Meanwhile in Baghdad, in the compound of the Melkite church, our institute of Patristics, which exists since 1997, has developed into a Center for Eastern Studies, since 2009. Courses are given during 5 days a week, and from time to time the students make a study trip to archeological sites. Last years they went twice to South Turkey, where they visited the tomb of St. James in Nisibis, the memory of St. Ephrem in Urfa, the convents of Mar Awgin and Abraham on mount Izla, and the churches in Mardin, Madiath, Diyarbakir and Seert. Last year there were more than 80 inscriptions, till the attack on the church of Our Lady of Deliverance (Oct. 2010), with disastrous consequences: the intensified exodus of the Christians of Baghdad. Our Center lost its director (Fr. Thaer Abdal), a teacher (Fr. Wasim Behnam), two martyr students, and the number dropped to 40. Nevertheless 5 students graduated this year (2011).
During this year (2011) Fr. Mansour took part in a symposium in Fribourg, Swiss, where the university of Friboug welcomed a delegation from the Babel College for Philosophy and Theology of Iraq. The father presented a paper on : “Remnants of Christian Art in Iraq”. A Eucharist celebrated according to the Chaldean rite in one of the Fribourg’ churches came as an impressive conclusion for the symposium. The father used the occasion to visit the neighboring convent of the Redemptorist fathers in Matran, where several statues of father Hugo are kept. He was welcomed by a cousin of the late Fr. Rey Mermet.