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Switzerland’s oldest monastery opened its doors to Eritrean asylum seekers

(BBC) – Einsiedeln Abbey, Switzerland’s oldest and most famous monastery, has opened its doors to asylum seekers.
_79830319_bedsThe abbey was founded in the 10th Century; for over 1,000 years it has been a place of pilgrimage. For the Benedictine monks who live there, the daily routine, bounded by prayer, has changed little during that time.
But Abbot Urban Federer, who has been in the top job at the abbey for less than a year, wants to create new roles for Einsiedeln that reflect the challenges confronting 21st Century Switzerland.
Switzerland has a population which is now almost 25% foreign, with most immigrants coming from the European Union. Like other European countries, it is facing an increase in applications from asylum seekers, particularly Eritreans and Syrians.
Swiss voters have gone to the ballot box twice this year to vote on measures aimed at limiting immigration, but the country retains a relatively generous policy towards asylum seekers.
“As everywhere in Europe, there are more and more people coming from other countries, from other continents,” Abbot Federer says. “And I thought we should do something too, as a church, as a monastery.”
Coincidentally, the local authorities approached the abbey, asking if it could house asylum seekers while their requests were being processed.
Former army barracks and even underground civil protection bunkers are being used as authorities struggle to respond.
ource- http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30395166

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