Through the opening of the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, three Abrahamic religions now have a location to worship in the mainly Muslim United Arab Emirates. These religions were reportedly known as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Abrahamic Religions’ Common Place to Worship
A report from Selahafrik stated that St. Francis of Assisi Church in Abu Dhabi, which was formerly a synagogue and was opened by Pope Francis and other Catholic officials, is now part of the Interfaith Abrahamic Family House. The three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, now share a common place of worship in the mainly Muslim United Arab Emirates with the inauguration of the new worship center.
As mentioned, in 2019, Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb signed a historic pledge advocating peace across all three religions. Moreover, Cardinal Michael L. Fitzgerald, former president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, served as the Pope’s representative during the inaugural prayer session held at the recently constructed St. Francis of Assisi Church. “The place of prayer should also be a place of joy, and I hope that this will be true for all of us here present,” Fitzgerald stated.
According to the Catholic World Report, Fitzgerald was the one who delivered the greetings from Pope Benedict. He stated that Pope Francis encourages all those in attendance to continue in the culture of dialogue as their path, embrace mutual collaboration as a code of conduct, and endeavor to make mutual understanding of the constant method of the undertaking.
During the prayer service, Bishop Paolo Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia, gave a speech reflecting on the significance of the document “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” also known as the Abu Dhabi declaration. In addition, this document was signed by the Pope as well as the highest legal authority in Sunni Islam. Martinelli asserted that people have moved into a new era in the history of the world’s religions. The church was reportedly described as a gift to Pope Francis. On the other hand, its namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, was referred to as “the saint of universal brotherhood, peace, and reconciliation, and the saint of the custody of creation.”
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Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi
The Catholic News Agency reported that David Adjaye, an architect of Ghanaian and British descent, was responsible for constructing the Abrahamic Family House. Among Adjaye’s other notable buildings is the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, District of Columbia.
As mentioned, the three houses of worship are located in separate buildings, but all the structures share the same height and overall measurements. Each design was in the configuration of a cube, and the length of each side was 30 meters, which is approximately 98.4 feet. Accordingly, the synagogue is oriented toward Jerusalem, the mosque faces Mecca, and the church faces east, in the direction of the rising sun. These orientations adhere to the construction traditions of the respective religions for which they were designed.
As per the UCA News, on Mar. 1, the Abrahamic Family House, also known as AFH, will officially welcome visitors. In addition to taking tours, guests will also have the opportunity to pray and worship at AFH.
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