Meeting in Turin and online

Messages received

We will publish on this page the messages addressed by Church and political leaders to the participants of the 44th European Taizé meeting in Turin and online.

Pope Francis
The Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew
The Patriarchate of Moscow
The interim Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, Father Ioan Sauca
The Secretary of the Global Christian Forum, Rev. Casely Essamuah
Pastor Christian Krieger, president of the Conference of European Churches
Rev. Rosalee Velloso Ewell, Director of Church Relations for the United Bible Societies
The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen

Pope Francis

Dear friends,

The pandemic is preventing you, once again, from meeting at the end of the year for the 44th European youth meeting hosted by the Community of Taizé, as planned. You will have to wait until July to go to Turin and live this moment of fraternity in joy. The Holy Father prays for this intention, but already he unites himself in thought and prayer with all of you who are present (online) and he sends you his most cordial greetings.

Your meeting is taking place at a time when there are many reasons for concern. Many wonder: Does our planet have a future? What responsibilities do we have to take to ensure its protection and make the earth habitable? As polarizations increase, how can we, according to your theme for the coming year, "become builders of unity"?

Instead of giving in to defeatism and running away from these questions, you have decided to tackle them head on, to seek together, to pray, to listen to the Word of God, to let it shed light on increasingly complex human situations. It is not for nothing that the book of the Acts of the Apostles specifies that on the day of Pentecost the disciples "were all gathered together" (2, 1). It is when we are together that the Spirit of God blows in a special way. With the current synod, the Catholic Church, too, is seeking to make herself more available to the work of the Spirit by inviting the disciples of Christ to discover how much we need one another.

You have chosen not to look away from the human suffering and glaring problems of the present moment, but to look at these realities, confident that you are called to participate in finding the solutions. For if there is no lack of subjects for anguish, it is no less true that the Spirit of God never ceases to work and to raise up creators of fraternity, solidarity, and unity. By opening yourselves to the presence of the Risen Christ, by letting him unify your hearts, you each prepare yourself to be one of them.

The Holy Father asks the Holy Spirit to bless you, young Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, who participate in thought and in prayer in the European meeting, and he entrusts you to the protection of the Virgin Mary. May you continue to be pilgrims of trust wherever the Lord sends you!

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for the Holy Father

The Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew

Dear young people,
We sincerely pray that this message will find you in good health, at peace and filled with hope as you come together in the magnificent city of Turin on the occasion of the 44th European Youth Meeting of Taizé.

You are certainly witnessing the greatest technological changes that humanity has ever encountered, at a speed and intensity that no other generation has experienced. This new reality touches us and it shapes our view of the world. We take speed for granted. The impatience with the slowness of everyday objects that are not fast enough turns too often into passion. This upheaval in our experience of time, but also of space, profoundly modifies our ability to appreciate and contemplate the beauty of a world which, although immobile, is nevertheless in constant transformation. Nature is a perfect image of this.

We do know, however, how beneficial technology can be. The speed and the free flow of information certainly help. Moreover, the production in record time of the vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic is a sign of the formidable opportunities made possible by the development of science. But let us also be attentive to the illusions that can arise from too much love of our own power, completely disconnected from the only power that matters, that of love. Besides, did Rabelais not write: "Science without conscience is nothing but the ruin of the soul"?

This is precisely the reason why humility is truly the most important virtue you can acquire in your lifetime. As Saint John Climachus affirms, humility alone is enough to open the gates of Paradise (The Holy Ladder, 23, 12). We know that the Lord has adopted the garments of humility by assuming our nature in order to give himself entirely for the life of the world. As the holy apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians: “[Christ] who is of divine condition did not consider being equal with God to be something to be grasped at. But he stripped himself, taking the condition of a servant, becoming like a man, and, recognized by his appearance as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, to death on a cross. "(Phil 2, 6-8)

Our hearts must be imbued with the spirit of humility of the Lord. Do not view it as a weakness. On the contrary, we must keep our feet on the ground and our spirit constantly turned toward heaven in order to journey together towards the Kingdom, in order to "Become creators of unity", as the theme of this meeting reminds us. Unity is rooted in humility. It is its perfect setting, the sign of hope by which all our divisions will be lifted.

Therefore, we invite you to embark on this path of wisdom with the humility which finds its source in Christ. Wisdom is in the Word of God, the Logos incarnate. Out of humility, this Word became flesh for us.

May the Lord grant you all His grace and abundant love, so that you can seek wisdom in humility and become the agents of change so much needed by the world as you wait for the Kingdom of God.

May the Lord bless you all! Also, we continue to pray for you and bless you. We congratulate the Community of Taizé on the occasion of this new edition of these meetings. May the grace of unity shine in each and every one of you, and may it be the bearer of the hope which sustains the life of the Church, so that you may be worthy workers in the Lord’s vineyard.

The Patriarchate of Moscow

Dear brothers and sisters,
I am happy to greet the participants in the traditional meeting of the Community of Taizé, which is taking place during the celebrations of the Nativity of Christ according to the Gregorian calendar; this year it is devoted to the theme: "Becoming creators of unity".

In these difficult times, the need for unity is more evident than ever. Despite the predictions of many politicians and scientists, the process of globalization has not led to an appeasement of international and intercultural contradictions, nor has it contributed to the reduction of inequality within societies. On the contrary, our age is faced with unprecedented challenges, in a way exacerbating already existing problems, while confronting us with entirely new questions.

In this context, we are led to think more and more seriously about the meaning of the concept of unity, at many different levels: the unity of humanity, the unity of the representatives of the different religions faced with common challenges, the unity of Christians, solidarity at national and local level. In this sense, how can we not consider as prophetic the calls of the primates of our Churches to the unity of the human race, launched in recent years. In 2020, Pope Francis published the encyclical "Fratelli tutti", which contains striking reflections from the current head of the Catholic Church on this subject. Brotherhood and unity are also themes dear to the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. Thus, in an interview with the Romanian review “Q Magazine”, in 2017, His Holiness Patriarch Cyril of Moscow and all the Russias remarked: “The Gospel is still today the most effective way to achieve happiness by the shortest route, both for concrete individuals and for society as a whole. It is foolish and quite impossible to seek to overcome individualism simply in the name of collectivism. Things go much deeper: Christianity affirms that it is only by serving God and one’s neighbor that the human person acquires the fullness of being, which alone can give inspiration and authentic happiness, beyond the limits of earthly existence."

These words are still relevant today, in the context of renewed global conflicts, accompanied by phenomena thought to be a thing of the past, such as the arms race, manifestations of hostility and hatred. I believe they force us to recognize again that the future of our planet and that of all humanity is placed, by divine will, in our hands.

On our efforts to become fully creators of unity depends, in a way, the further development of history, the fate of future generations. How, on this subject, can we not remember a famous quotation from the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, known the world over, the bicentenary of whose birth is being celebrated this year: "God struggles with the devil, and the battlefield is in the heart of man ”. In this struggle, the word of the Savior is our consolation: "Take courage, I have overcome the world" (Jn 16,33).

To all of you, I wish that this meeting may be a success and benefit you spiritually.
With my friendship in the Lord,

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

The interim Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, Father Ioan Sauca

My dear friends, participants in the Taizé European Youth Encounter,

With genuine joy I greet you on behalf of the World Council of Churches and send my prayers and good wishes for your days of encounter and your work of self-reflection, prayer, meeting each other, and together facing the needs of our times.

Your presence lifts my heart because I see in it a sign that we—as persons, as Christians, as Europeans—can, through our personal and collective transformation as disciples of Christ, meet and surmount the many difficulties and challenges our world struggles to cope with today. You give me hope!

How can this happen? As Brother Alois has exhorted, by opening ourselves up and attuning ourselves to the love of God, the person of Christ, and the work of the Spirit, we can become artisans of unity. We forge friendships and create genuine community with those around us, even or especially with those different from us. We experience solidarity with all those in need and with our needy planet. We let our hope open new and creative approaches. We explore shared values and pursue reconciliation to bring all of us together as one human family.

Such radical conversion—giving ourselves over fully to love—is neither quick nor easy, but it is what we are made for.

I need not belabor all the mountainous challenges we face today; you know them as well as I. Our one hope of overcoming them and creating a sustainable future lies in coming together as persons and communities absolutely committed to life, to the dignity and well-being of each person, and to the welfare of creation.

As young people, as persons of love and conscience, as disciples of Christ and his way, you hold a key to that future. With the whole worldwide fellowship of churches, I pray: May your time together plant seeds of transformation for you and your friends, for our communities and nations, and for our world.

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

If our world ever needed the wisdom and energy of young people, it is now. We are going through turbulent times at all levels, and it is instructive that the youth - to whom the future belongs - are front and center in the attempt to have a credible engagement with urgent global issues.

Several cultures treat youth differently. Some, sadly I must say, want the youth to be seen but not heard. Others, give all the physical responsibilities that have been abdicated by the elders over to the youth, forcing them to bear the burden of physical demands. The Bible promotes a healthy median, where all ages are deemed precious and invited to fully engage in the affairs of the present world.

Growing up a Methodist minister in Ghana, we used to sing these words, quaint words from Charles Wesley, but their intent is to inspire:

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
O may it all my powers engage
To do my Master’s will!

We can only take care of the future by a full engagement with the “present age.”

In many ways, this time can be a Kairos moment for us all: not so much to dwell on what we are unable to do because of the pandemic, but to ask ourselves what avenues for service and care have been made possible, precisely because our normal patterns of life have been disrupted?

In each of the top five struggles that our world contends with now - COVID, racial justice, deep political polarization, climate justice, and a great sense of unease about the global order - youth are charting a new and unprecedented course of action and advocacy. All I can say is KEEP IT UP and FORGE AHEAD. You have my deepest respect and can be assured of our prayers.

Pastor Christian Krieger, president of the Conference of European Churches

As a sign of fraternal communion, I send you warm greetings from the Conference of European Churches, and I convey to you the encouragement of its 114 member Churches, Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, Old Catholics, from over 40 European countries.

The pandemic, which we have been living with for almost two years now, challenges our humanity. And we are discovering in these very special times how much we need to meet in friendship, to live in relation, in coherence. This pandemic which puts our world and its modernity to the test, defying our humanity and its science, once again deprives you of the happiness of meeting together, pilgrims from all European horizons, and more widely still, to celebrate trust together, given to us by this God who offers himself to us by becoming one of us.

At the heart of our fragmented world, at the heart of our fractured societies, at the heart of our humanity grappling with the excesses of individualism, the Christmas story comes as a sign of unity. Indeed, in Christ heaven and earth embrace! At the time of his birth, the heavens summon the earth to a meeting with God. The angels invite the shepherds to come and greet the birth of the Savior. The stars guide the scholars of the East to the bedside of the salvation of mankind. Thus, in Christ, God offers himself to our world and to our humanity as a bond of unity. He brings together locals and foreigners, scholars and simple people, celestial beings and those who tread the earth. He clears the blocked horizons of a young couple in difficulty by an early birth! In Christ, God is revealed as a bond of unity.

May this bond of unity offered in Christ shape your vision of the world, may it guide the way you see your sisters and brothers in humanity, as well as creation as a whole, may it be the foundation of your trust, support your hope, and mobilize your attention.
May the reconciliation given in Christ set you on the road to those who are entrusted to your compassion and whom God gives to you, to find in your daily lives the signs of this hope in motion, of this promise in the making.

Rev. Rosalee Velloso Ewell, Director of Church Relations for the United Bible Societies

Dear sisters and brothers gathered for the Taizé Turin Youth Meeting 2021-2022,

Warmest greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus from the United Bible Societies!
In these times of separations and forced distancing between us all, your gatherings – both online and in person – are symbols of hope and unity in a fractured world. You are a reflection of the joy for which Jesus prayed in the Gospel of John: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).

This year the United Bible Societies celebrated its 75th anniversary. Like you, we are privileged to work with all Christians for the sake of the gospel and to promote Christian unity through services of justice and peace.

Please know that you will be in my prayers as you meet together to rejoice in our Lord, to pray and to bear witness to the hope and love we have in Christ. May God’s richest blessings be with you,

The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres

I am pleased to send my greetings to the annual meeting of the Taizé Community. Our world needs your engagement and ideas more than ever.

We face the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a world of fragilities and injustice. It must be an inflection point for bold and transformative action.

For the first time in a generation, poverty and hunger are on the rise. Inequalities are increasing. A surge of mistrust and misinformation is polarizing people and paralyzing societies. Geopolitical divisions disrupt international cooperation. Human rights are under assault. And we continue to careen toward climate catastrophe.

But we can turn things around.

We have the blueprints: the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Humanity has shown time and again that we are capable of great things when we work together – beyond governments and across geographies and generations.

To do so, we need a more inclusive and networked multilateralism. That is why the United Nations has launched a new initiative: Our Common Agenda. It includes more than 90 recommendations and proposals, based on a 360-degree analysis of the state of our world.

A central element is ensuring young people fully participate in designing our shared future and have a much stronger influence in the United Nations itself.

The world needs your energy, courage and commitment. I draw hope from seeing your generation challenge the status quo and call for transformative change.

The United Nations is your steadfast ally as we strive to build a sustainable, inclusive and resilient world for all.

I wish you every success.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen

Dear friends of Taizé,
Youth is a time of discovery, creativity and hope. It is the time in our lives where everything is new, all experiences are meaningful, and new friends can last a lifetime. The Community of Taizé is also defined by the spirit of youth. For it brings together so many caring and committed young people from across Europe and the world. Individuals who at such a young age already give back so much to society.

In the last two years, young people have sacrificed much of their freedom for the health and safety of others. You have truly led by example. That is why I have proposed to make 2022 the Year of European Youth. I want the European Union to engage more with young people. To hear what you demand and dream for Europe. Because I believe Europe needs a youthful spirit to overcome the pandemic and to open a new chapter.

In the face of challenges such as climate change, the leadership of the next generation is more important than ever. That is why I was so glad to see the Taizé community lead a prayer for young people in Glasgow during the COP26. Bringing justice and balance back to our relationship with nature is a noble task. With the European Green Deal, the EU is heading steadily towards the greener, fairer and healthier future that your generation aspires to. A future that we can build together, if we all contribute in our daily lives.

The Community of Taizé introduced me to words by Saint Augustine that have given me strength: “Go forth on your path, as it exists only through your walking”. In these difficult times, I hope that these words give young people even more strength. Your path may be long, but your spirit is strong.

I thank you for the example you set. I hope that your meeting in Turin can further inspire the future of our Union and the healing of our planet.

I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Last updated: 29 December 2021