On Saturday, September 26, 2020, the Metropolitan of Austria and Exarch of Hungary and Central Europe, Arsenios, presided over the formal foundation ceremony at the Orthodox Monastery of Agia Skepi and Saint Paisios under construction in Sankt Andrä Zicksee, Austria, in the presence of state, local, diplomatic and church authorities, as well as many faithful. The attendance of more people was not possible due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and restrictive measures to avoid overcrowding. The foundation stone was placed by Metropolitan Arsenios, the Governor of the Austrian state of Burgenland, Hans Peter Doskozil, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Eisenstadt, Ägidius Zsifkovics, the local Mayor, Andreas Sattler, and the Abbot of the Monastery, Archimandrite Paisios Jung.
In his message, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who did not attend the ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stressed the importance of building an Orthodox monastery in the center of Europe, hoping that this monastery would be the meeting point of faithful and the Lord with many spiritual fruits. On the part of Rome, in his message, Cardinal Kurt Koch conveyed the wishes on behalf of Pope Francis and stressed the importance of the Holy Monastery for the unity of Christians.
Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria stressed that the wish he had made upon his arrival at the Metropolis of Austria came true with the foundation ceremony. He hoped the Monastery would be built in the future to become a place of prayer, love and meeting not only between God and people but also of people between them. He also thanked from the bottom of his heart all those who contributed to the realization of this cultural and spiritual vision, especially the Pope of Rome, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Eisenstadt, the local authorities, the Roman Catholic Parish of Sankt Andrä, the architect of the Holy Monastery, Themistoklis Ioannou, and those who donated and contributed to the monastery. Addressing the Fathers of the Brotherhood, he urged them to become imitators of the love of our Lord and witnesses of the Cross and His Resurrection. Armed with patience, they would be able to withstand trials and temptations during their ministry. In conclusion, he wished that Jesus Christ would give them strength in their spiritual struggle so that they could become servants of the gospel truth with self-denial and a good conscience before faithful and God for the glory of His Church.
Although the Monastery of Agia Skepi and Saint Paisios has not been built yet, its Brotherhood has been established since 2016 and lives in a small accommodation, which was acquired for this purpose the same year in Sankt Andrä.
Source: Metropolis of Austria