3 - 5 February 2019

Pope Francis official visit to the United Arab Emirates


The United Arab Emirates will host His Holiness Pope Francis, Pope of the Catholic Church, and the Grand Imam of the Grand Imam. Ahmed al-Tayyib, Sheikh of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, Chairman of the Council of Muslim Sages, on an official visit, the first of His Holiness the Pope to the Gulf region. The event is attended by a large number of religious leaders who have contributed to the promotion of values ​​of tolerance and coexistence.

The visit of His Holiness Pope Francis is an occasion to promote the values ​​of tolerance in the world. "We want the UAE to be a leading global reference in the culture of tolerance, policies, laws and practices," he said. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said: "By proclaiming the 2019 year anniversary of tolerance, we recall the great humanitarian legacy that Zayed has built on the basis of tolerance to become an approach to the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural community. The world today to strengthen the universal human values ​​that enable communities to work to serve their interests and raise their homeland and secure the future of generations. The visit of His Holiness Pope Francis is a message to the youth of the region: The UAE will remain committed to religious tolerance and its leaders will extend their hand to all religious leaders as a symbol of unity, solidarity and joint action.

The United Arab Emirates welcomes His Holiness the Pope to encourage constructive dialogue between followers of religions and to spread peace, mercy and tolerance in the world. These values ​​are rooted in the policy of the UAE, which Sheikh Zayed has established, and the wise leadership continues to raise its flag. His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, underlined the UAE's interest in the historic visit of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. Characterized by the UAE's relationship with the Vatican, ensuring the good of humanity and the achievement of world peace. He stressed the existence of a genuine international desire to come up with initiatives that contribute to the deepening of human relations based on tolerance and coexistence and in the interest of countries and peoples.

United arab emirates

A federal and constitutional state comprising seven interconnected states: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. The union was declared on December 2, 1971

Learn about the UAE

Abu Dhabi city is the capital of the UAE Federation.


An inherent approach enshrined in the UAE’s policy

The President, Sheikh Khalifa, declared 2019 as the “ Year of Tolerance”, in a bid to bolster the international stature of the UAE as a role model of coexistence and a centre for the convergence of cultures and civiliations. This statement was expressly echoed in the heartfelt wishes extended by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces to the Christian communities on the advent of Christmas where H.H. said, “From the UAE, the land founded in the spirit of tolerance, love and coexistence, we congratulate Christians across the world and wish them peace and happiness in celebrating Christmas. May peace prevail among the peoples of the world, and tolerance will remain an indispensable value in the UAE as its fundamental pillar for the advancement of nations throughout history”.

Supreme National Committee for tolerance

As directed by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, 2019 will be celebrated as the ‘Year of Tolerance’, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has decreed the formation of the Higher National Committee for Tolerance headed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the membership of several ministers and representatives of active local societies and organizations to bolster the international role undertaken by the UAE being a capital of global tolerance and civilizational coexistence. “The role of the committee will be to establish the values of tolerance in our society which will then become a role model for the whole world”, H.H. said.

Christians in the UAE

Christians residing in the United Arab Emirates are fully free to practice their religious rites in an atmosphere of tolerance, co-existence and freedom of worship. There are various Christian churches in the UAE, including Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Churches, such as Orthodox and Coptic. St. Joseph’s Cathedral is one of the only two Catholic churches in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the other being St. Paul’s Church in Musaffah. The first Church was built in 1962 on a plot of land donated by Sheikh Shakhbut, the ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Other Religions in the UAE

The UAE guarantees the freedom of religious worship by people of other faiths such Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists who can exercise their religious rituals freely.

The UAE and the Vatican

are in harmony to strengthen the values of dialogue and tolerance

The Pope’s visit to the United Arab Emirates will usher in a new era of advanced and close rapprochement between the UAE and the Vatican. It will contribute to glorifying the common values of both countries such as respect for the human person, promotion of dialogue and the opening of paths of reconciliation and cooperation. H. E. Sheikh Nahyan said that the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis reflects the global position of the UAE as a universal example of peace, love and tolerance. It is home for all cultures, races and religions where everyone enjoys respects and recognition. The visit also reflects the appreciation of the international community for the efforts of the UAE and its pioneering role and sincere efforts to propagate and promote the values of tolerance in the world.