Russia: Easter 2011

A Pilgrimage to Moscow

The links between Taizé and Russia go back over many years. Already in the 1960s, Russian Orthodox church leaders were able to visit the community. During the 1970s and 80s, Brother Roger and other brothers of the community were invited to visit Russia. Meetings with Russian Orthodox church leaders took place and the visits were also a sign of solidarity with Russian believers who at that time were unable to travel abroad.

In 1988, after having been invited to take part in the millennium celebrations of the baptism of the Rus’, Brother Roger decided that the community would print one million Bibles in the Orthodox Synodal translation to be sent to Moscow, St Petersburg, Kiev and Minsk, which were duly distributed at a time when the Scriptures were still hard to come by. When, at the start of the 1990s, the borders opened, groups from different parishes in Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities came in large numbers to take part in the youth meetings in Taizé as well as the European meetings at the end of each year.

In June 2006, Brother Alois visited Patriarch Alexis II together with two other brothers. For a number of years, the Patriarch sent a message of greetings and blessing to the participants in the annual European meetings. Br Alois attended Patriarch Alexis II’s funeral in December 2008 and also the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill I in January 2009.

Now, for Easter 2011, Brother Alois and other brothers of the community will spend several days on pilgrimage in Moscow from Wednesday 20 April to Monday 25 April. Young people are welcome to join them in order to discover the richness of Orthodox worship and the spirituality of Russia, forged over the centuries in times of great trial, but where faith in the Resurrection of Christ has helped so many believers to hold firm. At the same time it will be the opportunity both to discover the vitality of today’s Orthodox parishes and to speak about the challenges facing these communities in contemporary Russian society. This will enable us to enrich and support each other as we seek to bear witness to the Gospel.

Easter falls on the same date in both the Eastern and Western calendars in 2011. Our pilgrimage will be a sign of our thirst to celebrate our faith in Christ together.

Last updated: 24 January 2011

“Having met Brother Roger on more than one occasion, I noticed each time how much he knew and understood the tradition of the early Church, and how the Word of God and the writings of the Church Fathers were a basis for his personal spiritual experience. Combining fidelity to the teaching of the Holy Fathers with creative adaptation to the needs of today, in a missionary ministry among youth, characterized the path of Brother Roger and that of the community founded by him. The thousands of young people who visit Taizé and take part in the meetings organized each year by the community in various European countries show convincingly that the Gospel message of God’s love can still find a living echo in people’s hearts today, if it is not only preached in words, but lived out personally.”

from the message sent by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow for the 70 years celebration of the founding of Taizé, August 14, 2010.