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Brothers of St. John of God - 400 Years of Healthcare in Vienna

It was on June 2, 1614 that the deed was signed for the purchase of the land on which the Brothers of St John of God’s Hospital would subsequently be built in Vienna. Several events have been held to commemorate the anniversary. On June 1, in the Chapel of the Vienna House (http://www.barmherzige-brueder.at/site/wien/home) the world-renowned Vienna Boys Choir (?Wiener Sängerknaben?)(http://www.wienersaengerknaben.at), gave a celebratory concert.

 June 2 a Solemn Mass was concelebrated in Saint Stephen’s Cathedral by the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, and a large number of local priests and Brothers, including in the Prior General, Brother Jesús Etayo before 1000-strong congregation. In his welcome address, the Provincial of the Austrian Province, Brother Ulrich Fischer OH, said that the Hospital’s 400-year history was an opportunity to thank God and to pray for His help for the future. After Mass, the guests gathered in the courtyard of the Archbishop’s Palace adjacent to the Cathedral for an open-air buffet.

 Later that afternoon, 700 guests who had been invited for the celebration including numerous representatives from all over the world, went to the Vienna City Hall for a dinner, given by the Mayor. The guests were addressed by several speakers, including the Prior General, Brother Jesús Etayo Arrondo, the Papal Nuncio, Peter Stephan Zurbriggen, and a number of political representatives.  All the speakers drew attention to the exemplary way in which the Vienna Hospital combined technical quality, humanised care and solidarity, particularly towards the weak. They also paid tribute to the hospital for its excellent relations with the local authorities and the huge contribution which the hospital was making in terms of training doctors and nurses through its’ Health Care Professions Academy, which belongs to the Hospital.

 The programme was accompanied by musical interludesand screenings of film footage. In the evening, Jörg Pribil officially delivered the commemorative stamp issued by the Austrian Post Office for the occasion to the Provincial, Brother Ulrich Fischer OH and the Prior of the Vienna House, Brother Saji Mullankuzhy.

 The main address was delivered by General Councillor Brother Rudolf Knopp, under the title ?Living hospitality hopefully and boldly ?the birth and development of the pomegranate in Central Europe?. Brother Rudolf looked back over the most important phases in the history of the Vienna Hospital, stressing hospitality as the core value of the Brothers of St John of   God.

 The evening ended with an interview given by the Prior, Brother Saji Mullankuzhy and the General Manager of the Hospital, Dr. Reinhard Pichler, both of whom highlighted the need to be grateful for the past and to look forward enthusiastically to the future. 

 The importance of the event can be gauged by the fact that the celebration the fourth centenary of the Brothers of St John of GodHospital in Vienna was printed on the front page of one of Austria’s largest circulation dailies, the Kurier?.



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