United Arab Emirates


The Armenian community in the United Arab Emirates is a part of the Armenian Diocese of Kuwait and the Gulf Arab states.

In early 16th century the trade between Eastern and Western parts of the Gulf region has been organized by the Armenian merchants. For business and trade reasons, Armenians were established in the United Arab Emirates in 1975 mostly arriving from Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Armenia, Russia, Europe, the USA and Canada.

Today the number of Armenians residing and working in the UAE estimates around 5000-6000.

The first Armenian holy mass sermon was delivered in 1977 in Dubai St. Trinity Anglican Church, after which pastors were regularly invited from Kuwait and Anthelias (Lebanon).

In 1980 Councils of the Armenian Community in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were established. In the same year the Armenian weekly college in Sharjah started to operate where the children could learn Armenian language, history, religion and music.

In the late 1980s with the increase of presence of Armenians and their active involvement in different fields, the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia adopted a decision to establish a separate diocese which included Kuwait and the Gulf Arab countries.

In 1994 Armenian community of the United Arab Emirates became a separate diocese. The community life is led by the Catholicosal Vicar Legate to the Region (with residence in Kuwait). He is heading The Diocese of Kuwait and the Gulf Arab countries Supreme Legislative Assembly, composed of 21 members (3 clerics and 18 secular) and elected for 4 years term.

Community's executive body is the National Council, members of which are appointed by the Diocese Council for 2 years term. The executive body is chaired by the clergyman. The Armenian Church has a permanent pastor, who serves the community in the UAE and regularly visits Qatar and Bahrain. National Council nominates school board of trustees, heads of different subcommittees.

In 1998 the first Armenian Church in the United Arab Emirates, St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, was inaugurated in Sharjah.

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