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Germany-Austria: confirmed reopening of Neuzelle abbey with eight monks from Heiligenkreuz

The Austrian abbey of Heiligenkreuz will repopulate the old Cistercian abbey of Neuzelle, in the German Land of Brandenburg. Yesterday, at a chapter meeting, the monks of Heiligenkreuz decided to take up the invitation of mgr. Wolfgang Ipolt, bishop of Görlitz, the Brandenburg-based diocese that includes the area of Neuzelle: the abbey will be reopened 199 years after its secularisation, ruled by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1817. The chapter of Heligenkreuz, after last months’ surveys, gave the go-ahead to a pastoral survey, in the run-up to the canon building of the “priory of Neuzelle”, due in 2018: the restored Cistercian abbey will be run by eight monks. Bishop Ipolt expressed his joy for the “sign of change” that will be experienced by the diocese and by the region of Görlitz: Neuzelle will be “a spiritual centre, and for many people a source of food and a place of provisioning”. The monastery will be a “place to look for God and learn”, and will respond to the “genuine, great need” of an area that has experienced the State atheism of ex East Germany. Such repopulation will be a “sign of hope for many people who are searching”, confirms Ipolt, who regards Neuzelle as a junction between “East and West, North and South”, and it will also be important for the Polish neighbours and for the old roots of Christianity in Silesia (the region bordering with Germany and Poland, that has been fought over for centuries), because “the Christian faith unites and does not divide”.

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