UAE businessman Yusuffali M.A. donates Dh1 million for construction of Abu Dhabi church’s new building

In 1970, the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, laid the foundation stone for the church

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Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 22 Aug 2023, 1:20 PM

Last updated: Tue 22 Aug 2023, 10:21 PM

LuLu Group chairman and managing director Yusuffali M.A. has donated Dh1 million for the construction of a new building for St George Orthodox Cathedral – one of the oldest churches in Abu Dhabi.

Cathedral Vicar Rev. Father Eldho M Paul noted the building’s construction works, which started in December last year, were on track for completion by May next year.

“Nearly 40 per cent of the construction works have been completed. We hope to finish the basic structure of the building by the end of next month. We expect the entire work to be over by April or May 2024,” Father Paul told Khaleej Times.

St George Orthodox Cathedral is older than the UAE. In 1970, the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, laid the foundation stone for the church in the Khalidiya area of the city. In 1983, the church was relocated to the Mushrif area. In 2004, the church was elevated as a cathedral. And in September last year, the 39-year-old church building was demolished. The foundation stone for a new building was laid in December.

Father Paul highlighted the continuous support of the UAE leadership towards the church.

“I praise and appreciate the continuous support from the UAE’s wise leadership and local authorities.”

While the construction of a new building is underway, regular services are being held at a newly built hall on the premises. The total project has been split into two phases with a combined cost of Dh25 million. In the first phase, Dh10 million has been spent on building the new hall where services are being currently held. In the second phase, Dh15 million will be required for the new building for the cathedral.

Father Paul welcomed the donation made by Yusuffali and hoped for further support from community members and businessmen.

“We express our deep gratitude to Yusuffali for his contributions. His financial support of Dh1 million is God’s blessing towards constructing a new building. Yusuffali has been on a mission to help others irrespective of caste, creed, race, or religion. We expect more support from others.”

The parish has 1,800 families as its members and up to 6,000 followers.

“We will be able to accommodate up to 2,000 people for a prayer service in our new building,” Father Paul added.

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