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First Greek Orthodox Monastery to be Built in Austria

Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria and Hungary

The first Greek Orthodox monastery is to be erected in the Austrian state of Burgenland, in eastern Austria on the border with Hungary, according to the Athens Macedonia News Agency.

The exact area in Burgenland is Sankt Andra am Zicksee, as announced by Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria and Hungary in Vienna.

Earlier, the new Mayor of Sankt Andra, Andreas Sattler, had called for the monastery to be built in the area – for which some area residents had reservations initially. The issue was put in a local referendum last June, and the result was in favor of the erection of the monastery. Specifically, 569 residents voted for the monastery and 385 against.

In April, Metropolitan Arsenios had sent a letter to the previous  Sankt Andra mayor withdrawing the request for the erection of the monastery, the permit for which was granted by the Roman Catholic Diocese of the federal state of Burgenland and the Holy Metropolis of Austria.

As Metropolitan Arsenios noted in his letter, reactions against the Orthodox monastery were offensive both for the Greek Orthodox and the Catholic Church, but nevertheless there was a belief that “a Christian monastery would speak for itself”.

The Catholic Bishop of Burgenland, Egidio Zivkovic, expressed “regret and shame” about what may be happening in the jurisdiction of his diocese, proclaiming his intention to seek a new site for the erection of the Greek orthodox monastery.

After the positive outcome of last June’s local referendum, there had been new data on the construction of the monastery in Sankt Andre, even though, in the meantime, various areas in Austria had shown interest in building it.

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