Sankt Andrä am Zicksee, Austria, December 20, 2017
Though some area residents had reservations about the building of a monastery after Mayor Andreas Sattler called for its construction, the matter was put to a referendum in June, with 569 residents voting in favor of the monastery, and 385 against. The permit for the monastery was granted by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burgenland and Austria.
Met. Arsenios had withdrawn his request for the monastery in a letter to the previous mayor before the referendum, noting that the negative reactions were offensive to the Greek Orthodox Church, though he believed “a Christian monastery would speak for itself.”
Following the June referendum, there had been new data on the construction of the monastery in Sankt Andre, although other locations in Austria had also shown interest in building it.
In a recent letter to Mayor Sattler and other community leaders, Met. Arsenios wrote, “I inform you that I am delighted to accept your request to build Austria’s first Orthodox monastery in the market town of Sankt Andrä am Zicksee.” The metropolitan’s letter was preceded by a letter from the mayor at the end of November, asking that the monastery be made a reality, according to the Austrian metropolis’ website.
The metropolitan also noted that he was deeply moved by the positive outcome of the referendum, expressing his gratitude for the “hospitality and generosity” of the people. He had received offers of help and resources from a number of political and public representatives, as well as from private individuals.
For Met. Arsenios, the monastery is “a visible sign of faith in the world” and “a reminder of the possibility of every human being to turn to God.”