CWNews.com - An Iraqi archbishop has announced that the regional government has approved his plans to construct a Catholic university and a 100-bed Catholic hospital.

Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil (Arbil) in northern Iraq says that more than 2,000 Christians, including teachers and doctors, have fled to the relatively safety of his diocese following violence in other areas of the country.

“The plans we have been developing over the past few months are symbols of hope for the Christian presence in our country,” the 41-year-old prelate told Aid to the Church in Need. “The people arriving here from places of violence are receiving the gift of relative security. They themselves are willing to offer the gift of their services in a region which cannot cope with the demands of an increasing population.”

“We do not want Christians to leave Iraq,” he added. “It is clear that our society here needs schools, universities and hospitals and this provides us with an opportunity to encourage the Christians to build a future for themselves here.”

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