Iraqi Christians Exhorted to Be "Like Leaven"

LONDON, MARCH 16, 2005 ( Chaldean Archbishop Gabriel Kassab of Basra says that the Christians in Iraq must be «like leaven» in changing their society.

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On a visit to London, Archbishop Kassab, 65, explained to the international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that the help provided through the Church in Iraq was widely appreciated by various communities.

As an example, the prelate reported that the Church in Basra now runs three kindergartens, where 90% of the pupils are Muslim.

The archbishop added that although some Christian families fled during the insurgency, a number have since returned since the January elections. He estimated that there are now about 1,000 Christian families in his archdiocese.

«We may represent only about 3.5% of the population, but the influence of educated Christians is widely recognized and appreciated,» the Chaldean prelate stated.

«With your help we can sustain the Christian presence here and become like yeast, or leaven, within a new society that must now grow up,» he told ACN. «With 14 projects in Basra — including providing food, medicines, kindergartens and pastoral help — we have found that Christianity is known better through our actions.»

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