Shaikh Nahyan, Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II (centre), M.K. Lokesh, Yousuf Ali M.A., director of the board of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and managing director of Emke Group, Yakob Mar Elias, Thomas Mar Athanasios, Rev. Father V.C. Chemmanam, and other officials at the event to honour the supreme head of the Indian Orthodox Church, at the National Theatre in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Words of spiritual wisdom uplifted the hearts of thousands of Indian Orthodox Christians in the capital when the supreme head of their church, Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, paid a visit to the capital last week.

Amidst the chords of mellifluous singing by the choir and a host of traditional dances held to welcome him, Paulose II highlighted the importance of peaceful co-existence with followers of different religions in the region. He also paid tribute to the ruling family for their support of the 50,000-member Indian Orthodox community in the UAE.

Praise for contributions

In addition, he commended the charitable contributions of the members of the church based in the UAE.

"May God shower His unending blessings upon this blessed land and her inhabitants and let us pray together for a peaceful world where each and every creature of God is cared," he said when addressing the gathering.

The celebrations coincided with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Orthodox church in India.

Various dignitaries attended the event at the National Theatre, including Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and M.K. Lokesh, Indian Ambassador to the UAE.

The leader's visit was also part of a series of visits he has paid to prominent churches since his appointment as supreme head in November 2010.

George Abraham, 52, a contracts team leader from India who attended the celebrations with his family, told Gulf News it was a rare blessing to be in the presence of Paulose II.

"He is a divine personality. For us, he stands next to Jesus in terms of spiritual guidance. It was, therefore, extremely special to meet him, especially as we have been looking forward to this visit for six months," he said.