Consecration of the Church of St. Stephen the Great in Vienna
Metropolitan Serafim of Germany, of central and northern Europe, consecrated on Saturday in Vienna the altar of the Romanian Church dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit and to Saint Stephen the Great, who he says is “a symbol of the faith and dignity of our persons on Austrian soil.
Five hierarchs concelebrated with Metropolitan Serafim, including Metropolitan Arsenios Kardamakis of Austria, Exarch of Hungary and Central Europe (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Bishop Macarie of Northern Europe, Auxiliary Patriarchal Bishop Varlaam of Ploieşti, Assistant Bishop Sofian of Brasov (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of Germany, Austria and Luxembourg) and Assistant Bishop Emilian of Crisana (Archdiocese of Arad).
The abbots of the monasteries of Bukovina, Emil Hurezeanu, the Romanian ambassador to the Republic of Austria, representatives of the town hall of sector 2 of Vienna and dozens of Romanian priests, benefactors and believers also participated.
Liturgical responses were offered by members of the Tronos Byzantine Choir of the Patriarchal Cathedral, directed by Archdeacon Mihail Bucă, and by the Parish Choir “St. Stephen the Great”, directed by Deacon Theodore Coresi and Dr. Catarina Coresi Lal .
In his homily, Metropolitan Serafin spoke of the theological and spiritual significance of the architecture of an Orthodox Church.
The structure of the church, a mysterious ascent
“The altar of a church is its holiest place, the Holy of Holies. But, as we know, Orthodoxy has a deep sense of mystery, of the sacred present in the architecture of the church, in icons and frescoes, in the ritual of offices and in vocal music. Everything in the Church has a meaning, a symbol, which refers us to the highest reality of the celestial world”, declared the Romanian Metropolitan of Germany .
“An Orthodox church usually consists of three parts: the narthex, the nave and the altar, which symbolize the three persons of the Holy Trinity. The narthex symbolizes the Holy Spirit, under whose interior impulse we come to the church, to unite ourselves to Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
From the narthex we walk towards the nave, symbol of the Son, and from the nave we advance towards the Holy Altar, symbol of the Father. It is a mysterious ascent,” explained the Metropolitan.
“The Holy Spirit leads us to the Son, and the Son shows us the Father. If the Son of God revealed himself to the world by his incarnation, and the Holy Spirit by his descent at Pentecost in the form of tongues of fire, God the Father remains enveloped in the mystery of the Holy Altar, the Holy of Holies .
“Without a close connection to the Church, without prayer and without restraint from the pleasures of the body, the soul becomes passionate about the things of this world, becomes carnal and insensitive to the mysteries that surround us,” Metropolitan Serafim noted.
“The church is our life, the life of Christians. Nowhere in the world does our soul feel better, more protected and enveloped by the presence of God as in the church. Only in church, in prayer, do we relieve ourselves of the pains and sorrows that we accumulate in daily life,” the Metropolitan of Germany added.
“It is only in the Church that we learn to truly love God and one another, for only the Church truly helps us socialize and makes us sensitive to the needs of our fellow human beings.”
“A society without religion, without the Church, is doomed to decay and perish. Therefore, I urge you to love the Church, to pray fervently in the Church, with the necessary attention, so that every prayer and every song enters your heart and is filled with the Holy Spirit,” said the metropolitan.
Metropolitan Serafim thanked the faithful and the parish priest “for the sacrifice of building this church, a symbol of the faith and dignity of our people on Austrian soil, where a plethora of Romanians have studied and worked for centuries” .
“We would also like to thank the authorities of the city of Vienna, who welcomed our request to have a representative church, which would enrich the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Austrian capital,” added the Metropolitan.
The Romanian Metropolitan also thanked the Roman Catholic Church and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Catholic Archbishop of Vienna, “for the moral and material support given to the Romanian Orthodox communities in Austria”.
“Last and foremost, we thank all our priests in Austria who work hard for the spiritual care of the faithful and for everyone to have their place of worship,” Metropolitan Serafim said as he ended his address.
Emblem of the great collaboration with the Viennese authorities
Patriarchal Auxiliary Bishop Varlaam of Ploiești read Patriarch Daniel’s message for the consecration of the altar in the Church of St. Stephen the Great in Vienna.
“This church was built in a short time (2018-2021), during the difficult period of the coronavirus pandemic, but also providentially in 2021, consecrated by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church as the Solemn Year of Pastoral Romanians abroad,” the Patriarch of Romania said in his official message.
The Romanian Patriarch appreciated that the project is “an emblem of the beautiful collaboration with the Viennese authorities”, and the parish’s pilgrimage office, which will collaborate with the Basilica travel agency of the Romanian Patriarchate, offering religious tourism services also to Austrian citizens, will be an opportunity to make new friends and show the beauty and spiritual richness of Romania.
Several prizes were awarded in recognition of their involvement in the church building project.
Distinctions offered by the Romanian Patriarchate
The order “Saint Jean Jacob de Neamt, the New Thingebite” for clerics
- Father Emanuel-Ștefan Nuțu, “St. Stephen the Great’s Church in Vienna
Order “Sanctus Stephanus Magnus” for the laity
- Georg Baldass and Mihaela Lucia Ionescu, architects;
- Vienna Sector 2 City Hall (Leopoldstadt);
- Maged and Maria Mihail family;
- Daniel Pițurlea, managing director of the CONCELEX construction company, which also carried out the works at “St. Stephen the Great’s Church in Vienna, but also at the Church Center in Munich;
- Joseph Klein.
Distinctions offered by the Romanian Metropolis of Germany
- Dr. Aurelia Braneti;
- Franz Schmidt;
- Cornel family and Cristina Creţu, who sent from Gura Humorului the sand necessary for the plastering of the church, so that it could be prepared for the application of the paint in the fresco technique.
In turn, the parish priest presented each hierarch present with an epigonation bearing the effigy of Saint Stephen the Great.
The dedication service was streamed live on Facebook.
Events on the consecration of “St. Stephen the Great in Vienna continued on Sunday with the celebration of the first patronal feast of the newly consecrated church and the inauguration of the church shop and parish pilgrimage office.
The cornerstone of the “St. , thus becoming a Viennese replica of the Voronet Monastery.
“I think there were more than 100 meetings (with local authorities) in which we explained what we wanted, we brought a lot of photos, albums with monasteries, so that those in charge here understand what what we want to do,” said parish priest Emanuel Nuțu. Trinity TV.
The collaboration with the local authorities was exemplary, especially since their trust had already been earned. The city hall of sector 2 of Vienna recently supported the construction of a building with 47 apartments for the Romanian community in the district.
The Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit and of St. Stephen the Great in Vienna, located at Bruno-Marek-Allee 7b, is the third church built by Romanian Orthodox believers in the Austrian capital. The other two are “The Holy Resurrection” and “St. Andrew the First-Called” Church and Sts. Anthony the Great and Andrew Șaguna Church.
The “Holy Resurrection” parish in Vienna also administers a chapel at the Dumitru Staniloae Religious and Cultural Center. It is the first Romanian shrine in Vienna, where four patriarchs served. King Carol I, Queen Mary and Princess Ileana also prayed there.
How to make a donation
Parish: Rumänisch-Orthodox Kirchengemeinde in Österreich
Bank: Bank of Austria
BIC Code: BKAUATWW