16 August 2015

Messages Received from Religious Leaders

Pope Francis
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
The Patriarchate of Moscow
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, representing the Anglican Communion
The Secretary General of the World Lutheran Federation, Rev. Martin Junge
The Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Olav Fykse-Tveit
The Deputy Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, Rev. Wilf Gasser
The Secretary General of the Global Christian Forum, Rev. Larry Miller
The Secretary General of the World Baptist Alliance, Rev. Neville Callam
The Archbishop of Uppsala, Primate of Sweden Rev. Antje Jackelén
The Federation of the Protestant Churches of Switzerland, Dr. Martin Hirzel
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Ven. Jaseung, Head of the Jogye Order of South-Korean Buddhism


Pope Francis

This year, when the Taizé Community celebrates three anniversaries, the seventy-fifth of its foundation, the centenary of the birth of Brother Roger and the tenth of his death, I join in your thanksgiving to God, He who always raises up new witnesses who will be faithful to the end. I have asked my Venerable Brother Cardinal Kurt Koch to convey to you and to all members of the Community, the assurance of my affection.

In the words of Pope Benedict XVI to the young people on the occasion of the European meeting organized by the Taizé Community in Rome in 2012, Brother Roger was a "tireless witness to the gospel of peace and reconciliation, moved by the fire of an ecumenism of holiness" (Address of 29 December, 2012).

This is the fire that led him to found a community that can be considered a true "parable of communion" and which, until today, has played an important role to build bridges of brotherhood between Christians.

Passionately seeking the unity of the Church, the Body of Christ, Brother Roger opened himself to the treasures deposited in the various Christian traditions, without making a break with his Protestant origins. By the perseverance he demonstrated during his long life, he contributed to changing the relations between Christians still separated, tracing for many a way of reconciliation.

Nourished by the Holy Scriptures, Brother Roger also referred to the teaching of the holy Church Fathers, he drew on the Christian sources and knew how to make them relevant to young people.

Brother Roger understood the new generations; he trusted them. He made of Taizé a gathering place where young people from around the world feel respected and supported in their spiritual search.

Brother Roger loved the poor, the disadvantaged, those who, apparently, do not matter. He showed, by his existence and that of his brothers, that prayer goes hand in hand with human solidarity.

I give thanks to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for the given life of Brother Roger, until his violent death. May the Community of Taizé always keep alive the testimony he gave to the risen Christ and the call he constantly renewed to "choose to love."


The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

2015 is a jubilee year for your community and we wish to congratulate you on this occasion. At the junction of the centenary of the birth of Brother Roger and the tenth anniversary of his death, this spiritual interval is also marked by the seventy-five years of your community.

The convergence of these three events marks perfectly the indissoluble destiny between the charismatic figure of your founder, Brother Roger, and the spiritual courage he demonstrated in making tangible his ecumenical vocation. It is not only a matter of having a vision, one must also be able to give it a body and a soul. So, inspired by the urgent necessity for Christian unity, Brother Roger not only shaped the outer material of a truly multi-confessional community but was also the promoter of a spiritual ecumenism characterized by a particular focus on youth.

The unity of Christians is an obvious fact to which we are attached by an irreversible commitment. But as time passes, the decades follow one another, and the initial enthusiasm loses breath, it is necessary to reflect on the reasons for unity. Besides the injunction of Christ in the Gospel of John, "Be one!" (Jn 17:21), determining in itself alone our search for the restoration of the bond of communion, it is essential to understand the constantly renewed actuality of this commandment. Certainly, historical conditions evolve. On the contrary, our unwavering commitment to the reconciliation of Christians, to the unity of our churches, is due to the emergence of an ecumenical kairos, by which the Church’s catholicity should manifest itself.

Brother Roger left you hope as a spiritual testament. Now the eyes of hope are always turned towards the future, that is to say it is rooted in the younger generations. We want to salute the important mission of the Community of Taizé in respect of this ecumenism of life that finds its source in a spirit of fraternal exchange, in faithfulness to the Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church.

We end this modest message by reminding you of the words of the Orthodox theologian Olivier Clément: " ’Trust’ is a key word in Taizé. The meetings organized by the community in Europe and on other continents, are part of a pilgrimage of trust on earth. The word ’trust’ is perhaps one of the most humble words, the most everyday and the simplest there can be, but at the same time it is one of the most essential."

So is it in this spirit of "trust" in the Lord, that we congratulate you again on the occasion of this jubilee year for your community and we pray Christ our God that he will give growth in hope to your essential mission in the service of Christian unity.


The Patriarchate of Moscow

On this very special day for the community – the solemn commemoration of its founder, Brother Roger – I greet you from my heart on behalf of the Patriarch of Moscow and Russia Kirill and in my own name.

It is fully and without the slightest reservation that Brother Roger’s life, so tragically interrupted ten years ago, was devoted to the service of God and men, in full accordance with the teaching of Christ "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven "(Mt 5:16).

During the Second World War Brother Roger often risked his life to save others, flying to the aid not only of Christians but of all those in need, because "There, there is no question of Greek or Jew ... " (Col 3: 11). In the eyes of many who suffered, Brother Roger is identified with the "Good Samaritan" of the Gospel.

For many years Brother Roger bore and announced the Good News, he helped those who were bewildered to find landmarks in a rapidly changing world. He showed the example of an authentic happiness found thanks to a life built on faith and purity. Brother Roger was the very incarnation of simplicity and humility that the Gospel teaches us. He was able to seek and find new forms of preaching in order to help those with hearts in disarray better hear the Divine Truth. A true light of Christianity, Brother Roger did his best not to be the object of excessive attention from others. However, "a city which is located atop a hill cannot be hidden," (Mt 5:14). Indeed, Brother Roger’s work made him famous across the whole world. In 1988 Brother Roger was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.

I was fortunate to meet Brother Roger several times, my heart keeps of him the radiant image of Christian sacrifice.

The Taizé Community was the work of Brother Roger’s life. He created it for young people, so that all might be united around the ideals of the Gospel. Taizé has become a true school of Christian brotherhood for youth from many countries. The community has made a great contribution to reviving in Europe an interest and curiosity about the writings of the Fathers of the Church and monastic life.

Dear brothers and sisters, we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of your community as well as the centenary of the birth of its founder: I wish from my heart that you may worthily continue the work begun by Brother Roger, that you may be strengthened in faith in the Savior and that you may express this faith by compassion and Christian love.

May the blessing of God be upon you all!

In the Lord’s love,

+ Hilarion, metropolitan of Volokolamsk, President of the Department of external ecclesiastical relations of the patriarcate of Moscow.


The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, representing the Anglican Communion

(Remarks at the end of the midday meal in Taizé, August 16th.)

Representing the communion of…so many many millions of people throughout the world? How can I do it? It’s an impossible task, really.

I think I’ll go back into a bit of history. I was a student in Cambridge reading theology in 1974 and I was with a couple from New Zealand who went to Taizé. And they came back with tapes, with music – they were full of it! And when my daughter, Grace, was born she listened to Taizé songs but I never came.

How many of you heard about Taizé but never came? You heard about it for years, many years. You sung their songs for years. Raise your hands, please! Be honest, be honest! You’d never been. I was one of those, until my daughter, Grace, came here as a permanent and stayed for nine months working in the kitchen – how many of you have enjoyed your food since you’ve been here? Well, she was in charge of the kitchen and she didn’t poison anybody and she did it for nine months. And while she was here I thought, “Well, it is high time I visited Taizé. Let me find out what is it that grabs us with the songs. We talk a lot with young people, we have Taizé services, but we’ve never been.” So we came here.

And of course the brothers, most of them speaking French, they said, “Ah, nice to meet you” and they called me “the father of Grace”. That’s a translation from French back into English, not quite right. Anyway, so I was known as the father of Grace and I had a fantastic, wonderful time. Then I brought three big groups when I was bishop of Stepney and then Birmingham. And then in 2005 it was announced that I was archbishop of York and I came here at the end of July and the beginning of August and had a fantastic week. And I had dinner with Brother Roger in his little cell. I asked him for prayer and this is what he prayed for me; it has now become a prayer that I use when I ordain bishops, priests, Church officers: “May the Lord keep you in the joy, simplicity and compassion of his holy gospel” and he blessed me. And to my shock he then said to me, “Will you please bless me too?” So I said a little prayer. And, friends, the following week he was killed.

So the memory for me as I’ve been an archbishop for nearly ten years – that prayer has kept me going: “Lord, keep me in the joy, simplicity and compassion of your gospel.”

One other thing which has gone so deep for me for Taizé is another one of those wonderful, simple but profound statements by Brother Roger: “God’s greatest miracle in us is his constant forgiveness.” That’s the greatest miracle. And by the way, that’s what Taizé offers. It invites us to recognise that God’s greatest miracle in us is his constant forgiveness.

You have been a community of trust and reconciliation and made it possible for us to keep in the joy, simplicity and compassion of the gospel of Jesus and to know that the greatest miracle God performs in us is his constant forgiveness. Friends, I don’t know where I would have been if God was not constantly forgiving me! I’m a sinner who needs his constant forgiveness, the greatest miracle.

And one final word, if you really want to know about Taizé and what it’s all about, may I recommend that you read Brother John’s book? I have just read it while I’ve been travelling recently, to three different places—Congo, Samoa and Fiji: Friends in Christ. I actually think he’s a great theologian. He’ll have to forgive me but I think it’s the best book he’s ever written and I encourage you to read it because it will tell you that the greatest gift God has given us is this friendship in Christ. And then I’ve discovered out of my sheer joy that in John 17, Jesus says to the Father, “I thank you for those whom you give me” five times. So you and I are the greatest gift of the Father to Christ. You are God’s gift to Christ! We tend to think the other way, that Jesus is our greatest gift from the Father, but according to John 17 we are the Father’s gift to his Son.... Read Brother John’s book!

Brother Alois, will you allow me just another 30 seconds? Young people, you have been seated for such a long time: will you please stand. This is the African in me, please stand! Your bums may be a bit sore.

I think this would delight Brother Roger today because always he was never focussing on himself. It was always God, Christ, the Spirit, the community. I’m going to ask you to do something which is not really Taizé-like... to shout! The psalmist said “Shout to the Lord all the earth”. We want the Lord to hear that the Taizé Community is shaping the world in the spirit of trust and that the Lord reigns and that because he reigns there will be another 100 years of Taizé Community. The words are very simple: “The Lord reigns,” meaning the Lord is in charge, ok? We’re going to shout it three times.

The Lord reigns!
The Lord reigns!
The Lord reigns!

Halleluiah!


The Secretary General of the World Lutheran Federation, Rev. Martin Junge

It is with deep gratitude that the Lutheran World Federation has received your invitation to be present at the jubilee of Taizé, for you, together with the Community of Taizé and many brothers and sisters in the faith throughout the world, are celebrating a major stage in your life and ministry. Other commitments prevent us from being present, but our thoughts and prayers are with you on this special day.

This year 2015 is a milestone in the life of Taizé, as it marks the centennial of Brother Roger’s birth, the 75th anniversary of the start of the community and also the 10th anniversary of Brother Roger’s death. All these events have truly left a special mark in the world.

In 1915, during the devastating World War I, a child was born, who was to become a strong creator of peace and seeker of unity because of Him who prayed "that all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you. May they be one in us, too, that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:21) Years later, following the call of God, at the beginning of the Second World War, Roger Louis Schutz-Marsauche risked his life to provide refuge in the small village of Taizé to persecuted Christians and Jews. Since its inception, the Community of Taizé, founded by Brother Roger, was and continues to be a place of "gathering for a new solidarity." For seven decades now, hundreds of thousands of women and men from around the world, with different personal routes and different experiences of faith, have been transformed by the spirituality of Taizé, which is simple and deeply rooted in a listening prayer, that opens the way for a close encounter with God and, through it, the service of one’s neighbor.

Brother Roger’s life was a great gift to the world; that he walked hand in hand with God was visible in his actions, audible in his words, but above all, reflected in the fruit of the love that he and the Community of Taizé have created and continue to create, guided by the Holy Spirit. The constant search and work for unity, even in the most difficult circumstances, continue to be an example of humility and strength, of self-abandonment and trust in the infinite love of God and in the divine intention that we should all one day be one in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Exactly ten years ago, upon hearing the news of the brutal death of Brother Roger, while he was praying surrounded and accompanied by hundreds of people, together with Job in the Bible and with many people in the whole world, we wondered, why do the good suffer? Why does God permit such a great evil to befall his saints? We still do not understand. But our trust in a God whose love is beyond all understanding and our hope in the sure promise of the resurrection sustain us to confront even the most difficult trials.

We give thanks for the life and ministry of Brother Roger. We thank God for the witness of the Community of Taizé, which for ten years now, under your responsibility, Brother Alois, continues to offer opportunities, especially for young people, to find themselves in intimate communion with God and to work unceasingly for understanding and reconciliation between peoples and their unity in the spirit of God.

On behalf of the Lutheran World Federation – a communion of churches – I offer my prayers asking the richest blessing of God upon the Community of Taizé, which ignores the borders made by men, and which aspires to be faithful to a life of joy, simplicity and mercy, guided by the Holy Spirit. May you continue to be light and salt of the earth.


The Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Olav Fykse-Tveit

We are gathered for a poignant moment of commemoration. 75 years after this extraordinary vision took life, Taizé continues to attract and inspire thousands of young people worldwide. Taizé is a village, it is a religious community but more than that, it is a spiritual home – a valuable stopping-place during a lifetime’s journey and a place to meet with others on the way. This remains true, whether they meet here or elsewhere in the spirit of Taizé, on many other occasions in the world. The attraction of the experience of a life of simplicity and experience of prayer is an extraordinary testimony to the way in which so many young people live a new expression of the age-old Christian slogan ’ora et labora’, ’pray and work’. Deepening my spirituality and inspiring my action, Taizé has also played a role in transforming my own faith journey. I will always be grateful to Brother Roger and the community he founded.

Under your leadership, dear Brother Alois, the Community has called for a "Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth." Young people have responded enthusiastically, motivated by the strong link between shared spirituality and the practice of solidarity. You wrote: "Continuing the pilgrimage of trust on earth that brings together young people from many countries, we ever more deeply understand the reality that all humans are one family and God lives in every human person, without exception." (Letter from Kolkata).

For us today it is vital to love the deep spiritual truth according to which we belong to a single human family so that we are part, in solidarity, of the great web of life. Becoming aware that our interrelationship is the beginning of mutual trust and solidarity calls for a change and a transformation of the ambivalent realities that we are faced with. We need to feel deeply, in our hearts, that to belong to the God who is Trinity results in our belonging to each other and to the creation. This is true today and will be tomorrow. Belonging together means that our future is inextricably linked to the future of others. There is only one common future for us all.

The experience of living in community is a compelling reflection of the interdependence of human beings. Week after week in Taizé, young people meet with the brothers in a rhythm of common life, sharing prayer, Bible study and meetings, also sharing the practical tasks that make possible a comfortable life together. The teaching of commitment towards a common goal shows that our different gifts can bloom more if developed with those of others in a common framework of prayer and work. This is often a challenge for us; it often transforms us. But throughout the history of Christianity the most inspiring and important aspects of our faith and our mission in the world have been discerned and expressed in community.

And so the lessons learned here regarding the commitment to a life together and shared vision are profound gifts when we are faced with the uncertainties of our future. An understanding of the strength of a close connection between the church, humanity and all of creation is a must if we want to grasp the devastating threat of climate change. This is vital for a world marked by a wounding inequality and lack of solidarity, where socio-economic conditions still maintain millions in abject poverty. This is felt in a world where the lack of adequate health care has fatal consequences for too many people infected with viruses and diseases which could be prevented. We have just commemorated the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a grim reminder of the horrors of war and the continuing danger of nuclear power. These threats to life affect us without discrimination and that concerns us all. We really need to hear this phrase: "all humans constitute one family and God lives in every human person, without exception."

Pilgrimage can define the ecumenical movement today. The call of the Community of Taizé to a Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth resonates in harmony with the invitation of the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan to embark on a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. Speaking of a pilgrimage that combines the spiritual dimensions of prayer and worship with practical action for justice and peace, we are led to remember that the Christian life and identity are part of something that is more bigger than us, something that binds us all together in a mutual solidarity which is like an expression of the grace and love of God. We emerge from a self-centered approach or a "self-service" to join Christian faith and life. Walking together in this pilgrimage demands and encourages openness to dialogue, acceptance and a practice of mutual responsibility and the integration of others in my own future. Seeking a meaning beyond oneself and of ourselves as part of a particular group, church or tradition, we discover the full dimension of life of a wider communion with those walking on the same path.

For me it is very significant that we are celebrating at the same moment the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Community of Taizé, the centenary of the birth of Brother Roger and the 10th anniversary of his death. Walking together in a pilgrimage of justice and peace, we recognize each one as a person with gifts and specific commitments that we are ready to share. As Christians we consider each other as sisters and brothers who support each other to live as disciples of Christ in the footsteps of Jesus. Through his life and his testimony, Brother Roger showed the joy and suffering involved in living as a disciple. The journey of his life helps us to see the deeper meaning of being together in the body of Christ in prayer and practical life. His reflections on life in Christ at the heart of Nazi terror and war and finally the tragedy of his death help us keep our eyes fixed on the cross of Christ. Thus we are reminded of that love of Christ who unites, who reconciles and who sacrifices himself for the world and the gift of new life in the Eucharist.

During the Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, we asked the brothers of Taizé, with a number of young people, to end a plenary session on unity by prayer. One in the body of Christ, the Church is called to be a prophetic sign and give a foretaste of God’s reign of justice and peace to come. Of course it is a vision but one that we can understand only by experiencing it.

Ora et labora – pray and work – worship and practice, turning to God and turning to the world, these two things are connected and mark the basic rhythm of our lives as Christians. It is my own experience that what we see and learn in Taizé is a lasting inspiration for our own pilgrimage.


The Deputy Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, Rev. Wilf Gasser

On behalf of the World Evangelical Alliance I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus. It is for me a great honor and a great privilege to be here with you for this Jubilee celebration. We wish you God’s blessings to continue your work of reconciliation and solidarity.

Taizé has been a blessing for many evangelical churches and for me personally. I was inspired by a Bible study group led in the "Taizé style." There I met young people from different traditions; my horizon of Christian faith grew and my walk with Christ was strengthened. In the World Evangelical Alliance we were thrilled by your music and the legacy of friendship and peace that Brother Roger left to you and to the world.

In the Book of Acts, chapter 10, we read how the Apostle Peter was taken to meet the centurion Cornelius. God brought together two persons and two communities and transformed them both. It was friendship, solidarity and reconciliation. As for Peter and Cornelius, we see in the growing relationship between Taizé and the evangelical communities the work of God and a sign of peace and hope in a troubled world.

We are grateful for your witness to the Gospel of Christ and for your current ministry to the young around the world. Be assured of our continual prayers that blessings and peace may be given to you and that you can continue to be yourselves a blessing to the Christian Church and the world.


The Secretary General of the Global Christian Forum, Rev. Larry Miller

In his letter for the year 2014, under the title "Searching for the visible communion of all those who love Christ", Brother Alois wrote: "Christ gave his friendship to all, without rejecting anyone. Those who love Christ throughout the earth form in his footsteps a great community of friendship. It is called communion. Thus, they have a contribution to make to heal the wounds of humanity ... "

For us Christians, the path to a new solidarity with all of humanity is based on the way to a solidarity that grows deeper, wider and more visibly with all who love Jesus Christ.

When we say that we seek a visible communion with all those who love Christ we must immediately ask ourselves who is it that our communion is not yet visible or not sufficiently visible. This is a question we have discussed with you, Brother Alois, when several representatives of the Global Christian Forum visited Taizé in March 2014. Who is absent from the visible community of friendship to which we are called all together?

For the community of Taizé, you said, it is in part the youngest churches, the evangelical and Pentecostal churches, which now constitute a growing part of all those who love Christ in the world. The Global Christian Forum can bear witness to the reality of a community of friendship that already you form with a significant number of these churches, perhaps sometimes unknowingly. When the Forum helped with the process of inviting the leaders of these churches on this day of commemoration and celebration, we were surprised by the number of those who said, "Yes, we know and we respect Taizé" or at least: “our young people know Taizé and love it!’ Your invitation to these leaders and their presence here shows this friendship, this communion and makes it more visible. This way you on your side are following towards a new solidarity in Christ is important and exemplary for all of us – younger churches and older churches. Thank you for this gift.

Let me add a word about your gift for discovering and nurturing new forms of solidarity in the body of Christ. Usually at gatherings of the Global Christian Forum, whether global or regional, each church leads its prayers in its own traditions while the others who are present participate as much as they can. But before the second global gathering in Indonesia in 2011, we asked you to help us to create a form of prayer in which each tradition, both old and new, could feel they pray in a large community of friendship in Christ, in a communion that perhaps could not yet be fully visible but nevertheless could already be deeply felt. You have sent a brother to guide us; he did things beautifully and with great success. Thank you for this gift.

Receive our deep gratitude for your gift of inspiring new solidarities in the body of Christ – so that that body can contribute to the healing of humanity. We also promise you to walk with you on this way of mercy that now opens before us all in the coming times.


The Secretary General of the World Baptist Alliance, Rev. Neville Callam

Brother Alois, my brothers and sisters,

Brevity is not a gift for which baptists are well know but today I will surprise you, I have to say that I consider this a wonderful opportunity to share with you on this significant occasion when memory, longing and joy embrace each other. I come from the tribe of Christians called baptists and the baptists are present in more than 121 countries. It should not surprise anyone but we are very familiar to the history of Taizé and that we even sing your songs again and again in the places were we need, not only the young but the old. We are grateful to God for the meaning of your mission and the witness that you bring to human solidarity, to peace, to justice and to reconciliation and we which to assure you that you could depend on the accompaniment of our prayer as baptists as you continue this significant work. Our prayer is that God will continue abundantly to bless you all. Thank you very much.


The Archbishop of Uppsala, Primate of Sweden Rev. Antje Jackelén

"The greatest among you shall be your servant" (Mk 12:11). These words of Christ were chosen for this 11th Week of the Holy Trinity in the Swedish Lectionary.

These words echo in my heart with grateful joy as I send warm greetings and assure you of my spiritual communion in this time of celebration of the birth of Brother Roger and also the 75th anniversary of your community. The Community of Taizé has certainly been a servant and has formed servants throughout the years: servants of the pilgrims and young people in search of the gushing wellsprings of faith in our time. But you have also been servants of a grand design for world peace through your unceasing prayer for us all.

Each year more than three thousand young people come from Sweden to Taizé. They find there, not only your hospitality but also the experience of simplicity, of communion and of the love of the Gospel. Through the prayers, the singing, the shared work, as also by talking about faith and life, they are invited to come closer to Christ, the greatest of us and yet the servant of all. And this is the most essential aspect of the incarnation of God, as Brother Roger himself experienced it: "God can only love."

May our common pilgrimage bear fruit. And may we keep close to our heart the words of St. Therese of Lisieux: "The smallest movement of pure Love is more useful to the Church than all the other works combined."

The Federation of the Protestant Churches of Switzerland, Dr. Martin Hirzel

I greet you with the text for the week, drawn from the "Words and Texts" of the Moravian Brethren: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5). Humility is an essential foundation of the Christian’s life and that of the Christian community. But this word, for many of our contemporaries, sounds old-fashioned.

Humility, however, does not mean servility. In his treatise "On Christian Freedom," Martin Luther gave a memorable description of the dual nature of Christian humility: "The Christian man is in all things the most helpful of servants and subject to all." But he is also "the freest; master of all things, he is subject to no-one." The Christian humility that spontaneously decides to serve one’s neighbor, we have in Christ: He frees us for a life of joy, simplicity and mercy.

Here in Taizé, this Christian life in humility and at the same time in joy, simplicity and mercy is a reality lived for seventy-five years with constancy and fidelity. It is practiced daily by kneeling and prayer, silence and work in the service of one’s neighbor.

Today our hearts are filled with gratitude for the service you render, you Taizé brothers, and for the life of the founder of your community, Brother Roger. We remember all the enrichment that the Community of Taizé has brought to our churches.

Brother Roger and the first brothers gathered around him were all from Switzerland. The Revival and the ecumenical movement had given important impulses, but the example of the life led by the Taizé brothers was a novelty for the Reformed churches of Switzerland. It was necessary to overcome resistances. Then the churches, especially in western Switzerland, benefited greatly from the momentum given by Taizé in spirituality and liturgy.

Our Reformed churches have learned anew the value of a community life where people choose a common Christian life centered on spirituality and social commitment, on action and contemplation. A choice that has lost none of its relevance in our time of exaggerated individualism, in which a lack of time and the agitation of the world cause human beings to lose their bearings.

The action of the movement of Taizé has crossed the borders of churches and confessions, countries and political systems, languages and generations. It is with deep gratitude that the Protestant churches in Europe remember the commitment of the Taizé brothers in Eastern and South-east Europe. You have proclaimed the gospel with perseverance and worked for reconciliation between east and west.

God has bestowed on you a gift that is to show by lived example, like a parable, how reconciliation and peace can become a reality in personal, ecclesial and social life. This gift, you have generously shared. And the Protestant churches in Europe are deeply grateful to you Taizé brothers. It is to Taizé that the Churches owe one of the main impulses to ecclesiastical life in Europe after World War II. The example of the Community of Taizé, especially its faithful action in service of the young, is a spur that pushes us to renew ourselves.

It is a great joy for me, personally, to be here on this day of joy and anniversary, but also of silent meditation. The future of all of us, of the community of Taizé and of our churches is under the promise of our merciful God, as expressed in the First Epistle of Peter, following the words quoted above : "Cast all your worries on him, because he cares for you. "(1 Peter 5:7).


The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

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Ven. Jaseung, Head of the Jogye Order of South-Korean Buddhism

On behalf of South Korean Buddhism, I wish to extend my warmest congratulations on the celebration of the centenary of the birth of the founder of the Taizé Community, Brother Roger, and the 75th anniversary of the foundation of this community.

The emotion I felt on meeting the Taizé Community, during my visit to France in 2011, is still vivid in my mind. Despite the differences between the religions we profess, I noticed a strong similarity between the consecrated life of the brothers of the Taizé Community and that of Korean Buddhist ascetics in search of the truth.

Modern civilization has enabled humanity to have access to a more comfortable life, indeed, but it has neglected to some degree respect and attention towards the Other. The violence due to the refusal of the other and the neglect of minorities undermines the dignity of life and the value of coexistence. At this time when the place and role of religions matter more than ever in our societies, the 75 years of works performed by the Taizé Community are all the more valuable.

I hope from the bottom of my heart that the Taizé Community will continue to embody the spirit of Brother Roger, remaining a living place of interfaith dialogue, peace and mutual respect.


Printed from: http://www.taize.fr/en_article19450.html - 20 October 2017
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