When Christmas greetings are sent from Austria to other countries in the coming weeks, these letters will most likely be decorated with a motif from Waldhausen. The Austrian Post AG has chosen the image of the Holy Family from the local parish church as the motif for its 1.20 euro Christmas stamp.
“Every year we issue four selected Christmas stamps. Two of them with religious motifs and two with secular motifs,” said Martina Prinz, head of the philately sales outlets of Austrian Post AG yesterday morning at the presentation of the stamp in the Waldhausen parish library. The value of 1.20 euros is intended for standard shipments abroad. The Waldhausen stamp is printed in an edition of one million copies. Prinz: “This picture becomes Waldhausen’s little Christmas brand ambassador to the world.”
“An event of the century”
The “Strudengau Philatelists” association with chairman Erwin Uhrmann is very happy about the stamp: “For us, this is an event of the century. We have never had anything like it before and we will probably never achieve it again.” The idea of applying for the Christmas stamp came about almost exactly a year ago at the special post office on St. Nicholas Day in neighboring St. Nikola. With the support of Helmut Kogler, President of the Association of Austrian Philatelic Associations, the request was brought to the post office’s selection committee. This year in January they actually decided on the motif from the Waldhausen parish church.
The painting, made in the 17th century, represents an extremely intimate moment of the Holy Family, explains Pastor Karl Michael Wögerer: “In the center of the picture, illuminated by a beam of light from above, sits Mary, who looks blissfully at her newborn, curly-haired child. Joseph, the holding the baby Jesus on a soft cloth, lovingly leans towards the child, who tenderly scratches his beard with his left hand.” Interesting: The motif, which has now been printed millions of times, sat unnoticed on the church organ choir until the church was renovated in 1957, before it was given its current place on the side altar.
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