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Orthodox metropolitan dies

The highest representative of the Orthodox Church in Austria has passed away.

Michael Staikos, the Orthodox metropolitan of Austria, succumbed to a serious disease at the age of 65 in Vienna on Tuesday, it was announced yesterday (Tues). Staikos, who was born in Greek capital Athens, moved to Austria in 1964. Around 500,000 of the 8.5 million residents of Austria are members of the Orthodox denomination, according to daily newspaper Kurier.

The Austrian army decided to assign an Orthodox priest for pastoral care duties of troops last July. A spokesman for the defence ministry said the cooperation, which is still in a testing phase to find out how strong interest from army members is, may be expanded from the Vienna region next year.

There are around 500 soldiers of Orthodox confession in Austria. The alpine country’s military has 25,000 soldiers and civil staff. Around as many young men are called up to serve a six-month mandatory service in the army a year.

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