An extremely rare job opportunity has opened for a hermit in a stunningly beautiful cloister perched on a cliff in Austria.
But the successful applicant for the unpaid position must be prepared to live without electricity, running water, or the internet, and must be able to cope with the possibility of being shot by a jealous local.
Municipal and Catholic officials in the Austrian town of Saalfelden are looking for someone to live in a nearby hermitage built into steep cliffs characteristic of the Salzburg region that borders on Germany.
Applicants should be independently wealthy or have another job as the parish website says the position does not come with a salary.
And because the 350-year-old hermitage – one of the few such places in Europe that is still in use – is unheated and sits at an altitude of 4,600 feet, it is only inhabitable between April and November.
â€œThere is no classic job description for a hermit,â€ the parish conceded on its website. Despite the potential hardships, the parish is confident it will find the right man, who according to local priest Alois Moser should be a “a person at peace with himself.”
Father Moser and Saalfelden mayor Erich Rohrmoser will pick the new hermit, who will be chosen more on the basis of personality than on career background.
The job ad did not specify that the future hermit had to be a Roman Catholic, just that he should have a Christian outlook and be ready to greet visiting pilgrims and locals.
A hermit is defined as someone living in solitude as a religious discipline.
But that will not be case in Saalfelden, where the successful candidate will have to greet and listen to the many locals and outsiders who come to appreciate the view from the hermitage and unburden themselves to the resident hermit, the ad explained.
The hermitage has been uninhabited since a Viennese pastor and psychotherapist left last autumn to return to his normal life after just one stint in the job. Before him, a Benedictine monk lived there for more than a decade.
Hat tip to John Brewer.