BAGHDAD, Iraq, JAN. 7, 2007 ( Iraq's only faculty of Christian theology and a seminary have moved out of Baghdad for security reasons.

Babel College and St. Peter's Major Seminary departed for Ankawa, in the Kurdish region of Iraq.

Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly of Babylon of the Chaldeans told Vatican Radio: "We have thought of the move for a long time: to go to a tranquil place to be able to study better. When the situation is calmer, they will return to their site." 

The exodus of Christians from the area began in earnest on Aug. 1, 2004, when a car bomb exploded outside the Chaldean church of Sts. Peter and Paul, near the major seminary. The blast killed 15 and wounded hundreds.

The rector and vice rector of the seminary, Father Sami Al-Rais and Father Salem Basel, were briefly kidnapped in recent months.

Code: ZE07010703

Date: 2007-01-07