Seminarians clearing the seminary's vegetable garden
Montecorvino Major Seminary in Shanxi province, northern China, resumed classes this week following a 10 week hiatus caused by a dispute involving the institution’s rector.
Around 50 out of 70 seminarians have returned to the seminary in a suburb of Taiyuan city, while the rest have transferred to other seminaries, according to Church sources.
The position of seminary rector is now vacant, after board members refused to reinstate the former rector, Father Anthony Chang Tongxi, at their last meeting in late October.
Fr Chang, 45, 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 the board, headed by Bishop John Huo Cheng of Fenyang, delay the commencement of the new semester in September until the dispute was settled. They even threatened to remove the 85-year-old bishop as the board director, the sources said.
The seminary board called its students back earlier this month who spent some time cleaning the seminary and tending its vegetable garden, and have now resumed classes. There has been no government intervention so far, said the sources.
Shanxi seminary suspends school term