Serbian Patriarch Irinej visits Cardinal Schoenborn, Austrian President Fischer and Vienna's Mayor Heupl
The day of the visit of His Holiness Irinej Serbian Patriarch to Austria, today was marked by dialogue with the representatives of Church and State. Patriarch has a breakfast at first with the Vienna archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn in Arcbbishop's palace near the cathedral of St. Stephen, and then he visited the Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer in the Hofburg Castle and the Vienna Mayor Michael Heupl at the City Hall.
During the meeting with Cardinal Schoenborn there was an atmosphere of a great inter-church friendship. Cardinal indicated that the visit of the Serbian Patriarch "is the sign of unity in the faith and a common commitment that in this city and country we act as Christians".
Cardinal also expressed hope that Serbs who wereliving in Austria would preserve their faith. "Without faith a man is with no homeland," Cardinal recalled of the yesterday's sermon of His Holiness in the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Vienna. When Serbian Patriarch was about to leave, Cardinal gave him as a particle of the relics of St. Father Nicholas of Miriklija the Wonderworker, which made His Holiness very happy.
His Holiness gave Cardinal Schoenborn one icon of St. Sava. After the breakfast at Cardinal's, Patriarch met with the federal president of the Republic of Austria in Vienna's Hofburg Castle, the presidential residence.
The First hierarch of the SOC thanked for the introduction of the Orthodox religous education in the Austrian state schools and talked about the role of Austria and especially Vienna in a development of the Serbian language and culture.
After the reception at the President Fischer's residence, the delegation of the SOC went to the City Hall where he met with Michael Heupl, Mayor of Vienna.
In his opening speech, Heupl described Vienna as a meeting point of cultures and religions. He recalled the tradition of religious tolerance in Vienna, as well as the fact that the Orthodox Serbs for centuries have been present in the Austrian capital.Hojpl is in this context pointed out that Vienna is just a place of dialogue between the East and West.
His Holiness said in his response to the greeting of the mayor stressed that the Serbs also in the previous centuries integrated into the life of Vienna and Austria. They have also contributed to the numerical increase of the city: Vienna is now the fourth largest Serbian city.
His Holiness at the end of his visit signed "the Golden Book" of the City of Vienna.
Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Middle Europe