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NOSTALGHIA. A journey to the Christians of the Middle East



A trip to the Christians of the Middle East


A photo exhibition of the Academy of the Austrian Hospice Jerusalem

by Linda Dorigo and Andrea Milluzzi.


Rector Bugnyar: "We deliberately chose the Orthodox Easter Sunday for the exhibition’s opening: Christ is risen. He lives! Just as the Church of the region also lives and has a future!


Our photo exhibition "NOSTALGHIA - A trip to the Christians of the Middle East" by Linda Dorigo and Andrea Milluzzi is now open. The photographs will be on display until the end of November in our Pilgrim Hospice on the Via Dolorosa.


Dr. Nikodemus Schnabl OSB (Dormition Jerusalem and Pro Oriente Vienna) opened the evening with a historic review of the history and development of the Christian churches in the Middle East, their theological focus and current challenges, especially their confrontation with Islamist groupings in the region.


Rector Markus St. Bugnyar underlined the multiplier effect of the Pilgrim Hospice: "Located in the heart of the Middle East, we are invested with the task of making our visitors and guests aware of the variety of Christian traditions, but we also need to be clear about the many dangers that threaten the continued existence of our sister churches."


 Rector Bugnyar: "We deliberately chose the Orthodox Easter Sunday for the opening: Out of respect for the Mother Church of the Holy Land, love of witness of the New Testament, the language of the early Church. But we also seek to emphasize the central message of Easter Day, victory over death and despair: Christ is risen. He lives! Just as the Church of the region also lives and has a future! For that we pray. "


Photos of the exhibition can be found in the photo album NOSTALGHIA on our Facebook page AustrianHospice.


The exhibition consists of 32 photographs which document the 3 year-long journey of photographer Linda Dorigo and journalist Andrea Milluzzi (both from Italy) in their search for the remaining Christians in the Middle East.


The images focus on what the concept "nostalgia" means to people: It does not only refer to a psychological moment of sadness and regret over the loss of fellow humans and cherished places, but can also be understood as a response to the feeling of approaching danger to one’s own identity. This feeling connects the Christian communities in the Middle East who, given the increasingly violent conflict, often consider themselves forced to leave their homes.


Linda Dorigo and Andrea Milluzzi started out on their journey in June 2011 and spent some time with the Christian communities of nine states of the Middle East: Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.


Their work seeks to elucidate the everyday lives of these people, which is all too often overlooked by the international media.


Thanks to meetings with individual communities and familiarity with the countries, the two authors of this exhibition experienced a journey through the centuries, accompanied by silence, confessions and trust. A journey that enabled them to see the contemporary witnesses of the history of our civilization as they really are.


The results of their work can be seen in a photo-book published in June 2015 by Schilt Publishing House: Rifugio.


The exhibition is a journey that seeks to awaken our consciousness of what is really happening in the Middle East by illustrating the values of these communities. It thereby invites us to consider our own values and helps us to discover places and peoples beyond the realm of prejudice and fear.



Linda Dorigo is an independent photographer and journalist specializing in the Middle East. Her main focus of research concerns topics such as faith, religion, minorities and the deep rootedness of the people in their respective home countries. From 2011 to 2014 she lived in Beirut where she launched the project "Rifugio. Christians in the Middle East“. (Schilt Publishing, 2015) 


Andrea Miluzzi is a press journalist who spent seven years working for the Italian newspaper Liberazione in the fields of politics, economy and social affairs. He is an employee of many Italian media outlets and co-founder of the website www.reportageitalia.it. His publications include Stato d'Italia (Postcart, 2011) and Parabole d'Oriente (SEF, 2014).





At Home in the Orient



The Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family in Jerusalem has had a home in the Orient for more than 150 years. It was inaugurated in 1863. Since 1988, in other words for more than a quarter of a century, the Austrian Hospice has once again functioned as a pilgrims' hostel and education center run by the Catholic Church of Austria, after a long interval during which it was used as a hospital.

In the book theologians, historians, art historians and political scientists describe different facets of the Austrian Hospice, including its history and current role, not least with regard to Austria's relationship with the Holy Land, which until the present day remains inextricably bound up with the Pilgrims' House.

In addition to the authors' challenging and thought-provoking contributions, the volume also contains historical and contemporary photographs. This generously proportioned illustrated book shows off the artistic features of the House to their best advantage and offers a rich impression of the Austrian Hospice's unique location in the Old City of Jerusalem. This book is designed to be dipped into and enjoyed for its visual aspect, as well as to be read for pleasure and for academic purposes.



Markus St. Bugnyar, born 5.3.1975 in Vienna, studied Catholic Theology and Religious Education, Bible Studies and Christian Archaeology at the University of Vienna and the École Biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem. Ordained priest in Eisenstadt on 28.6.2000. Rector of the Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family since 1.4.2004.
Hon. Prof at the Institute of Biblical Studies of the Philosophical-Theological College Benedict XVI. at the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz.



Helmut Wohnout, born 3.2.1964 in Vienna, Dr. phil., Min.Rat, studied history at the University of Vienna and Georgetown University, Washington DC, 2011 habilitation in Austrian history at the Karl-Franzens-University of Graz. Head of department at the Federal Chancellery, managing director of the Karl von Vogelsang Institute for the Study of the History of Christian Democracy in Austria, numerous publications including: The Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem. History of the Pilgrims' House on the Via Dolorosa, Vienna/Cologne/Weimar 2000.




Verlag Geschichte und Kunst
ISBN 978-3-903076-00-6
sales price 39,90 Euro. 320 Pages

Purchase orders via booksellers or our circle of friends:
Delivery within Austria: 4€



Saturday, 7th February, at 7:00 PM

with opening speeches in English by:

MMag. Markus St. Bugnyar,
rector of the Austrian Hospice and
Dr. Johannes Strasser,
director of the Austrian Cultural Forum.


For the photo series ‘Jerusalem Spirits’, Ronnie Niedermeyer documented the daily life of the Abrahamic world religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The project represents not only a vivid and comprehensive portrait of Jerusalem's spiritual life, but also explores what ‘spirit’ truly means to people.
Eindrücke aus der Ausstellung in Wien: 

Impressions from the exhibition in Vienna: www.rn.co.at/w46jer-en.html

More information on this project: www.rn.co.at/rnjs-en.html

Ronnie Niedermeyer is active in the field of documentary art photography. His work has been exhibited at Vienna's Leopold Museum and Künstlerhaus, and awarded 1st prize in a Europe-wide photo contest by Amnesty International. A monograph, ‘Time and Vienna’, was published in 2008. In 2014, he edited and issued a book of photographs taken by actor/director Otto Schenk.

More information on Ronnie Niedermeyer: www.rn.co.at/vita-en.html

PLEASE NOTE: From 1st March the Austrian Hospice will be open to visitors from 10am daily.

In Search of the Lord God - a new exhibition about the history of the Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem

In Search of the Lord God a new exhibition about the history of the Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem

When is a pilgrim at his destination?
Least of all in his own abode. There he finds board, respite and counsel; the reasons for his journeying are, however, the holy places that he visits.

Since the establishment of the Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family in 1856, thousands of pilgrims have, as our Founding Father Archbishop Joseph Othmar von Rauscher puts it, found a 'home away from home' here for the duration of their stay. These pilgrims have numbered members of the aristocracy as well as scientists, artists and, most importantly, the 'simple believer'.

They all wanted to witness the places of the Bible with their own eyes and to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

The title of our exhibition, In Search of the Lord God, recalls Easter morning in Jerusalem when the faithful women and Jesus' disciples discovered the empty tomb.
In Search of the Lord God is also the name given to the processions which proceed along our lanes on Easter morning when we search for He who was resurrected.

The exhibition presents a decidedly small selection of well-known personages who were guests in the Austrian Hospice. The signatures are taken from our guest-books; texts and illustrative pictures are from our own archive or from a private source, or are freely accessible on the Internet. Some are taken from Dr Helmut Wohnout's book, "Das Österreichische Hospiz. Die Geschichte des Pilgerhauses an der Via Dolorosa".
(The Austrian Hospice. The History of the House of Pilgrimage on the Via Dolorosa.) Despite intensive searching we have been unable to clear all rights to pictures; we are happy to comply with justified claims.

The main burden of the exhibition was borne by Florian Schiemer who conscientiously deciphered and researched the names in the guest-books; he was assisted in this task by Anselm Becker and Günther Fuchs, Samuel Barwart and Johannes Safron, Philipp Nigitsch and Matthias Perkonigg, here for their civil service, who brought the work to its current - provisional - end.

In Search of the Lord God is first and foremost a testimony to the historical nature of our House, but also an indication that in our search and pilgrimage, we are not and have never been alone. In their search for truth and authenticity every individual is called upon to examine God's calling in their own life.