Taipei, 27 October 2008 – The two Austrian Jesuit missionaries Friedrich Weingartner and Aloisius Gutheinz, who have been living and working in Taiwan for more than 40 years, were awarded the Austrian Honorary Cross for Science and Arts by the Federal President on 2 October 2008.
Friedrich Weingartner, born in Meggenhofen (Upper Austria) in 1918, studied theology in Innsbruck and philosophy in Munich, and was ordained a priest in Innsbruck in 1947. Since 1964, Father Friedrich Weingartner has been living in Taiwan, where he engaged throughout his career in the study of the languages of the native inhabitants of Taiwan, in particular the language of the Saixia tribe. In 2000, Father Friedrich Weingartner founded the "Aboriginal Languages Research Center" at the National University in Taipei. His publications on the languages of the native inhabitants are considered unique, since his works are the first written records in Chinese which are dedicated to the language of Taiwan's native inhabitants. Father Friedrich Weingartner’s research and teaching work, as well as his contribution to intercultural exchange were also honoured by the Taiwanese education authorities in a particular way.
The Jesuit missionary Aloisius Gutheinz was born in Tannheim (Tyrol) in 1933, studied philosophy in Munich and theology in Rome, was ordained a priest in Hsinchu (Taiwan) in 1966, and has been working as a professor at the Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei ever since. His publications include works in the field of theology, especially multilingual dictionaries and lexica of theological terminology, which have been scientifically recognized as essential tools for the development of Christianity in China. In addition, Father Aloisius Gutheinz founded a "China Leprosy Service Center" in Taipei a few years ago, which provides medical auxiliary and support services for leprosy patients not only in Taiwan but also on mainland China. Apart from his scientific work, Father Aloisius Gutheinz devotes himself to leprosy patients throughout China in a particularly sacrificing and magnanimous manner.
The Austrian Honorary Cross was presented to the missionaries on 27 October 2008 during the celebrations of the Austrian national holiday by Mrs. Sieglinde Spanlang, the head of the Austrian Office in Taipei. The Vienna Boys’ Choir, currently on a tour through Asia, provided the musical setting for the ceremony.
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