Messages received for the meeting


On this page, the messages sent to the participants of the 42nd European Meeting in Wroclaw from ecclesial and political leaders.

Pope Francis
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
The Patriarchate of Moscow
Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, Primate of England
The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse-Tveit
The Executive Director, Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, Dr. Rosalee Velloso Ewell
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Antonio Guterres
The President of the European Commission, Ms. Ursula von der Leyen

Pope Francis

Dear young people who have come together for the 42nd European meeting at the initiative of the Taizé Community, this year you are gathered in Poland, the homeland of Saint John Paul II.

His successor, Pope Francis, accompanies you with his prayer and encourages you, in contact with the Christian believers of Poland, to deepen the theme that you have chosen for this gathering at Wrocław: "Always on the move, never uprooted".

Poland is a country that has its roots in faith. These roots have enabled this people to stand firm in great trials, when hope was sorely tried. You will discover that there is much to learn from those who remained faithful to Christ when the temptation was there to take the easy way out. These Christians dared to believe in another future.

May you discover together that having roots in faith calls you and prepares you to reach out to others, to respond to the new challenges of our societies, especially the threats to our common home. “Roots are not anchors chaining us to past times and preventing us from facing the present [...]. Instead, they are a fixed point from which we can grow and meet new challenges.” (Christus vivit, n. 200).

Searching with many others, you will discover that there is much joy in setting out on a journey, sometimes – like Abraham – without knowing the goal in advance. Always be ready to start out again, to bear witness to the Gospel and to be fully present to those around you, especially to the poorest and most unfortunate. “Don’t wait until tomorrow to contribute your energy, your audacity and your creativity to changing our world [...] You are the now of God and he wants you to bear fruit” (Ibid., n. 178).

The Holy Father blesses all of you, the young people, as well as the brothers of the Taizé Community, the families and the parishes that welcome you. May the faith of Mary, who also left "in haste" (Luke 1:39), sustain the momentum of your trust in her Son.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

We send you our warmest greetings and we congratulate you for taking the time and the effort to participate in the 42nd European Meeting organized by the Taizé Community. In a world where opportunities have become almost unlimited, taking time to meet one another has become all the more valuable. For the knowledge that comes from the mystery of meeting and discovering one another cannot come with haste. Social media help us to get to know people’s profiles, but you have made the choice to get to know them as persons, and to let them get to know you completely. The artificial side of things is reduced to a minimum, since making the journey, not to say pilgrimage, obliges you to be more true to yourselves. But, in the life of the church, meetings are also calls, or vocations. Christ invites the apostle Andrew to follow him. He saw Nathaniel beneath the fig-tree. He appeared to Paul on the Damascus Road. All these episodes make concrete the presence of God in the lives of the apostles. As Christians, all of us a re called to be messengers, sent out by Christ into the world.

Saint John the Theologian writes at the beginning of his Gospel the following words, which continue to ring out powerfully: “The Word came to his own, but his own did not receive him. But to all who did receive him and believed in him, he made it possible to become children of God. They became God’s children not by natural birth nor by human will; their new life was given by God.” (Jn 1, 11-13) It is up to us to become interpreters of the Word, not just by words, but by incarnating the Word in our lives. This is the project that you are involved in during these days in Wroclaw: to experience the faith as the promise of a new life, that is to say, as something which transfigures the life we have already been given, and which offers itself totally for union with the divine.

Thirty years separate us from the fall of the “iron curtain”. The Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, bringing very great hopes to birth. The end of the Cold War, which some people saw as the end of history, gave the project of Europe a new breath of life, to which we are heirs today. Not many of you remember those events, but their worldwide effects still deeply influence our way of seeing and of being in the world.

We need to understand how the removal of this scar that disfigured the face of Europe was a sign of hope for an entire generation. But the process of reconciliation was not always simple. There is certainly a lesson to be learned from this experience for us as Christians of different denominations who hope to work in favour of unity and of communion. Hope is certainly what we should be holding fast to if we are convinced of the indispensable ecumenical path that we ought to be walking together.

So we pray for you and we give you our blessing. May the grace of unity shine out in each one of you, and may it bring the hope that sustains the life of the Church, so that you may be good workers in the Lord’s vineyard.

The Moscow Patriarchate

Dear Brother Alois, dear brothers and sisters,

In the name of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, and in my own name, I greet all of you gathered today in Wrocław for the annual meeting of young Christians organised by the monastic community of Taizé and I send you my best wishes on the occasion of the luminous feast of the Nativity of the Christ and the New Year.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Always on the move, never uprooted.” Reading Holy Scripture encourages us to go forward. Like Abraham who left everything in response to God’s call, like the Hebrews following Moses who journeyed during forty years in the desert, like the Holy Apostles who proclaimed the Gospel to the point of martyrdom, we also are called to set off on the path of spiritual life, the goal of which is Christ.

The Christian has to remember that their earthly homeland is only the entrance hall to the heavenly city that they long for. “Our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3.20)

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” said the Lord (Jn 14.6). The Saviour does not simply indicate the path for everlasting life, but invites us to walk it together with Him, for “no-one comes to the Father except through me,” (Jn 14.6). The way towards everlasting life is possible only in Christ and through Him.

Gathered during this Christmas season, you have the opportunity to take part in a pivotal event that changed forever human history. “Like the sun whose rays are still hidden but whose light already irradiates a part of the universe, so Christ, emerging from the womb of the Virgin before being revealed, already illuminated the universe,” wrote St John Chrysostom.

Unfortunately, our world today pays less and less of attention to this Feast. At Christmas time, Christ’s name is more and more hidden behind the trees, the decorations, the markets and shopping in stores. Defending one’s faith in a secularised society has become today’s challenge for every young Christian. Strangers on this earth and aspiring to a heavenly homeland, we must also be aware of our place in this world.

Be witnesses to Christ and proclaim His Birth and Resurrection. Let us strive in the coming year to gather our strength to advance on the Lord’s way, remembering these words of the Apostle Paul: “Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God” (2 Tim 1.8).

May blessing of God be with you all. In the Lord’s love,

Hilarion, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, Primate of England

Alleluia! May God bless you as we approach a New Year, and as you gather for the European Meeting of Young Adults in Wroclaw!

Your theme, “always on the move, never uprooted” rings true for anyone who has set out on the journey of following Jesus Christ. When St Paul prayed for the Christians at Ephesus and Colossae that they would be ‘rooted and grounded in love’ – he knew from his many journeys that “home” was not a place, but a deep reality, the presence of God amongst us, through Jesus Christ, and in the gift of the Holy Spirit. Augustine put it this way – “our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee.”

At the start of 2020 may we all be restless, bold and venturesome in our endeavours in Christ, ready to answer His call, wherever He leads. And on that journey, may we know ourselves profoundly at home, at rest in Him, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, for ever held fast in the love of the Father.

May there be great rejoicing as you share Christ together there in Wroclaw this week! And may the Holy Spirit fill you with grace to take that joy with you, wherever you go.

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

As you gather this month in Wrocław, Poland, for the next stop in your Pilgrimage of Trust, I want, on behalf of the whole worldwide fellowship of Christians, to convey my greetings, promise my prayers, and send encouragement to you and to the thousands of young people journeying there.

As always, your meeting in Wrocław will be marked by hospitality and spirituality. Young pilgrims and residents will cross social, cultural, and religious boundaries to encounter each other and to share deep communion with God. It is a sign of new life and a crossroads moment for all of us. Further, you meet just after Christmas, when we ponder God’s incarnation in Jesus. In him we learn that God stands with us, suffers with us, abides with us, and is at work in us. No matter where we are in our journey, we are never uprooted from the love of Christ. At the beginning of a new year, we can then lift our hearts in genuine hope for a new day, when the seeds of contemplation and solidarity can enliven the creative energies of committed youth working for a better life for all in Europe.

You inspire us. The Taizé experience in so many ways exemplifies what we continue to find on our Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, namely, that the journey itself calls forth our better selves. As disciples, we are continually transformed by the encounter with God and each other, eager to break down barriers — of nation, race, gender, or creed — and build community. In the words of our next assembly’s theme, “Christ’s love moves us to reconciliation and unity.”

Christ is not bound to or limited to any nation or nationalist agenda. Christ’s love pervades the one human family, the world, indeed the whole of God’s creation. Any discrimination or exclusion contradicts the love of Christ and endangers those who are stigmatized or excluded. The experience of the 20th century teaches us that.

We pray for every blessing on the encounter in Wrocław. May this next stage on Taizé’s Pilgrimage of Trust enable each and every participant to grow in the love of Christ and reveal a new dawn for all of us.

The Secretary General of the Global Christian Forum, Rev. Casely Essamuah

The Secretary General of the Lutheran World Federation, Pastor Martin Junge

The Secretary General of the Baptist World Alliance, Rev Dr Elijah M. Brown

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The Executive Director, Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, Dr. Rosalee Velloso Ewell

To all those in Wroclaw, warmest greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus!

I rejoice in your gathering and give thanks to God for bringing you all together from all corners of the earth to pray, study and consider together what it means to be always on the move, yet never uprooted.

We are in the Christmas season – let us rejoice because Christ has come! Like Jesus, even as we go through life as pilgrims, going to where the Spirit sends us, still we remain rooted in God and in God’s love for all creation.

Like Abraham and Sarah on their journey to the future God had planned for them, we will have moments of obedience and moments of failure, yet in all of these, God is faithful and forgiving. It is a blessing that we are not on this journey alone. Jesus surprises us with the fellow travelers he calls to be on the road with us, just as he surprised the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

May you be blessed and surprised by God as you enter this near year of the pilgrimage of trust. May you entertain angels as you show God’s hospitality to strangers; may you shine light in the darkness and show the love of Christ to those who feel unloved. In these you will be blessed to be a blessing.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr António Guterres

I send best wishes to the Taizé Community on the occasion of its annual meeting. Years ago as a university student, I attended a Taizé gathering, and those memories remain vivid. Then and now, I greatly admire your efforts to bring people together from so many societies and traditions.

That embrace of diversity is especially important today, at a time of divisions across the world. We see geopolitical rivalries, growing inequality, a widening gulf between people and political establishments, and a rupture between people and planet, epitomized by the worsening climate crisis. International cooperation is more important than ever, and the world needs young people in particular to keep pushing for action, solutions and change.

This year I make a special appeal to you for climate action. For many decades humans have been at war with the planet. Today the planet is fighting back. We confront a global climate crisis, and the point of no-return is hurtling towards us. Yet I can also see hope. The scientific community tells us that the roadmap to stay below a 1.5 degree temperature rise is still within reach. The technologies to make this possible are already available. Public opinion is waking up, with young people like you showing remarkable leadership and mobilization. And more cities, financial institutions and businesses are committing to the 1.5 degree pathway.

In 2020, I will count on you to keep pushing to keep climate at the top of the international agenda. The United Nations will be your strong partner as we strive together to build a world of peace, sustainable development and human rights for all. In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a memorable meeting, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The President of the European Commission, Ms. Ursula von der Leyen

Dear young people,
The days you will spend together in Wroclaw under the auspices of the Taizé Community will leave you with ties, friendships, memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.

During your stay, you will discover new perspectives from your friends. You will discover the pure sense of hospitality and of solidarity with the warm welcome of the local community. And you will follow in the footsteps of the hundreds of thousands of young people who have discovered the soul of Europe by taking part in the Taizé European meetings.

Your meeting this year is particularly moving and special. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the dismantling of the Iron Curtain and the fall of the Berlin Wall. So it is 30 years since a large part of Europe regained its freedom. 30 years since our European family was finally reunited.

As you gather in prayer and discussion in the days ahead, think well of the courage of all those who fought for freedom. Think of all those who stood up for their values. Think of what unity, peace and reconciliation meant to them. It is our duty never to forget this and never to stop building a Union that is more united, more just, more tolerant, more open and more human.

You have good examples to follow. I am thinking, of course, of the Taizé Community, which embodies our European values. But I am also thinking of Saint Urszula Ledochowska who inspires the motto of your meeting: “Always on the move, never uprooted”. During her long European journey, she always devoted herself to the poorest and most vulnerable, and she showed us the strength of unity. It is up to you, and to all of us, to follow her.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a rich and happy stay, full of joy, full of discovery and full of love. And above all, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Last updated: 27 December 2019