The Metropolitan of Austria and Exarch of Hungary awarded the Golden Cross of Honour, the honorary distinction of the Metropolis of Austria, to Mrs. Zita Szalay (posthumously) and Mr. Helmut Szalay in St. Andrä am Zicksee on Saturday, May 7, 2022.
The ceremony took place in the Roman Catholic parish church kindly provided by the parish priest Mag. Gabriel Kožuc.
The honourable ceremony was attended by members of the family of the honoured, the Mayor of St. Andrä, Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Sattle, numerous members of the local clergy, the Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. Skepi am Zicksee and members of the Brotherhood, representatives of local institutions and a delegation of the Fire Service as well as numerous residents from the towns of St. Andrä and Apetlo.
During the awarding of the honorary distinction, Metropolitan Arsenios thanked the Szalay couple for their fervent dedication and the great effort they made in support of the first Orthodox Monastery in Austria, stressing:
“The award is only a modest gesture of recognition of your invaluable services to the Metropolis and especially to the Orthodox Monastery in St. Andrä am Zicksee. Both of you, from the very beginning of the projects, have worked with extraordinary dynamism and much willingness in helping to create this monastery. Even in particularly difficult times you have always remained faithful to this work of our heart and have actively and generously provided help and sought solutions.”
Metropolitan Arsenios also underlined the importance of the Monastery as a work of peace and a bridge between East and West that is to become a true place of prayer and encounter with God and people:
“Where people gather in the name of God, there is true peace. It is this true peace that we need more than ever in these difficult times.
After the ceremony, those present were invited to a reception in the parish hall.
This was followed by a lunch at the Gasthaus Seeblick where there was an opportunity for discussion and exchange of views.