Bahrain inaugurated the Largest Catholic Church in the Arab Peninsula on the 9th of Dec 2021. Now and then, The Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral is the biggest Catholic church in the entire Gulf region.
Photos of the Cathedral at the bottom of this page… Read ahead…
The inauguration ceremony was held with the participation of high ranked officials of the Bahrain government and the papal representation from the Vatican.
The state-of-the-Art, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia was inaugurated on the 10th of December 2021 in the presence of the Personal Representative of His Majesty the King, His Highness Shaikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
The event was limited to private delegations due to health and safety measures and it was participated by the Royal family, senior government officials, ambassadors, Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence, reverend fathers, religious sisters, and guests.
Cathedral can accommodate 2,300 worshippers comfortably. 9,000 square meters plot of land was given as a Royal donation eight years ago, in February 2013, by HM King Hamad to the local Catholic community. Construction of Our Lady Arabia Cathedral began in 2014 with the laying of a foundational stone donated by Pope Francis.
It is a part of a development project around 95k sq feet in Awali, a small suburb municipality about 15 miles outside Bahrain’s capital Manama. The area has a population of 1.7 million people. Aside from the Cathedral, the palm tree-lined complex features a multi-purpose building, a courtyard, and a two-story parking area.
Including the main altar, baptistery, pews and other furnishings were carefully crafted in Italy with Italian guarantee of standards and the cultural touch. The top of the Cathedral was crafted as an octagonal dome, a deeply symbolic geometric detail that can be seen in a number of churches around the world such as the basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy and Germany’s Aachen cathedral.
Bahrain prides itself on its religious plurality and has long provided Christian and non-Christian faiths places of worship and the freedom to practice their religion openly and freely.
“We’re very proud to have this place of worship for the Catholic community. There are around 80,000 worshippers that will be using the church,” Dr. Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, chairman of the board of trustees of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence, said at the cathedral’s opening ceremony on Thursday.
“Historically speaking, it’s not strange for Bahrain to support non-Muslims or people from other religions to worship here. Bahrain has had the freedom to practice other religions and worship for over 200 years.” He cited the existence of a Hindu temple constructed in 1819.Arab News
Ms. Hala Ramzi Fayez, a Christian and a Shoura Council member in Bahrain’s Parliament, told Arab News: “In our country, people of all religions and beliefs live peacefully, practicing their religious rites freely and safely.”Arab News
This Cathedral will serve not just Bahrain but also to Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia which is combined of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.