12/05/2006, 00.00
IRAQ
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Another Chaldean priest abducted in Baghdad

Chaldean Patriarchate confirms Father Samy’s abduction. The priest, who is rector of the Major Seminary, disappeared yesterday. He was supposed to open the new academic year yesterday.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Another Chaldean priest was abducted yesterday in Baghdad. Fr Samy Al Raiys, whose disappearance was announced last night, is in the hands of unknown men who picked him up near his home.

The Chaldean Patriarchate of Baghdad, which reported the abduction, launched an appeal on its website. Addressing the abductors, it asked: “We beg you not to harm him but to treat him well. We trust Father Samy in the hands of the Lord and of Providence, asking Him to help save Iraq from these kidnapping which terrorise everyone, adults and children alike”. The appeal ended by calling upon “Our Lady that She may save him and return him soon to his church and to the service of his faithful”.

Father Samy was just a few metres from his home, in Sinaa Street in Baghdad, when some unknown people took him away. Nothing has been heard from him since then. His car, too, has not found.

The priest, who is rector at the Major Seminary of the Chaldean Patriarchate, was going to the Church of Mar Khorkhis (Saint George), where he had moved after the seminary itself had closed for security reasons.

Father Samy teaches Morality at Babel College, the Faculty of Theology in the Iraqi capital. In a few days, local Chaldeans said, he was supposed to open the seminary’s new academic year, which will not happen now.

The ‘Simon Peter’ Seminary, which had been shut down because of the growing insecurity in Baghdad, was scheduled to start lessons for week “on a trial basis”.

“Now the seminary will have other problems,” the few seminarians left said, “because in addition to the lack of security now it must cope with the absence of its rector”.

Father Samy’s abduction comes just a week after Fr Doglas Yousef Al Bazi, Chaldean parish priest at Saint Elias in Baghdad, was released after nine days in captivity.

 

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