06/16/2008, 00.00
IRAQ
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"Ecumenical graduation" at Babel College in Ankawa

The academic year concludes for the only theology faculty in Iraq: the five graduates come from the Chaldean, Armenian Orthodox, Assyrian, and Syro-Catholic communities. Patriarch Delly and many bishops attend the ceremony. Three sisters wounded today by a suicide bomber in Telkef.

Ankawa (AsiaNews) - The academic year of Babel College, the only theology faculty in Iraq, has concluded with the graduation of five students.  The ceremony (in the photo) took place on June 14 in Ankawa, in the territory controlled by the Kurdish regional government.  Since 2007, most Chaldean institutions have been transferred here, because of the lack of security in Baghdad.

The group of young graduates reflects the variety and ecumenism that has always characterised the spirit of this prestigious institution.  On Saturday, in the presence of Chaldean patriarch Emmanuel III Delly and numerous bishops, the graduates were: two Syro-Catholic seminarians, a young woman of the Assyrian Church, an Armenian Orthodox, and a Chaldean monk.  The rector of Babel College, Msgr Jacques Issac, gave a speech.

The original building of the theology faculty, which belongs to the Chaldean Church, is still occupied today by the United States army, which uses the structure as a military and observation base.  The building is located in the Dora neighbourhood, where the Christian community was concentrated at one time.  Now, most of its members have emigrated abroad, or to Kurdistan and to the province of Nineveh.

Unfortunately, the situation remains precarious even here.  This morning, a suicide bomber attacked an administrative office in Telkef, on the plain of Nineveh, wounding seven, including three sisters.

Photo: Ankawa.com

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