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    » 01/15/2007, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Chaldean Seminary and Theological University inaugurated in Kurdistan



    After being forced to leave Baghdad, the Chaldean Church’s two educational institutions have reopened. Meanwhile the capital is being emptied of its Christians whose historic neighbourhood is presently in the hands of Sunni militias.

    Ankawa (AsiaNews) – Erbil’s Chaldean bishop, Mgr Rabban al-Qas, told AsiaNews that the doors to the Chaldean Major Seminary and Babel College, Iraq’s only theological faculty run by the Chaldean Church, have reopened in Kurdistan after shutting down because of the growing insecurity in the Iraq. The two institutions were in fact officially inaugurated last Thursday after moving from Baghdad to Ankawa, near Erbil, in Kurdistan.

    The reopening of the college was marked by a mass in the Mar Eliya Chaldean Church, celebrated by Mgr Jacques Isaac, rector of Babel College.

    In addition to many faithful, Mgr Andraous Abouna, vicar patriarch representing the Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly who stayed in Baghdad, and Sarkis Aghajan, a Christian and finance minister in Kurdistan’s regional government, were present.

    About 25 seminarians are registered at Babel College but there are many other students who are studying theology and philosophy.

    Moving the two institutions was a difficult decision. It was made official on January 4 but had been expected for some time.

    Abductions, assaults and threats to the Christian community in the capital convinced the Patriarchate first to shut both college and seminar down, then to move them.

    AsiaNews sources in Baghdad, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the Christians left in the city are poorest, those who cannot afford to move elsewhere.

    “As for the rest, they have all fled,” they said. “Dora, the historic Christian neighbourhood is [now] in the hands of Sunni militias.”

    Moving around the capital is increasingly difficult and dangerous. “If you try to go in or out of a neighbourhood you have to ask permission from militias who are in charge; otherwise you might end up kidnapped or killed.”

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    See also

    18/06/2007 IRAQ
    Chaldean priest abducted in Baghdad is free and in good health
    Fr Hani Abdel Ahad is released after 12 days. “He is very tired but was not mistreated,” says someone who met him. Persecution of Christians now moves to the al-Amariya and Hai al-Jamiya neighbourhoods with bombs placed in a home garden and threats of beheading.

    14/06/2007 IRAQ
    Iraqi Christians’ most urgent needs according to a Chaldean priest
    As a result of ongoing violence, persecution and the forced exodus of Christians, Churches are re-structuring their pastoral activities to cope with new challenges that range from spiritual assistance, help to the poor and fighting corruption. Christian leaders must make a common front in dealing with the state, international coalition forces and terrorism.

    20/08/2014 LEBANON - IRAQ
    Patriarch al-Rahi in Kurdistan for the future of Christians and the fight against Islamists
    The cardinal makes a short one-day stop in Erbil accompanied by civil and religious leaders. He will meet with Kurdish President Barzani and visit the archbishop's see. The trip will focus on the fate of Christians fleeing jihadists and the possible use of force to repel the Islamist threat. The issue of relations with Islam and interfaith dialogue will also be discussed.

    15/06/2007 IRAQ
    Baghdad: more than a thousand Christian families forced to flee home
    Escape is the only alternative to the threats made by Islamic militias against those who refuse to convert, pay “taxes” or give a daughter in matrimony to a Muslim, this according to ‘Portes ouvertes’, an NGO dedicated to persecuted Churches.

    02/05/2007 IRAQ
    Iraqi leaders indifferent to 'endangered' Christians
    The rector of the Major Seminary in Ankawa slams the grave crisis affecting the Church in Iraq, which he blames on terrorists and fanatics but also the indifference of the country’s political leadership towards minorities. The number of Christians has dropped by half; only 200-300,000 have not fled their homes.



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