qatar is to allow Christian churches to be built in a special area in a suburb of capital, a senior official of that Muslim and Arab emirate on the Persian Gulf told last week.
Qatar's ruler, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, will arrive in
Washington on a state visit Wednesday after stopping off in New York
where he toured the devastated World Trade Center and donated $3
million to various disaster relief charities.
Roman Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox sanctuaries will be
built in a fenced-in compound near the Marriott hotel in Ras Abu
Abboud, a suburb west of Doha, Qatar's capital city, the official
"Our government has offered the Christian denominations a large piece
of real estate for this purpose. It's now up to each of them to
design their buildings," he added.
"I don't know why Muslims should be restricted from hearing about
other faiths," Rohrabacher said, commending Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al
Thani all the more as "a powerful voice of moderation" in the Middle
Construction work on the church compound will probably begin next
year,"the Qatari official informed. He said negotiations were
currently underway between the denominations on how to divide up the
land allotted to them by the government.
"It seems that differences of opinion between Eastern Orthodox
churches are holding up the work. The Orthodox -- Arabs, Greeks,
Indians, Syrians, Palestinians, Lebanese and Egyptian Copts --
evidently find it difficult to agree on how to build and use their
sanctuary," the official continued.
"They have quite different traditions."
Three-fourths of Qatar's estimated 700,000 inhabitants are
foreigners, and of those many are Christians. So far, Qatar has
prohibited the public practice of any religion other than the strict
Wahhabi variety of Sunni Islam, which is also the predominant faith
in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
But in Saudi Arabia, even private practice of other religions is
forbidden and a major crackdown against foreign Christians is
underway, according to The Rev. Steven L. Snyder of International
Christian Concern, a Washington-based religious rights organization.
In Qatar, on the other hand, even large congregations of up to 1,000
members have been permitted to worship informally in private homes,
the government official said, adding, "We have some very substantial
residences capable of accommodating that many people."
Commented the Qatari official, "We want our guests to feel comfortable
practicing their faiths. It's also preferable for us to know where
they are going than have them sneak into somebody's house, as is
"In addition to the three sanctuaries there will be other facilities
in the proposed compound, for example, parsonages and restaurants."
But will these churches have spires with crosses and bells calling
Christians to worship? "I think not," the official said.
- Dear friends,
Recently we read reports in news papers and church magazines that the centenary year of Parumala Thirumeni's 'dukarono' is being celebrated for one long year. this celebration will be done separately by catholicose and patriarch factions. Several programmes have been published except a sincere effort to end up the dispute in our church and bring eternal peace during this centenary year of the only saint of malankara for both factions. i believe that Thirumeni will be blessing more on that peace than any other programmes. I would like to encourage the devoted members once again to start a special prayer during this year to accomplish a 'heavenly peace' in our great church.
' Mar Greegoriose of Parumala, the saint of Malankara Orthodox Church pray for us and bless our church with eternal peace'.
Dr. George, Dubai
- 5th Sunday of Holy Cross October 14, 2001
Morning Matthew 22: 34-46; Luke 29: 45-57. Leveticus 2: 1-3;
Job 6: 1-6; 2 Samuel 3: 17-21; Isaiah 40: 27-31,
Acts 22: 22-31; 1Timothy 6: 13-21
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
2 "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.
3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what
they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they
themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5 "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their
wide and the tassels on their garments long;
6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in
7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them
8 "But you are not to be called `Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and
are all brothers.
9 And do not call anyone on earth `father,' for you have one Father, and he
is in heaven.
10 Nor are you to be called `teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the
11 The greatest among you will be your servant.
12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
 That is, boxes containing Scripture verses, worn on forehead and arm
Disparity of words and actions.
"Follow their words, not their actions,
because they preach one thing, and practice the opposite.
They don't practice what they preach."
"They teach others, they don't learn anything."
Most pastors and teachers, deacons, priests and bishops,
Could be guilty of this contradiction.
I know I am. I teach others that you should forgive.
But it is very difficult for me to forgive even the small hurt
Another person has inflicted on me.
In what right I stand week after week at the podium and teach and preach?
St. John Chrysostom comments on this passage, "Jesus is discoursing here
about the life and morals of the Pharisees, since this is the cause of their
unbelief, their depraved life, and the love of glory." [Homily on Gospel of
"They have God-given authority and many God-given commandments, but they are
personally ungodly, cold-hearted and vainglorious. Their teaching is to be
honored, but they are not to be imitated. ��� Jesus charges them of
God's values and being mean spirited, greedy, ambitious, absorbed in
externals, hypocritical, and blindly self-righteous. How much worse will it
be for Christians to lapse into patterns of religious life similar to the
Scribes and Pharisees." [Orthodox Study Bible]
"The Pharisees were the conservative religious believers of Jesus' day. They
viewed themselves as the defenders of the law and went to great lengths to
make sure that their outward behavior met the minute demands of the law as
they interpreted it. They would invest great energy to "strain out a gnat"
concentrating on useless points of meaningless regulation, and instead would
"swallow a camel" -- missing the major demands of the law, such as justice,
mercy, forgiveness, and redemption. The Pharisees looked pious and acted
religious, but they were heartless, spiritually dead.
"Pharisees" is a term that still fits those who concern themselves with the
letter of the law. They take the rules seriously. Most Pharisees in Jesus
time were not living out their faith and values in a way that truly
represented the heart of God."
"Pharisees are alive, well, and doing damage today. These legalists focus on
the rules, on appearances, on "being better" than other believers. They
separate themselves from the rest of Christians, feeling superior and often
acting judgmental." [Soul Care Bible]
I had the opportunity to have close contact with one of our younger bishops
lately. His being with people, in private and public, revealed to me a new
way of being a bishop. You felt close to him, like a normal human being,
without hiding behind the paraphernalia, which used to keep people away. He
spoke his mind, though with reservation at certain time on certain subjects,
though you could understand why he took that stance. It was a joy being with
him and I felt like being with an authentic human person, who touched my
deeply. I am indebted to hem for ever for being so genuine. I learned a
or two from him, although I am sure I do not see everything as he sees or
understands. I mention this experience because I have seen several bishops
and priests, who seemed to be presumptuous, arrogant, haughty, selfish,
temperamental, vainglorious and greedy. I wish to acknowledge that there are
several humble, godly and devout priests and bishops in our Church like the
one I mentioned.
My reflections on this subject takes me to the leaders of Christianity
because of the terrible shape the Church appears in this world today. Ever
since the Church came under the imperial protection of Constantine, shape of
its leadership changed for ever. The leaders became kings and princes,
over the common people and enjoying a superior, autocratic and wealthy
lifestyle. People with selfish motives are attracted to them and manipulate
them. This is the sad story of most denominations.
The Church of Christ is ONE, but we have successfully sliced her up so that
"we can enjoy" our piece of the pie. We probably can excuse ourselves, both
the leadership and the those that follow them, that we did not create these
divisions. But we have to answer the question, "What did you do to bring
the broken BODY back together again!"
As we continue to ponder over the last things, dying, [death], judgment,
hell and heaven, may we look at ourselves through the words our Lord has spoken
to the Pharisees of his time. Our personal lives, family lives, parish life and
everything else, stand under the scrutiny of a loving God who desires our
returning to Him and His ways.
May our Lord in His mercy and wisdom help us to learn from him how to live
and lead in His Church!
Dear Clergy members of the Forum:
We are three weeks away from Koodosh Eetho (November 4), beginning of the
Church's year. As we begin the New Year, let us plan so that this Sunday
Devotional Thoughts continue to appear in these columns. If any of
you-bishops, priests and deacons for now-would like to contribute for a
Sunday or for a Season, kindly let me know. We can work out a schedule.
Contact me today with your ideas, suggestions, etc.
Seasons of the Church's Year:
Advent - November 4 [Koodosh Eetho] to January 5
Theophany - January 6 to Lent
Resurrection Days - Easter to Pentecost Eve
Pentecost - Pentecost to July 31
Days of the Mother of God - August 1 to September 13
Holy Cross - September 14 to Koodosh Eetho
- British writer of Indian origin, V(idiadhar) S(urajprasad) Naipaul,
bagged 2001 Nobel price in Literature
"for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny
in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories"
Read more at the Royal Swedish Academy web sites: