Armenians have been living in Austria since the Middle Ages however, the Armenian community was formed in the 17th to 18th centuries. In 1683, during the Battle of Vienna when the Polish King Jan Sobieski and his troops came to the aid of the Austrians, there was a Polish-Armenian brigade in King’s troops, which stood out in the battle.
In 1685, Hovhannes Astvatsatur, an Armenian, who lived in Vienna until the end of the 17th century, founded what is considered to be the very first cafe in Vienna.
The current community was formed mainly after the Armenian Genocide and in the 1950s. In the last two decades, the population has grown with Armenian immigrants from Armenia and other countries of the former Soviet Union. Today, the number of Armenians is estimated at 7,000, most of whom are concentrated in Vienna with smaller communities in Graz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Forlarberg.
There are dozens of Armenian organizations, including churches and Sunday schools. There are a large number of cultural figures among the Armenian community.
In 2015, the Parliament of the Republic of Austria adopted a statement labeling the massacres of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as Genocide.
In the early 19th century, after the Mekhitarists settled in Vienna, the Armenian Catholic community was formed. The Armenian Catholic Church in central Vienna belongs to the Mekhitarist Congregation. The church was formerly known as the Franciscan Church, which was donated to them by Emperor Francis I. In terms of its influence and cultural value, it was considered the largest after Italy and Lebanon. In 2011, the 200th anniversary of the Congregation of the Catholic Church of Vienna was celebrated. At present, about 3,000 Armenian manuscripts are kept in the Matenadaran of the Congregation, as well as rich collections of Armenian press, coins, and art.
Today, around 10 clergy serve in the Mekhitarist Congregation of Vienna, the Catholic community serving about 100 families.
The Austrian Armenian Apostolic Church began to form in the early 19th century as well. At the end of the 19th century, Armenians in Vienna wanted to set up a separate church and founded a chapel in 1912-1913. Later on, they purchased a plot of land for the construction of the church in the central district of Vienna and constructed the St. Hripsime Church in 1965-1968.
In Austria, Armenians are considered a religious minority.