Thousands of Qatar Christians flock to church for Christmas (photos)

All photos by Navin Sam, with reporting from Chantelle D’mello

Undeterred by rainy weather and heavy traffic, thousands of people gathered at the Religious Complex in Mesaimeer last night and today to welcome Christmas with prayer services.

Crowded parking lot

Navin Sam

Crowded parking lot

During last night’s midnight mass, traffic leading up to the area grew steadily, with many people from all denominations showing up hours early to find a seat for the 1.5 hour-long mass.

This morning as well, the church complex was crowded and festive, despite the usual tight security that required devotees to go through metal detectors, ID checks and bag scans prior to entering the venue.

In addition to services, the faithful wished each other a blessed holiday as they took selfies, sang Christmas carols and participated in other activities.

Expanding complex

Qatar is home to hundreds of thousands of Christians. Its religious complex opened in 2008 – the country’s first church in 14 centuries – with the launch of the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Evangelical Alliance Churches Qatar groundbreaking

Via EVAQ

Evangelical Alliance Churches Qatar groundbreaking

The grounds have expanded significantly to include several Christian denominations since then, including the Anglican church and Greek Orthodox church.

Services are also held at the complex for Evangelical, Pentecostal and Protestants, among others.

And in October, the Evangelical Churches Alliance Qatar (ECAQ) finally broke ground on their own space at the complex.

Are you celebrating Christmas today? Thoughts?

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