TAIZÉ

Some Recent News

Community council: Prayer by Brother Alois

As they do every year, the brothers had their community council from 26th to 31st January. Here is the concluding prayer of Brother Alois

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Praise be to you, God of life. We turn to you in the midst of great trials that humanity is going through. Enable us to assume our share of these trials in peace.

Our intercession becomes even more fervent: show your presence to those who are suffering from the coronavirus, from other forms of illness, from environmental calamities, and from injustice and violence, and to those who are forced to leave their countries. Be with those who cannot cope any more.

We also entrust to you, again and again, those who have been victims of the abuse of power or of trust, especially those who have been sexually abused in the past by one of us. Be with those who are recovering from such trials.

We praise you for all those who, in the midst of the world’s suffering, are helping to heal wounds, who give themselves generously for others. They are signs of hope; they carry humanity forward.

In this time of great change, you call us to be converted. We would like to let ourselves be taken hold of again by your kindly presence, like Moses before the burning bush, like the disciples on the way to Emmaus and so many others. We would like to do everything possible to make our life a sign of your future and your faithfulness.

You enable us to renew our personal prayer and the community prayer. May the fire of Christ’s love be at the centre of our lives, not our worries, however serious they may be.

Praise be to you for the many testimonies of support that we receive, which are a beautiful expression of the communion of the Church. Enable us to keep moving forward towards the visible unity of all those who love Christ.

We thank you, living God, for our life in community. It has become deeper and simpler over the course of the last year; and over the last few days you have opened our eyes again to the beauty of this great gift that you give to us. Christ calls us his brothers and he gives us to each other as brothers. Thanks be to the Holy Spirit for enabling us day after day to see the diversity among us as a source of riches, and to persevere in kindness and brotherhood. In this way we can to contribute to the growth of a brotherhood and sisterhood in the world.

Praise be to you for awakening in us a clearer awareness of our responsibility to take care of creation. Praise be to you for the young people who make us attentive to this, and for the scientists and policy makers who seek to make the necessary decisions.

God of peace, we do not yet see the new things that are coming through the pains of childbirth that humanity is going through at present. May your Holy Spirit change our way of looking in order to discern a new horizon, and to understand what you are asking of us at this time.

So, as humble pilgrims of trust, we set out again. Even with very limited means, may we be stimulated by a spirit of festival.

And already we praise and sing to you, eternal God. We express to you our gratitude for life; we believe that you are at work in each one of us, in our community and in the world today, through Christ who is with us and through your Holy Spirit who will inspire us.

And now, we will sing together a song to the Holy Spirit together, and then those of the brothers who have committed their whole lives will prostrated themselves on the ground as a reminder of their offering to God. .


Advent

  • Outside the Church of Reconciliation, like every year, a crib has been prepared by the roadside. Things will be added to it week by week right up until Christmas.



  • The prayer read by Brother Alois during the midday prayer can be found as always each day on this page in English. It is also available in French and German.

Covid-19 and the meetings in Taizé

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year France underwent a lockdown in spring and again at the beginning of November. Between these two periods, from June 14 to October 30, the community was able to organise youth meetings in Taizé. A health protocol including fifty measures was drawn up and sent to the local authorities.

In recent months, around six thousand people have stayed in Taizé to take part in the weekly meetings and several hundred others have passed through Taizé without actually staying on site. All the participants were informed before their stay and on their arrival of the need to respect the "barrier measures", which are acts of attention and care towards others and especially towards the most vulnerable.

Praying together and meeting others whilst wearing a mask and keeping a distance are not necessarily natural. But thanks to everyone’s efforts, the meetings went well and there were no outbreaks of infection in Taizé.

During these four and a half months, some participants in the meetings learned whilst staying in Taizé that they had been in contact with people who had tested Covid-19 positive. According to the recommendations of the French authorities, these "close contact" cases were isolated and tested in turn. A few other people developed symptoms of the coronavirus and were also tested. Most of these people tested negative for Covid-19. However, there were also some positive results from these tests (see list below).

The brothers and young volunteers who were in contact with the groups that came during the autumn holidays spent a week in quarantine at the beginning of November and none of them fell ill.

We would like to thank all those who came to Taizé during this period and who took part in the meetings in such special conditions.

List of all cases communicated to us

Here is what we know about these people who have had the coronavirus over the past few months:

  • A lady who was in Taizé on 5/6 September told us that she probably caught the virus before coming. We were able to identify the people who had had contact with her in Taizé and they did not fall ill.
  • A gentleman who participated in the Autun diocesan day on 4 October. It was reported to us a few days later that he had tested positive afterwards, without us knowing whether he already had the virus during his day in Taizé.
  • Four people who travelled together by car and stayed in Taizé on the weekend of 3/4 October. They tested positive a few days later. A brother was in contact with them, he was tested and the result was negative.
  • A young woman who was in Taizé from 11 to 14 October, who had been in close contact with a sick person before coming. Six people who had been in close contact with her had to be isolated in Taizé and all tested negative at Covid-19.
  • A leader of a group of young people who went to Taizé on 23/24 October whose wife (she was not with him in Taizé) tested positive for Covid-19 during his stay. We did not know of any other sick people in this group.
  • A leader of a group of young people, in Taizé from 22 to 26 October, found out that had had close contacts who were ill with Covid. We did not know of any other sick people in this group.
  • During his stay in Taizé, scheduled for 26-30 October, a young person learned that one of his parents had tested positive for Covid. He was isolated, got tested, and the test result was positive. His closest friends were also isolated, returned home by car without being in contact with their group, and were tested at home. A friend of the young person concerned also tested positive, but those who shared the same dormitory as him tested negative for Covid 19.
  • In a large group visiting Taizé from 26 to 30 October, a young person had symptoms of Covid-19 when he returned home and was tested; the test result was positive. Young people who had close contact with him were tested, especially those who stayed in the same dormitory : results were negative. He had been invited to the meal with brothers and the brother who sat next to him was tested, and the result was negative. A few days after their return, three young people from the same group lost their sense of taste and smell; they were tested and the test result was positive. We don’t know if these young people had the virus during their stay in Taizé, but as a precaution those who stayed in the same dormitories were tested and the results were negative.

News from Taizé by Email | September 2020

On this page we publish the most recent “News from Taizé by Email”. To receive these newsletters regularly, please sign up for them on this page.

After an unusual summer, meetings are continuing in Taizé

The summer period was unusual in Taizé due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since youth meetings restarted in June they have taken place without difficulty but in strict compliance with “barrier gestures” which we have been able to explain as being gestures of care for others, especially those who are most vulnerable.

Each week in July and August, around 500 people arrived: mainly individuals or small groups of friends, but also some groups of young people from France, Germany, Poland, Estonia and the Netherlands. A Dutch TV crew recorded a programme for the Protestant Sunday broadcast in mid-August, centering on the the newly released recording of Taizé songs in Dutch.

The meetings will continue over the coming weeks, and this year adult participants are also welcome in November and December.

At the end of 2020, a European meeting in Taizé

As the European meeting in Turin has been postponed for a year, the Community is inviting young adults aged 18 to 30 to take part in a new stage of the pilgrimage of trust on earth: a European meeting in Taizé, from 27 December 2020 to 1 January 2021.

It is already possible to register for this event on the Taizé website-. The deadline for registration is the beginning of December. However, the number of participants will probably be limited to 500, with quotas by country, depending on our hosting capacity following the health regulations in force at the time. A series of online events will include young people from all continents in this meeting.

For those who wish it will also be possible to come the previous week, from 20 to 27 December, in order to celebrate Christmas at Taizé.

At the beginning of January, brothers of the Community will travel to different cities in Europe for prayers with songs from Taizé. If possible one prayer will be held in each country Additional information will soon be published.

A double anniversary in August

The month of August marked in Taizé a double anniversary: the 80th anniversary of the first arrival of Brother Roger in Taizé, on 20 August 1940, and the 15th anniversary of his death, on 16 August 2005. During one of his weekly meetings with young people, Brother Alois said: “This month of August, allows us in our community to give thanks to God for the life of Brother Roger, who arrived in Taizé 80 years ago. It was the beginning of a foundation that continued over the years, in successive stages.”

Some news in brief

  • At the end of August, an “online weekend” allowed 300 young adults from more than 50 countries to participate in a special programme including Bible studies, sharing groups and workshops.
  • The same weekend, another online programme was offered to families who would have liked to come to Taizé this summer but who had to postpone their stay.

Live online prayers

Prayers continue to be broadcast live from Taizé. This was started when many countries in Europe entered lockdown and it has proved to be a link of communion for many people across the world:

  • each day, it is possible to hear the midday and evening prayers by live audio from the Church of Reconciliation.
  • and every Saturday the evening prayer is broadcast (live video) at 8:30 p.m. (CEST | UTC + 2) on Taizé social networks.

Feedback on the workshops held this summer

Many workshops were held in the summer. Those presenting them included Sister Cécile Renouard from the Ecological Transition Campus, MEP Philippe Lamberts, Protestant theologian Katharina Opalka, Dr Christoph Benn, from the “Joep Lange” Institute” in Geneva, and Germain Dasylva, former FAO representative.

Every Saturday afternoon, one of the workshops workshop was broadcast online. They can still be viewed on the Taizé website.

Prayer vigil for the safeguarding of creation

All over the world, from 1 September to 4 October, Christians are gathering for prayer vigils, to reflect and to take concrete action for the safeguarding of Creation. For the third year running, we are publishing an order of prayer for such a vigil.

Prayer

Holy Spirit, in our trials you encourage us to look to Christ. His are the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows of our lives. And when the obstacles seem insurmountable, your mercy assures us that we can continue to love.

A double anniversary in Taizé

This week brings a double anniversary to Taizé: the 80th anniversary of Brother Roger’s first arrival in Taizé on August 20th, 1940, and the 15th anniversary of his death on August 16th, 2005.

Words of Brother Alois

This date of August 20th brings to mind the beginning of a foundation that had already been maturing in Brother Roger’s heart for several years. It slowly developed into a step-by-step quest, with much probing, hesitation and doubt, until the decisive moment of the first brothers’ life commitment at Easter 1949. This founding dynamism of Brother Roger then became apparent throughout his life, expressed in particular in the writing of the Rule, and later of the Sources of Taizé.

It is well worth meditating on Brother Roger’s way of doing things and letting ourselves be inspired by it. When he left his country to come to Taizé, he had no definite plan drawn up in advance. He did not know what God expected of him in the long term. He only knew that he had to start and he was ready to take a first step. By taking a first step, we discover the second and then little by little the next steps along the way. It is this approach that he pursued all his life. This is what the date of August 20th can symbolise for us.


Prayer for August 20th

Like each day, Brother Alois’ prayer is published online here.

Living God, on this day we praise you for the calling you gave to our brother Roger. Eighty years ago he came to Taizé with the desire to introduce a spiritual life in a region where women and men were victims of one of the great rifts in the world. Following in his footsteps, you invite us to be witnesses of communion, so that Christians may be united and help your peace to shine forth in humanity.


Some articles to read

In English

  • Article on the site of Vatican News

In French

  • Interview with Br Alois on the site of the Catholic Church in France
  • Article on the site of France 3 Bourgogne
  • Article on the site of cath.ch

In Italian

  • Interview with Br Alois in the Osservatore Romano

Letter from Brother Alois to young people in Belarus

Dear friends in Belarus,

We are following very carefully in Taizé the news from your beloved country. Know that we are feel so close to you during this time. Your country has been mentioned in the intercessions of our community prayer and, together with my brothers, I pray these words with you:

Risen Christ, you are well aware of our anxieties and hardships. Tirelessly, you tell us: "fear nothing, I am there." We entrust to you the people of Belarus and in particular the women and men who are struggling for justice and freedom. Show your presence to those who are being subjected to violence. You are our peace.

In deep and fraternal fellowship with all of you,

Brother Alois

La lettre au format PDF.

Message from Brother Alois after the explosions at the port in Beirut

Taizé, Wednesday 5 August 2020

Dear friends,

The images of last night’s explosions in the port of Beirut have reached us in Taizé. We are deeply shaken by these events, which have once again put your people under great strain, after these last few months marked by the economic and social crisis and the pandemic.

I want to tell you how close we are to you, in solidarity with your suffering, united in prayer.

At midday prayer, with the brothers and all the young people present this week in Taizé, we pray for you with these words:

God of peace, many people on earth know suffering. On this day, we pray to you especially for the people of Lebanon, sorely tried in recent months and again yesterday by the terrible explosions in the port of Beirut. We pray to you for the victims and their relatives, for the families who have lost so much, and we entrust them to you, God of all humankind.

With all our brotherly affection.

Brother Alois

News from Taizé by Email | June 2020

On this page we publish the most recent “News from Taizé by Email”. To receive these newsletters regularly, please sign up for them on this page.

Easing of the lockdown: it is now possible to come and stay in Taizé

As part of the easing of the lockdown in France, it is once again possible to come to Taizé. From 14 June, the programme will include the usual elements, while taking into account the restrictions related to sanitary measures and with possible changes to schedules.

At present we need volunteers: young people from 18 to 28 years old who are ready to stay for a few weeks or longer. Apart from all the practical tasks of welcoming visitors, a stay as a volunteer in Taizé is also a good time to reflect on the next stages of your life, through personal reflection, regular common prayer and sharing with others. More information on volunteering in Taizé is online here.

Since we were unable to accommodate any visitors in April and May, we are extending the time when adults over the age of 30 may come to Taizé this year: they are welcome between 1 November and 20 December in addition to the usual dates for 2020. We ask everyone planning to visit to register in advance.

Summer 2020 | Health measures

All those who come to Taizé this summer will need to abide by the measures of physical distancing and the hygiene guidelines. These “barrier measures” are to protect others, especially those who are most vulnerable. For the meetings to be opened in Taizé this summer it is important that all respect these sanitary measures.

Live prayers

Up till now, since mid-March, each evening prayer was broadcast live, here and on social networks. We are grateful for the communion shared in this way with many people around the world.

This has now been discontinued, but instead there are two ways to share the Community’s prayer:
- every day, at 12:20 and 20:30 French time (CEST | UTC + 2), a live audio of the midday and evening prayers from the Church of Reconciliation, through a new interface on the Taizé website
- every Saturday at 20:30 (CEST | UTC + 2) a live video of the evening prayer with the light of the Resurrection, on the Taizé Facebook and Instagram pages.

Five years after Laudato Si’

For the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’” Brother Alois published an article in various European media including on “TheTablet” blog in Britain. “Five years ago, Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si’” in which he addressed "an urgent invitation to a new dialogue on how we are building the future of the planet.” (...) This call is more urgent today than ever. And the crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly highlights how vulnerable our common home is.

In addition, to mark this anniversary, an exhibition is currently on display around the Church of Reconciliation in Taizé: it includes twenty large format photos by Yann Arthus-Bertrand illustrating extracts from the encyclical.

A weekend meeting online for Pentecost

Something unprecedented was offered online for the Pentecost weekend: evening prayers, bible reflections, theme workshops, small sharing groups. Here were the key times of this weekend Other ideas are in the pipeline.

The exhibition shop reopened in Taizé

Since 11 May, the shop selling the work of the brothers has been open in Taizé. Currently, the shop is open Monday to Saturday from 11am to 12noon, and from 2:30pm to 7pm (6pm on Sundays).

A new album in Dutch

A new album with songs of Taizé has just been published: 16 songs, mainly in Dutch language, including “Adem in ons” (Atme in uns) which gives the album its title. There are two supports: on CD and on a bamboo USB stick. A video has been published posted on YouTube to give an overview of the songs included.

Prayer

Holy Spirit comforter, on this day of Pentecost, we welcome your presence. As Jesus promised us, you give us the joy that remains, deep in our being. It even carries us through our trials. You do not impose yourself, you come to strengthen us, you defend the dignity of each human being. And, in our great diversity, it is in you that we find unity and peace.

Taizé and the "Églises Vertes" network

In 2019, Taizé joined the network of "Églises Vertes", (literally "Green Churches") an ecumenical initiative under the auspices of the Council of Christian Churches of France.

The following text comes is translated from the site of the network.

Why the "Églises Vertes" designation?

  • Because we believe that God reveals Godself through creation and has entrusted it to human beings, who must nurture and care for it.
  • Because life on earth is a blessing and shows the love of God. Acting to safeguard it is a way of loving our neighbour and acting for justice.
  • Because the ecological crisis commits us to hear the cry of the earth that "is groaning in labour pains" (Rm 8.22) and to choose, with hope, lifestyles that pave the way for the emerging of a new creation both now and in the future.
  • Because God’s people can pray and act to bring that hope to the world.
  • Because we are aware that it is by being converted together that we will succeed in building this fairer and more ecological world necessary for the survival of humanity.

In the UK, the Eco Church network promotes similar ideas in link with various denominations.

Reopening of the shop in Taizé

In accordance with the French authorities’ plans for the gradual easing of the lockdown, the showroom where the brothers’ work is exhibited ("L’Exposition") opened again on 11 May.

At the moment, it is open from

  • from Monday to Saturday between 11am and 12 noon and from 2.30pm to 7pm.
  • on Sundays between 11.15 am to 12 noon and from 2pm to 6pm.

We ask everyone to carefully adhere to the "barrier measures" and physical distancing. Please come with a mask.

Some items (soft drinks, crisps, snacks…), which were bought for young people who had registered for Easter and who could not come, have been put on sale in the showroom at cost price.

The Taizé brothers live only from their own work: books, videos and CDs, pottery, enamels on copper, icons, and other objects. Their work is presented and on sale at Taizé, as well as via an online shop.
Easter 2020

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Easter morning prayer live from Taizé


Easter message

Brother Alois’ Easter morning reflection is on-line at this page of the site.


Prayer by Brother Alois

God of love, look upon your family. Come to the help of our humanity stricken by so much suffering. Comfort those who are weeping, support those who are boldly taking up the challenge of solidarity. Through the resurrection of Christ, you open up for us a horizon as yet uncharted, where a new light is appearing. And so, just like on Easter morning, we can find hope again and say with our lives: “Christ is risen!” - “Yes, he is risen indeed!”


A virtual choir sings "In resurrectione tua"

This afternoon, a video will be published on this page, on YouTube and the Taizé Facebook page. 50 young adults from all over the world - singers and instrumentalists - share from their homes the song “In resurrectione tua”.


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Holy Week and Easter from Taizé

Due to the public health isolation measures as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic and the closure of Taizé to visitors, the brothers would like to draw your attention to several occasions which will enable you to take part in the Holy Week and Easter celebrations from Taizé.
  • As on every evening since March 16, at 8:30 pm evening prayer will continue to be broadcast online via Facebook Live and on the Taizé web site. The national channel of RCF will continue to broadcast this prayer every evening from 8:30 pm to 9 pm (except on Holy Saturday) with a meditation in French by a brother during the time of silence.
  • Every morning of Holy Week at 10 am there will be a video with a short biblical meditation by a brother.
  • On Easter morning, a special prayer will be broadcast at 11am, with a meditation by Brother Alois.

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Council of the Community: Prayer by Brother Alois

As they do each year, the brothers came together for their annual council from February 5-10. Sunday evening, the council ended with an evening prayer that included the act of "prostration" by which the brothers recall the day of their life-commitment. Beforehand, Brother Alois spoke the following prayer.

Concluding prayer

God of all human beings, we praise you; you welcome us each day anew. Through Christ Jesus you bring us together in a beautiful diversity, in communion also with our brothers who are currently living in Brazil, Cuba, Senegal, Korea, Bangladesh, and with our brother Jacques in hospital.

Like the Virgin Mary, we want to listen to your voice and welcome the life you offer us, in the confident trust that it is you who give to us.

Christ Jesus, merely to say your name already reminds us of your presence as the Risen Lord. It comforts us and unsettles us. At each stage of life, you renew our readiness to follow you, and in joy and simplicity we go from one beginning to another.

We have listened to your call not to forget hospitality. Through your Holy Spirit, you enable us to put it into practice. From you, Christ, we receive the impulse of the heart that creates in us an attitude of hospitality. Thank you for this experience we can have: by welcoming others, we receive more than we give. Your love makes us free, free to go towards others with our vulnerability, without fear. You are gentle and humble of heart, and you give us the courage of humility, the knowledge that we need one another.

By this council, by these days lived together, you have renewed the kindness between us, that gift which is a pearl of great price. May this kindness grow between us, may it also grow throughout your Church so that Christians may progress ever more towards reconciliation and unity.

When the Church is radiant with your kindness, it communicates the Gospel; it fulfills its mission; it is a reflection of kindness for the poorest, the excluded, for migrants, a reflection of kindness for creation. Make us attentive to those who do not find their place in their local Church.

Through our life of communion you invite us to be a sign of your presence, especially with the young people you entrust to us. At a time when an attitude of "everyone for themselves" is increasing at every level, we would like to be attached to a deeper current that goes through humanity, a thirst for friendship and generosity.

Through the Holy Spirit you are constantly at work in the world. In gratitude for your love that will never end, let our life sing your praise! In Taizé and in our fraternities on the various continents, let us witness to the beauty of life!


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Week of prayer for Christian unity

The week of prayer for Christian unity will be celebrated from January 18th to 25th. In Taizé, a prayer open to all will take place on Friday 18 January at 6 pm, in the presence of the Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical leaders of the region.


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Brother Alois at the Synod of Bishops in Rome

Since October 3rd, the synod of bishops brings together in Rome, with Pope Francis, bishops from across the world, experts, young people, and delegates from different Churches around the topic “Young people, the faith and vocational discernment.” Brother Alois is taking part in the assembly as a “special guest.”

Praying with the songs of Taizé

Two prayers with the songs of Taizé, open to all, will be proposed in Rome, in connection with the synod, during the month of October – more information on the Taizé website in Italian.


Brother Alois’ intervention at the synod

Responding to the spiritual thirst of the young and to their search for communion

Articles 68 and 69 of the Instrumentum Laboris express the desire for a “more relational” Church, capable of “welcoming without judging in advance”, a “close and friendly” Church.

My brothers and I are often surprised to hear young people we welcome in Taizé say that they feel “at home” there, and we wonder why. It may be that, to be truly themselves, they need to feel useful, to see their creativity encouraged, to receive responsibilities.

Then their spiritual thirst awakens and it is important to go patiently, together with them, to the sources of faith. They know that they are welcomed by a community, first in the common prayer where all participate actively, by singing, listening to a brief biblical reading, a long moment of silence. And often they deepen a personal relationship with Christ.

We make sure that the liturgical signs avoid formalism, but are beautiful and simple. For example, we see how deeply young people participate, every Friday night, in a prayer around the cross, to lay down before Christ what is too heavy for them.

We say to ourselves: like Christ, let us listen to them with our hearts, reminding ourselves that he is already at work in their lives – and let us respect the sanctuary of their conscience. Those who listen must be accompanied themselves. There is a lack of accompaniers in the Church: could a ministry of listening be entrusted not only to priests, men and women religious, but also to lay people, men and women?

In Taizé, young people also discover that the Church is communion. Without creating an organized movement, we always send the young people back to their parishes and the places where they live. So many of them like to pray together with others of different faiths. They understand, if only implicitly, the call of Christ to be reconciled without delay.

We have recently experienced such a communion at an Asian young adult meeting in Hong Kong, a stage in our pilgrimage of trust. Of the young participants, 700 came from mainland China – it was the joy of the Holy Spirit.

I would now like to make a concrete proposal. Often, the words used and the manner of speaking are obstacles that prevent many young people from hearing what the Church says. Could not the final document be accompanied by a short letter, written in a simple style, addressed to a young person looking for meaning in his or her life?

I would like to summarize what I just said with a few words from Brother Roger, the founder of our community:

“When the Church listens, heals, reconciles, she becomes what she is at her most luminous, a communion of love, of compassion, of consolation, a clear reflection of the Risen Christ. Never distant, never on the defensive, freed from all harshness, she can radiate the humble trusting of faith into our human hearts.”

Letter from Brother Alois to the World Council of Churches

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches, Brother Alois wrote a message to the General Secretary, Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, in which he recalled the long friendship between Taizé and the Council.

Dear Olav,

The World Council of Churches and the Taizé Community came to birth in the same period, Taizé at the beginning of the Second World War, the Council shortly after its end. In the mid-twentieth century, their respective initiators were animated by the same passion for Christian unity. They had the vision, for the divided Churches, of a new period that had to begin, a period of communion and fraternity among Christians, to foster peace on earth beyond the conflict that had torn the world apart. In their wake we try to keep alive this flame of unity.

I am happy then, in this anniversary year of the Ecumenical Council, to assure you that we, the brothers of Taizé, are close to you. We thank God for the work you do, and we pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide you along the ecumenical path.

Willem Visser ‘t Hooft, your first general secretary, and Brother Roger, our founder, knew each other and were in dialogue since the 1940s. Throughout the decades, brothers of our community have collaborated in various ways with the WCC, whether for theological work or in the area of the search for justice and peace. Brother Roger took part in the General Assemblies of Uppsala and Vancouver, and I myself in the last two, Porto Alegre and Busan. The geographical proximity between Geneva and Taizé has allowed many contacts; most of the Secretaries General of the WCC have visited us more than once. Your own trips to Taizé have made us happy, and I was very touched by your welcome during my visit to Geneva with brothers and young people.

I say to you, dear Olav, and to all the staff of the World Council of Churches: happy anniversary! And also: let us continue our common journey!

Brother Alois

Rev. Olav Fykse-Tveit at Taizé, August 16, 2015

Easter 2018

Holy Week at Taizé

Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday, the Church commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. It is also the beginning of Holy Week. In Taizé, as has been the case for a few years, this celebration began at the edge of the lake of the Saint-Etienne spring, where the brothers, the volunteers, the young people present in Taizé and friends from the region gathered, this year with the presence of the Bishop of Autun, Benoît Rivière.

Clara, Belgium

For me this Palm Sunday procession was just this great feeling of being a part of the whole creation, and it made me very happy and very joyful. You really wanted to celebrate that Jesus was there with us. I had never experienced Palm Sunday in such a way.


Monday – Wednesday

During the common prayers, Holy Week is marked by specific songs and responses and, morning and evening, two brothers take turns reading at the lectern in different languages an excerpt from the gospel accounts of the Passion.

During the Monday evening prayer, two specific intentions were read: one for the victims of the tragic fire at a shopping center in Kemerovo, Siberia; the other for the victims of the terrorist attack in Carcassonne and Trèbes, a few days earlier in the South of France. Every night, other intentions were read for difficult situations in the world.

Rob, Ireland

It’s much different than what I expected. It’s a really tightly knit community. I love going to the prayer services, at first I was not too keen about it, but it’s really grown on me, and it’s really interesting and engaging.


Holy Thursday

The evening prayer was marked by the washing of the feet. As is now the tradition for many years, the brothers went through the church to wash the feet of all who wished. Then the Eucharist was celebrated as a memorial of the last supper of the Lord. It is the first day of the Easter Triduum.

Youssef, Egypt

Being a Coptic Orthodox deacon, where prayers in the Holy Week are very rich and special, I found also the same core here, the humility, the love which is coming from God and also directed towards God. Holy Thursday is the day where Jesus, Emmanuel, God who is incarnated in the midst of us gives his body and blood for us ... for all of us to be one in Him and with Him. Not all the disciples at this table were the same, just like us here in the Church of Reconciliation we are really diverse. Different countries, different beliefs, different cultures, different traditions, but we are all united in the humility and love of God the Father in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, this communion can never be broken.

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Good Friday

At 3 pm, the hill entered for a few minutes into silence, while one of the bells rang to remind people of the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross (after Luke 23:44-45). At this time, everyone stopped what they were doing for a short time of silence.

In the evening, the procession of the cross took place in the Church of Reconciliation. At the beginning of the prayer, all the brothers were gathered behind the altar and then the cross was carried across the church to associate the thousands of young people present at that moment. Then the prayer continued around the cross throughout the night.


Holy Saturday

The last arrivals before Easter arrived in Taizé in the afternoon. In the evening, the icon of "the descent of Jesus into Sheol" was carried by the brothers to the end of the Church of Reconciliation and its extensions, now fully open because of the large numbers present.

In the evening, Brother Alois spoke for his weekly meditation - before a prayer vigil began in the church, interrupted by the reading of prophetic texts from the First Testament.


Easter Sunday

This year, the Easter celebration began at 6:30 am in the large, fully open church still in darkness. While a young girl was playing a cello piece, and female voices of the choir sang a resurrection song in Syriac and various languages, four sisters crossed the church carrying a lantern that contained the fire - the light of the resurrection - and a white cloth, a symbol of the shroud in which Jesus had been buried.

From this lantern, the paschal candle was then lit and then - for the first time - the sisters and women of the village of Taizé transmitted the Easter flame to all. It was a way of emphasizing that it was the women, Mary Magdalene and some others, who first believed in the resurrection of Jesus.

During the Easter celebration, the resurrection was proclaimed by the liturgical prayer of the Exultet, read by several brothers in six languages. A French brother made his life-commitment in the community, in the presence of his family, and the Eucharist was celebrated with joy.

The last highlight of the celebration was the proclamation, again by women, of the Easter greeting, traditional in the Orthodox Church, in twenty languages: "Christ is risen! with each person answering in their own language, "He is risen indeed!" While the bells were ringing.

Easter Booklet

PDF - 4 Mb

Tim, Netherlands

I felt a lot of joy during these days. I appreciate the rhythm; the structure of the prayers allow me to focus on the story of Easter: in the beginning you feel down, then it gradually ascents towards Easter. I felt so much joy among the people after the service, celebrating this festival of happiness together. The days here helped me to discover hope for people all over Europe, to have this celebration together and to believe that this light of Easter will be transferred all over the world.

New Decorations in the Church: A Work in Progress

Over the past few weeks, the decoration of the area of the Church of Reconciliation around the altar is being redone. The east wall of the church needs some internal thermal insulation, so it was decided to take the opportunity to rethink the design. The chimney bricks have been part of the area around the altar for more than forty years, and the orange sails for twenty.

Now, squares of natural pigments (20cm x 20cm) have been painted on canvas, using more than thirty colours; we can think of the diversity of those who come to pray three times a day. We can also think of us and all of creation. We raised the candles so they can be more visible in the extensions of the church.

In terms of greenery, for the moment we have orange trees which can survive in a low-light environment. We have also put in epipremnum aureum, a houseplant native to the Solomon Islands.

If the decoration seems a bit unfinished, that is because it is a work in progress! The internal thermal insulation work should be done between Easter and Pentecost, after which we will repaint the whole choir with lime-wash. Hopefully, by the summer things will look a bit more in order.


February 2018

News of the Migrants Welcomed in Taizé

Since 2015, Europe has been in a migratory crisis of unprecedented scope. Faced with this challenge and supported by the generosity of many neighbors, the community continues to open its doors to welcome migrants.

Welcome and Referral Centers

In November 2015, to welcome migrants from Calais, a so-called CAO (reception and orientation center) was opened in Taizé. This place was able to accommodate thirteen young men aged 19 to 40, all Muslim, from Sudan and Afghanistan. Nine of them, who have been granted refugee status, are now working or training in the region around Taizé. One of them, widowed, had a 13-year-old son in Sudan. On the occasion of his visit last year to that country, Brother Alois brought the child back to his father. He is now attending school and his father works in a foundry of the region.

In November 2016, the community opened a CAOMI (reception center and guidance for minors) to host for a time eighteen young minors from Calais, who wanted to go to England. Seven young people decided to stay in Taizé for their asylum application procedure. One of them is now in an educational center near Taizé and four refugees are still living in the village, seeking to settle in the area.

Families

In recent years, the community has also welcomed four refugee families from Iraq and Syria. After several months in Taizé, which allowed them to regain their autonomy and begin to be integrated well in France, two of these families settled elsewhere, keeping an almost family-like relationship with the community.

Awaiting Protection

Last September, the community welcomed three young migrants from South Sudan and Sudan, aged 20 to 28 years. These young people do not yet know if they will be able to make their asylum application in France because of the Dublin regulations. In the meantime, since they do not have permission to work, they are learning French, do volunteer work and participate in exchanges on the causes and difficulties of their migratory journey.

Sponsoring Families

Every young migrant welcomed in Taizé is accompanied by a family from the region. By simple regular visits to their sponsoring family, these young people are helped to head towards a good integration into French culture and receive invaluable support. One of the young refugees recently said, “Françoise takes care of me more than a mother cares for her own son!”

French Classes

When the community opened its doors to young people from Calais, immediately a great generosity on the part of the inhabitants of the region was manifested. Today, French classes are offered four days a week at the Taizé town hall and a dozen volunteers take turns to give classes. Christine, a teacher of French as a Foreign Language (FLE), writes: “My great astonishment and my great pleasure is also to see the motivation of the asylum seekers and their commitment to learning French, despite all their other concerns.” In addition to the three migrants who participate today in the courses, a dozen foreigners from different countries living in the region also benefit from the quality of these courses.

Exchanges

Migrants welcomed in Taizé were invited to lead a day of reflection on migration at Saint Joseph High School in Châteaubriant, Brittany. In November 2017, three of them went there and the high-school students were impressed by the story of these young people who crossed the Sahara, and the experience of hell in Libya and the Mediterranean. The migrants were likewise impressed by the quality of the listening and the seriousness of the students.

In Taizé, migrants sometimes participate in the workshops offered to the young pilgrims, where they can share their background and motivation.

At the European Parliament

In January 2018, a group of young migrants visited the European Parliament. During a meeting with the European Commissioner for Migration, with members from different parties and from different countries and with the Director General of the OFPRA (French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons), migrants were able to talk about their reception experience in Europe and their respective situations: statutory refugees, asylum seekers, “dublined” migrants, and unaccompanied minors whose age has not been recognized.

A Member of the European Parliament sent us images of this visit, filmed by Claudio CUTARELLI, concerning the Dublin Agreement:

To watch a longer clip of this meeting, click here.

Volunteering

Migrants welcomed in Taizé have always been happy to lend a helping hand around them and to feel useful in fulfilling a service for others. They regain dignity when they can give something of themselves.

Edith, treasurer of the Cluny team of the Catholic relief agency, writes that “three young migrants are volunteers and they come to lend a hand for the our activities. They have participated in several things, such as helping to staff a stand and organizing the annual big meal, where they were congratulated by everyone for the quality of their commitment.”

Migrants also enjoy volunteering alongside the young pilgrims who visit the community. Gonçalo, a young Portuguese, recently wrote: “Working with three young migrants was a unique experience; they were well integrated into our team and we shared together about some aspects of our culture and theirs. They told us about their experience and their search for peace.”

Last summer, many young people responded to the call for solidarity with migrants and donated to Taizé. With Orsi, a volunteer, three young migrants went to Calais in November to give the local Catholic relief agency sleeping bags, shower gels, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes. They were guests for two nights at the Maria Skobtsova House, where the doors are open to the most vulnerable exiles. Orsi writes: “Our three friends from Taizé had seen the same misery during their own journey through many countries, the desert, the Mediterranean, and they understood what the young people of Calais are going through.”

Council of the Community: Prayer by Brother Alois

The brothers held their yearly council-meeting from January 23-28. Sunday evening, the council concluded with an evening prayer that included the gesture of "prostration" by which the brothers recall the day of their life-commitment. Beforehand, Brother Alois said the following prayer.

Concluding prayer

We praise you, Christ Jesus, you are risen from the dead. You lead us to follow you, so that we may become witnesses to the joy of God and peacemakers, wherever we may be, in Taizé, in other countries or on the road.

We praise you for our brothers who live in Korea, Bangladesh, Senegal, for those who are going to South Africa, for those who are in Brazil, Cuba and Alsace, and for those who will be in Hong Kong during this year.

We praise you, Christ Jesus, for having nourished us during our council at the table of your word and your Eucharist. We praise you for the joy of brotherly love, especially apparent these days. You have also renewed us in simplicity.

Holy Spirit, you make of us a microcosm of the Church to which each adds a new stone by his life . You reawaken in us a passion for the unity of the Body of Christ, his Church. You teach us to rejoice in the diversity of ways to be Christian. In you we are already united, while being in solidarity with the Churches that are still divided.

Living God, with all our heart we would like to manifest your love by our community life. So we listen to your call to accomplish a common creation. It is as if you yourself were telling each of us these words from our little rule: "From now on, your worship and your service will take place in a community of brothers, itself set in the body of the Church ... You will be encouraged by the impetus of community life. You are no longer alone. You must take your brothers into account in all things."

You invite us to put our common creation at the service of those entrusted to us in so many places across the earth. We pray for all those we carry in our hearts.

For the participants in the European meeting in Basel. May through them the joy and peace experienced there continue to shine in the world like glimmers of hope.

For the inhabitants of our region, the Christians who live here, those who are in hospitals and care homes, the homeless, migrants, all those who support the poorest and who commit themselves for the common good.

For those around the world who are sad, for those who suffer violence, wars, injustice and famine.

Keep your song in us from dying out, even in our nights, this song of which the psalm we sang tonight speaks. With the psalmist we would like to gather together all our expectations and all our desire in a movement towards you, the God of the universe. "Happy are those whose strength is in you. Happy are those in whose heart is the road upward,” those moments of intimate joy in your presence. And, by the presence of your Holy Spirit, even the valley of tears can become a place of wellsprings on the path of our pilgrimage, the source of a serene joy.

Living God, we thank you for having made yourself known, for having come to us through Christ Jesus. He loved us and gave himself for every human being. By your Holy Spirit he is present today. May the joy of his risen life be known to all. May it be a source of fraternity and peace in the brokenness of our wounded humanity and in all your creation.


And now, after singing together, those brothers who have committed their entire lives will lay on the ground to recall their offering to God.

[LIVE] Broadcast from Taizé

On Sunday evening, January 28, the evening prayer will be broadcast live on “Facebook Live” and on the Taizé website, from 6.45pm onwards (Central European Time / Paris Time). It will conclude the yearly council of the community and include the gesture of “prostration” by which the brothers remember their commitment for life.

Basel 2017

On social media

On social media

Daily news, links of importance, photos and testimonies of participants will be published through these social media:

If you put photos or feedback about the meeting online, please use the hashtag #Taize


Prayers streamed live

  • The media team wants to set up a live stream of the evening prayers, and needs help to do so. If you are participating in the meeting and think you may be able to help, please make contact by email.
  • Radio RCF (French Catholic Radio) will broadcast the evening prayers live. For the programme it will broadcast live on 31 December, from 9pm until after midnight, the RCF team is looking for young people ready to tell of their experience of the meeting, and of their hopes for the future. If you can help, please contact RCF (even in English) by email.

On the Taizé website



Here is some of the content shared in recent months on Taizé’s various social networks:

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Twitter


Instagram

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[LIVE] Broadcast from Taizé

On Tuesday evening, October 24, a special programme will be offered on “Facebook Live” and on this page from 8.15 pm to 10.15 pm. It will include the evening prayer and the weekly meditation by Brother Alois.

The Prior of Taizé in South Sudan and Sudan

Taizé has been welcoming refugees from Sudan for the past two years, and the Prior of the community, brother Alois, has just spent a week in Juba and Rumbek, South Sudan, and a week in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, to better understand the situation of these two countries, to meet people active on the ground and to pray among people who are some of the most afflicted of our time.

He and another brother of the community visited the various churches, observed their work of teaching, of solidarity, of caring for the sick and the excluded, and they had many contacts with the deeply deprived population. Among other things, they visited a camp for displaced persons operating under the protection of the UN, including many children lost and never recovered by their parents in the course of violent events in the country.


Brother Alois in Juba, South Sudan, in a camp for displaced persons

Through this visit, Brother Alois also wished to express gratitude to so many people who are engaged on the ground: humanitarian workers, Church personnel and diplomats, serving local communities and the development of education, agriculture, infrastructure, and services, or the promotion of culture. Upon his return he said: “I was particularly impressed by the situation of women and children. Mothers, often very young, bear a large part of the suffering caused by the violence. Many have fled in an emergency. They remain resolved to serve life. Children from an early age must undertake an important part of everyday chores but they aspire to attend school. The courage and the hope of mothers and children is an exceptional testimony.”

The prior of Taizé will draw from this visit to Africa some concrete proposals that he will publish at the 40th European youth meeting hosted by Taizé in Basel from 28 December to 1 January next.


Brother Alois visits a village of lepers near Rumbek, South Sudan.

Refugees: helping fraternity to grow

On the international day of refugees, the brothers of Taizé and the young people gathered in Taizé have been praying for the migrants who have died in recent days off Libya as they tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. A new workshop was also held like every week of the summer with the title “Taking the risk to welcome. Migrants, asylum seekers, refugees... Who are you?”

In addition, the preparations for the week looking at the theme of migrations are progressing. Many speakers have confirmed their presence, such as Pascal Brice (France), the director of OFPRA, Catherine Wihtol de Wenden (France), director of research emeritus at the CNRS, the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu (Uganda / England), Father Michael Czerny (Canada / Italy) from the Section for migrants and refugees in the Vatican, Petra Feil (Germany / Switzerland) of the Lutheran World Federation and representatives of various movements involved in providing support for migrants, such as the Jesuit Refugee Service or Caritas Europe.

It would be important for young people who know Taizé to suggest to some refugees to come and live this week together with them. If you are interested in this meeting, or if you have a suggestion for a speaker, you can contact the team at solidarity taize.fr. Finally, a concrete initiative of solidarity will be proposed in early July for young participants who wish.


On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, an ecumenical statement has been published - here are two excerpts.

Refugees: a chance to grow together


The Christian Bible tells the story of two men, Peter and Cornelius, utterly divided by religious belief and culture, who in encountering each other discovered a truth about God’s common will for them that neither had previously grasped. They learnt that the Holy Spirit brings down walls and unites those who might think that they have nothing in common.

All around the world, women, men, and children are forced by violence, persecution, natural and human-caused disasters, famine, and other factors, to leave their homelands. Their desire to escape suffering is stronger than the barriers erected to block their way. The opposition by some countries to the migration of forcibly displaced people will not keep those who undergo unbearable suffering from leaving their homes. (….)

Signs of solidarity can be multiplied beyond the borders of religion and culture. Meeting believers of other persuasions encourages us to deepen our knowledge of our own faith, and in our encounter with our refugee brothers and sisters, God speaks to us and blesses us as He did Cornelius and Peter.