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Austria: first working meeting of the Catholic and Orthodox Bishops’ Conferences

The Plenary Assembly of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference (ÖBK), chaired by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, will take place from 4 to 7 November. The first day will be devoted to an ecumenical exchange of views: the members of the Orthodox and Catholic Bishops’ Conferences will be meeting at the Episcopal Palace in Vienna. Also on 4 November, at midday, the ÖBK will meet with the President of the Republic, Alexander Van der Bellen, at the Vienna Hofburg, the Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference, Peter Schipka, told Kathpress news agency. The meeting between the ÖBK and the Orthodox Bishops will take place as follows: after an exchange of views on ecumenical issues, the Orthodox Vespers will be celebrated at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Vienna at 6.30pm. The joint session will conclude with a reception given by the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Arsenois, who is also the president of the Orthodox Bishops’ Conference in Austria. There are about 450,000 Orthodox Christians living in Austria. Seven Orthodox Churches have ecclesiastical structures and are represented in the Bishops’ Conference: the (Greek-Orthodox) Patriarchate of Constantinople; the Patriarchate of Antioch; the Russian Orthodox Church; the Serbian Orthodox Church; the Romanian Orthodox Church; the Bulgarian Orthodox Church; and the Georgian Orthodox Church. The Plenary Assembly of the ÖBK will continue until 7 November at the Monastery of Laab, in the Vienna forest, run by St Vincent de Paul’s Sisters of Charity.

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