Even though Qatar is a predominantly Muslim country, it has a good number of non-Muslims among its expatriate residents. The State permits Christians to worship privately and has recognised several Christian churches.
In 2005, the Qatar Government allotted a plot of land in Doha’s Abu Hamour area to build one large church complex consisting of six different churches. The first church was opened in 2008, and this area is now called the Mesaimeed Religious Complex.
Here is everything you need to know about the Mesaimeer Religious Complex and the Christian Churches in Qatar.
- Christianity in Qatar
- Mesaimeer Religious Complex
- Roman Catholic Church in Qatar
- Inter Denominational Christian Church (IDCC)
- Anglican Church in Qatar
- Syrian Orthodox Church in Qatar
- Greek Orthodox Church in Qatar
- Coptic Orthodox Church in Qatar
- Other Churches in Qatar
- Location of Churches in Qatar
- Frequently Asked Questions
Christianity in Qatar
It is estimated that around 14 per cent of Qatar’s population follows Christianity. Most of these Christians are from East Asian countries like the Philippines and India. There are also Christians who moved from Europe, Americas and Africa.
Article 50 of Qatar’s Constitution guarantees all persons the freedom to practice religious rites in accordance with the law and the requirements of the maintenance of public order and morality. According to Article 35, all persons are equal before the law, and there shall be no discrimination whatsoever on the grounds of sex, race, language, or religion.
Today Christianity is widely accepted as a religion in Qatar. The government recognizes Christian marriages, and churches recognized by the government are allowed to conduct religious classes. The government-issued Qatar ID cards do not bear a religious designation.
Mesaimeer Religious Complex
In 2005, the Qatar Government and Christian Church representatives signed a 50-year renewable lease agreement for building six churches in Doha’s Abu Hamour area. This area later became known as the Mesaimeer Religious Complex, also informally known as “Church City”.
A Christian Churches Steering Committee (CCSC) was established, according to the directions of the Government, to manage common matters and amenities between the churches. A memorandum of understanding is executed by the representatives of the six churches to undertake the day-to-day management of the Religious Complex.
The construction of the following churches was approved under this agreement:
|1||Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church||Roman Catholic Church|
|2||Inter Denominational Christian Church (IDCC)||Group of Indian Churches|
|3||Anglican Church of the Epiphany||Anglican Church|
|4||St James Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church||Syrian Orthodox Church|
|5||St. Isaac and St. George Greek Orthodox Church||Greek Orthodox Church|
|6||St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Church||Coptic Church|
Today, Mesaimeer Religious Complex is home to many church buildings. There are nearly a hundred smaller churches and religious groups offering worship services under the umbrella of the main churches. Out of respect for the local Islamic traditions, the exterior of these churches has no crosses, bells, steeples or signboards.
Here is the detailed information about the different churches located inside the Mesaimeer Religious Complex:
Roman Catholic Church in Qatar
Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Doha
The Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary is the main worship centre of Qatar’s 200,000-strong expatriate Catholic communities – mainly from the Philippines, India, South America, Africa, Lebanon and Europe.
Our Lady of the Rosary, the first Catholic church built in Qatar, was opened in March 2008. The 2,700-seat church has a beautiful interior, which is saucer-shaped.
Inter Denominational Christian Church (IDCC)
The Inter Denominational Christian Church (IDCC) is a cluster of different Indian expatriate Christian communities in Qatar. 28 churches from different denominations were united under the umbrella of IDCC. Later these 28 churches merged and grouped into 11 member churches for regular proceedings of IDCC.
IDCC offers independent worship spaces to these churches of different denominations. Located inside the Mesaimeer Religious complex, IDCC serves as a centre for Christian worship for thousands of believers.
The individual member churches are completely independent in matters of faith and worship, but they are bound by a single common administration based on a by-law drafted by the member churches.
Churches Under IDCC Doha
The following are the 11 member churches and their location inside the IDCC complex:
|Church Name||Building No|
|Immanuel Mar Thoma Church||1|
|The Pentecostal Mission||3|
|St. Thomas Evangelical Church||3|
|Doha Tamil Churches||3|
|Telugu Christian Fellowship||3|
|St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Church||4|
|Malankara Orthodox Church||5|
|St. Thomas CSI Church||6|
|St. Mary’s Malankara Church||7|
Anglican Church in Qatar
Anglican Church of the Epiphany, Doha
The Church of the Epiphany is the Anglican Church in Qatar. It is a member of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Church of the Epiphany’s congregation is a diverse and multicultural community of many nationalities, with worship services in different languages, such as English, Tamil, and Igbo.
The Anglican Centre
The Anglican Centre in Doha has served many Anglican, Protestant and Evangelical Christian communities since 2013 and is the home to the Anglican Church of the Epiphany.
Besides the traditional church building, the Center has 26 different halls for the use of hosted Evangelical, Pentecostal and other Protestant congregations. The multi-purpose design of the Centre easily facilitates classrooms, meeting rooms and many variously-sized assembly halls available for Church Groups, Youth Groups, Sunday Schools, Prayer Groups and Christian activities.
As per their website, the Centre as a whole serves around eighty-five (85) different Christian groups, summing up to fifteen thousand (15,000) worshipers from sixty-three (63) countries. Each congregation worships within their own church tradition and language.
Syrian Orthodox Church in Qatar
St James Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, Doha
The Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church of St. James caters to Jacobite Christians from India. The church opened to the public in Mesaimeer Religious Complex in 2009.
The church’s main altar is dedicated to St. James, brother of Jesus and the first Chief priest of Jerusalem, Apostle, Virtuous, and Sahada. It is among the very few Jacobite Churches churches dedicated to St. James. The church celebrates every Second Saturday as a monthly festival.
Greek Orthodox Church in Qatar
St. Isaac and St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Doha
St. Isaac and St. George Greek Orthodox Church is home to the congregation of Orthodox communities across the Arab world. The church caters to Arab, Greek, Russian, Cypriots, and Romanian Greek Orthodox worshippers. The church is located inside the Mesaimeer Religious Complex.
It is estimated that 10,000 expatriates from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa attend the church’s services in different languages. Britain’s King Charles III visited the Greek Orthodox Church during his Qatar visit in 2014.
Coptic Orthodox Church in Qatar
St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Church, Doha
St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Church is a church mainly serving Qatar’s Egyptian Coptic community. This church is also located inside the Mesaimeer Religious Complex.
Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria is an Oriental Orthodox Christian church based in Egypt, servicing Africa and the Middle East. It is considered the largest Christian denomination in Egypt.
Other Churches in Qatar
In 2015, Qatar Government allotted two more plots for constructing the Maronite Church and Evangelical Churches Alliance Qatar near the Mesaimeer Religious Complex. As of 2022, the construction of these churches is progressing.
In addition, many smaller religious groups who have registered with the government practice their prayer services in private properties. Unregistered religious groups are considered illegal in Qatar. Note that the government can censor or ban print and social media religious material it considers objectionable.
Location of Churches in Qatar
The Christian churches in Qatar are located at the Mesaimeer Religious Complex in Abu Hamour. Here is the location map of the Religious Complex.
The Religious Complex is about 20 minutes’ drive from the City Center. You can also use public transport like the Karwa bus and taxis. Doha Metro service is not available in this area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there churches in Qatar?
Yes, Qatar has many churches built with the government’s permission. Christianity is a recognised religion in Qatar, and registered churches are allowed to conduct prayers.
How many churches are there in Qatar?
The Mesaimeer Religious Complex has six churches of different denominations. One of them, the Inter Denominational Christian Church (IDCC), is a cluster of 11 Indian Christian groups. More than a hundred smaller groups are affiliated with the main churches.
Are Christians allowed to worship in Qatar?
Yes, Qatar’s Constitution guarantees all persons the freedom to practice religious rites in accordance with the law and the requirements of maintaining public order and morality.
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