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Pontifical Babel College in Baghdad Finally Returned to the Chaldean Catholic Church
By Huda Metti :: Saturday, November 15, 2008 :: 41349 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society, Chaldean Churches

Baghdad, IRAQ – After ongoing threats, attacks, and kidnappings Chaldean seminarians, students, and staff fled the centuries old Pontifical Babel College in Baghdad.  Abandoning the building to safer territory in northern Iraq, the staff had no choice says the dean of the college. 

A short while after, U.S. military occupied the building as a “combat outpost” and fortified base of operations for the 4th Cavalry Squadron of the First Mechanized Infantry Division, and then by the 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

The controversial move by the U.S. military fueled Iraqi Christian conspiracies of collaboration between Chaldeans and the United States.  Radical Islamic leaders used the building as evidence to further persecute Christians as conspirators.  Although Iraqi Christians were innocent in the taking of the building, the appearance was enough to recruit hundreds of terrorists and cause animosity between Iraqi Christians and fanatical foreign Muslims. 

Iraqi Chaldean leadership begged the U.S. to vacate the building, but the requests went ignored.  The Army, just now is transferring the property back to the church, Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Jacques Ishaq of Baghdad, rector of the college, reported.  "The Americans decided to leave the buildings and have signed an agreement to restore the damaged parts and replace what was destroyed," including classroom furnishings, he said.

Chaldeans have been moving ancient artifacts and century hold manuscripts around the country in order to protect and preserve the items.  Priceless relics of 1st century Christianity, books in Aramaic, journals, diaries, paintings, sculptures, and other pieces were lost when churches were fire bombed and ransacked by Islamic terrorists. 

The Pontifical Babel College in Baghdad contained some of the more profound writings of Christian history.  The college staff feared the books, saintly relics, and historical items would be lost forever. 

Fortunately the library suffered no damaged, he said, because the Army sealed it when they took over the buildings.  The Chaldean bishop added it would take Army engineers a couple months to finish restoring the complex.

comment @ Tuesday, August 26, 2014 7:07 AM
Comments from the following blog entry: http://thecatholicbeat.sacredheartradio.com/2014/08/26/bishop-of-bagdad-issues-prayer-challenge/

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.