Austrian town finds its hermit after international search

2017-04-19 17:03
An undated photo of Saalfelden Stan Vanuytrecht. (Parish of Saalfelden via AP)

An undated photo of Saalfelden Stan Vanuytrecht. (Parish of Saalfelden via AP)

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Vienna - It took an international search and choosing among more than 50 applicants, but an Austrian town has a new hermit.

Mayor Erich Rohrmoser of Saalfelden, near Salzburg, says officials chose Belgian Stan Vanuytrecht, a former artillery officer, surveyor and a Roman Catholic deacon, because the bearded 58-year-old pipe smoker "emanates calm and comes across as steady".

Vanuytrecht is pleased - and surprised. State broadcaster ORF quotes him as saying "I thought I have no chance."

Built into a cliff, the more than 350-year-old hermitage near the town has no heat, no running water and is habitable only between April and November.

The hermit's unpaid job includes greeting pilgrims making the trek to the building, which has been empty since a Benedictine monk left last year.

Read more on:    austria

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