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Major seminary reopens but without rector


TAIYUAN (UCAN): Montecorvino Major Seminary in Shanxi province, northern China, resumed classes on November 17, following a 10 week layoff caused by a dispute involving the rector, Father Anthony Chang Tongxi, and seminary board.

Around 50 out of 70 seminarians returned to the seminary in a suburb of Taiyuan, while local sources say that the remainder has transferred to other seminaries, where they began studying when the one in Taiyuan closed.

The position of seminary rector is now vacant, after board members refused to reinstate the former rector at their last meeting in late October.

Forty-five-year-old Father Chang, who is suspected of embezzling seminary funds, was dismissed by the board in June. All seminarians who had not taken examinations were told to return to their respective dioceses or congregations on an extended summer break.

Religious officials in Shanxi demanded that the board, headed by Bishop John Huo Cheng, from Fenyang, delay the commencement of the new semester in September until the dispute was settled. They threatened to remove the 85-year-old bishop as the director of the board director.

The seminary board called the students back early in November. They spent some time cleaning the building and facilities, as well as doing a bit of work to get the vegetable garden back in shape before resuming classes.

 To date, there has been no intervention from government officials. 


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