This photo shows a UAE minister attending the opening ceremony of a church in Abu Dhabi

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A picture has been shared multiple times on Facebook alongside a claim that it shows the Saudi king and priests from the Vatican inaugurating a Catholic church in Saudi Arabia. The claim is false: the picture has circulated in reports about a United Arab Emirates (UAE) minister and Vatican envoys attending the opening ceremony of the second Catholic church in Abu Dhabi in 2015.

The picture was posted here on Facebook on May 4, 2021. 

The Indonesian-language post translates to English as: “The secretary of the vatican cardinal and the king of saudi arabia, inaugurated a catholic church for the first time in saudi arabia.”

Screenshot of misleading post, taken on May 5, 2021

The same picture has also been shared with a similar claim on Facebook here, here, here, here and here.

The claim, however, is false. 

A reverse image search on Yandex found this photo, taken by AFP on June 11, 2015. 

The picture’s caption reads: “(From L-R) Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, UAE minister for youth, culture and community development Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al-Nahayan and Papal Nuncio and delegate to the Arabian Peninsula Archbishop Petar Rajic take part in the opening ceremony of the second Catholic Church dedicated to St Paul in Abu Dhabi’s industrial district of Musaffah on June 11, 2015.”

St. Paul Church is located in Musaffah in the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi. 

Below is a screenshot comparison between the picture in the misleading post (L) and the AFP photo (R):

Screenshot comparison between the picture in the misleading post (L) and the AFP photo (R)

The church’s inauguration was also reported by UAE media, such as Khaleej Times and The National

AFP previously published a fact-check report here, debunking a similar false claim using another AFP photo of the event.