TAIZÉ

Some Recent News

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.


Weekend of friendship between young Christians and Muslims

Testimonies by Brother Alois and some young adults


 [1]

An Easter Broadcast from Taizé

Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017, a special program was recorded at Taizé with Brother Alois, young people from different countries and the media team.


 [2]


This broadcast (mainly in English) includes:
- young people speaking about Holy Week at Taizé
- commentaries and responses by Brother Alois
- short video clips
- musical breaks with the boys of Belvedere College, Dublin, Ireland, young people from the choir of Albaida, Valencia, Spain and a harp piece by Odile, France.

On Facebook


On YouTube

Patriarch Bartholomew in Taizé Tuesday, 25 April

A few days after Easter, the Taizé Community will welcome a very special visitor. For the first time, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople will visit for a few hours on Tuesday, 25 April. The pilgrimage to Taizé by the Ecumenical Patriarch will conclude his pastoral visit to Switzerland on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Orthodox centre of Chambésy.


During his visit, the Patriarch will take part in the community prayer at 12:00 in the Church of Reconciliation, in the presence of the brothers, representatives of different Christian communities and the young people gathered in Taizé. He will be welcomed by Brother Alois and will speak at the end of the prayer.

The prayer will be open to all. If anyone wants to come specifically to spend the day in Taizé, have lunch and participate in a workshop in the early afternoon, they should register as visitors through the Taizé website.

The groups and individuals present in Taizé the previous week, who planned to leave on Sunday 23rd, are invited to stay on longer – until Tuesday 25th in the afternoon (for adults over 30 years, this invitation applies within the limits of the available housing). If you wish to extend your stay in this way, please notify the meetings team by changing the departure date in your registration.


“Coexister”: Bonds of friendship growing deeper

For several years now, under the impulse of its founder Samuel Grzybowski, the association “Coexister” has regularly sent groups of young people to Taizé. One particularity of the initiatives of this young association is that they always bring together young people of different religions.

Radia Bakkouch, the current National President, participated in the special week for 18-35 year olds in September 2016. The community of Taizé and the Coexister association also took part together in the new initiative of the parish of Saint-Merry in Paris, the “sacred night”, which will take place again this year in the night 3 - 4 June.

Maud is a young French woman who stayed in Taizé with one of the “Coexister” groups who came in 2016. She shares her experience here:

We were ten young people from different religions: Christian, Jewish and Muslim people. I am Jewish and I have never been to Taizé before. It was really interesting for me to know the faith of Christian people better and to live with them for a week-end. I think I found peace in Taizé. I surprised myself just gazing at the landscape and thinking how extraordinary this experience is. We made strong bonds with lots of different people there and I am thinking of going again next year.

Council 2017

Prayer by brother Alois

As every year, the brothers met for their yearly council meeting from January 24-29. On Sunday evening, the council concluded with evening prayer together, including the prayer of "prostration" by which the brothers recall the day of their life-commitment. Beforehand, Brother Alois spoke the following prayer.


Concluding Prayer

We praise you, Christ Jesus, you are risen from the dead. You lead us in your steps to be witnesses to hope, peacemakers wherever we are, here in Taizé or in Senegal, Kenya, Korea, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cuba, and France .

These days you have renewed us in our vocation. We want to follow you, Jesus, gentle and humble of heart. Your Gospel invites us to develop a spirit of sharing, always seeking to simplify our way of life. So help us to focus on the essential, on the love and the continual presence of the Holy Spirit. Enable us to welcome this love, so that it touches our depths that are in need of conversion until our last breath. There lies the source of a joyous inner freedom.

When violence and the fear of the future seem to increase in the world, you enable us to stand firm in the hope that comes from your resurrection. For us it is like the anchor of our lives, sure and solid. Faith in you opens our eyes to see your presence in the world. And our prayer becomes more ardent: that the kingdom of God may be revealed and come for all human beings.

Risen Christ, your love impels us to seek the visible unity of Christians in order to be a ferment of peace in the world. It is when we go together to the wellspring that arises from your Passover that the dynamics of the Gospel unfold. Then we can welcome as a gift, with the necessary discernment, the great diversity between Christians. Enable us, the brothers, and all Christians, to consent to the sacrifices that reconciliation involves. Reawaken in our community the passion for unity; make us feel how urgent reconciliation is so that we do not stop creating trusting relationships between different traditions and so that an exchange of gifts may take place.

To prepare peace in the world, you encourage us to cause brotherhood to grow. We pray to you this evening for all those whom you entrust to us, through the welcome here in Taizé as well as in our fraternities, during the journeys and the stages of the pilgrimage of trust, for the refugees who live in our villages. Very often, through those whom we welcome, you open our hearts to your love, even without their knowing it. Keep us all in the spirit of the Beatitudes, joy, simplicity, and mercy.

And now, after the next song, those brothers who have made their life-commitment will lie on the ground to recall their offering to God.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

On the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, a special prayer took place at Taizé on Wednesday 18 January at 6pm, with the young people present in Taizé that week and leaders of local churches.

Broadcast via "Facebook Live"

Welcome word from brother Alois

On this first day of the week of prayer for the unity of Christians, I welcome you to our Church of Reconciliation. With my brothers, I am happy to welcome you for this time of prayer. And I thank for their presence the representatives of the Catholic, Orthodox, United Protestant, Anglican, Evangelical, Mennonite Churches. May our unity grow in Christ Jesus, so that the dynamic and the truth of the Gospel may shine out in the world.

Prayer intentions read by church leaders

The Church leaders have read the following prayer intentions:

  • Jesus Christ, you send your Church to prepare your way in the world. Inspire our deeds and our words, day after day, so that we may announce your Gospel around us.
  • Jesus Christ, light of the world, you enlighten every human being: give us to discern your presence in each one and to welcome you in our neighbor.
  • Jesus Christ, open our eyes to the sufferings of the most destitute of our time, the solitudes around us, so that we may live in solidarity with those entrusted to us.
  • Jesus Christ, universal brother, you are at the side of exiles, refugees, migrants. We entrust to you all those who are welcomed in our region and we pray especially for Samir, from Sudan.
  • Jesus Christ, grant us to learn to listen to you so that we can manifest together, more visibly in the eyes of all, your one Church - so the world can believe.
  • Jesus Christ, praise be to you for the Christian communities of our region. For the synod of the diocese of Autun. For the Orthodox parish of Chalon. For the Protestant churches in this year of commemoration of the Reformation.
  • Jesus Christ, like your disciples after the Resurrection, you make us brothers and sisters. Teach us to follow you and lead us on the path of life.
  • Jesus Christ, we entrust to you the peoples of the Middle East, the victims of violence, all those who do not see a future in their country. Be the support of those who seek justice and peace.

Prayer by brother Alois

Christ Jesus, we are gathered in your name. Help us to welcome the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation, who unites our voices in your presence. Towards the end of your life, you prayed, "Father, may they be one". Make of us witnesses of unity and bearers of reconciliation.

The Saint Irenaeus Group at Taizé

The Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group gathered from 2 to 6 November 2016 at Taizé. The meeting was chaired by Archbishop Job (Getcha) of Telmessos.

Brother Alois welcomed the group at the opening session. Throughout the meeting, the members of the group attended the common prayers of the Community and shared a meal with the brothers.

The Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Friday and Sunday in the village church.

After the meeting, a press release was issued in English and in German.

Unaccompanied Minors Welcomed

A reception and orientation center for minors at Ameugny, organized by the Taizé Community

In the night from Wednesday to Thursday, November 3, a group of unaccompanied underage migrants arrived in Saône-et-Loire, after the closure of the Calais camp. The group includes fifteen teenagers, 13 to 17 years old, mostly from Sudan but also from Syria and Eritrea.

This welcome has been prepared by the Taizé Community, which provides the venue, offers volunteers and logistics, in collaboration with the association "Le Pont" ("The Bridge") in Mâcon, which is taking care of all the administrative procedures. Before the arrival of the young migrants, the mayor of Ameugny and the village council had previously informed the inhabitants.

These young unaccompanied minors were welcomed last night on their arrival by the mayor of Ameugny, some village residents, staff of "Le Pont", the Taizé team and several young refugees from Sudan, welcomed last year by the community. The prefect of Saone-et-Loire was represented by his Chief of Staff, Ms. Germain.

On November 3, the prefecture published the following statement:

"This offer of shelter is temporary and estimated to last three months. It allows accommodation in optimal conditions of safety and health before these young people can be directed either to the UK or be enabled to benefit from the provisions of the law. They will benefit, first of all, from the ongoing investigation by the British authorities of their request for family unification. It is guaranteed that their cases will be dealt with within 3 to 6 weeks."


The welcoming team

Prayer for Peace

On Sundays at Taizé, the bell of peace will ring for the city of Aleppo, Syria

The Community joins an initiative from churches in Finland, who are ringing church bells across the country, symbolizing people’s sadness and solidarity with the people of Aleppo, Syria, who endure continued air strikes.

Each Sunday at 6:30pm brothers and those who wish to join them meet together in the Church of Reconciliation for half an hour of silence to pray for peace.
As a sign of solidarity, one of the five bells, ’Witnesses of Peace’, will toll for the inhabitants of Aleppo.


Prayer by Brother Alois

After the Attack at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray

On the way to Krakow for World Youth Day, Brother Alois learned of the hostage-taking in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and murder of Father Jacques Hamel. He then sent to Bishop Dominique Lebrun, archbishop of Rouen, and the vicar general of the diocese a short message of friendship to express his dismay and communion, and to ensure those responsible for the Church in that area of the prayers of the Taizé brothers and the young people gathered around the community.

Brother Alois also wrote this prayer to be read at Taizé, in Krakow during the prayers led there by the Taizé brothers, and in St. Malo, where young French Protestants are meeting these days:

God of mercy, enable us to realize that even in misfortune and in trials you are very close to us. The ongoing violence disconcerts us and touches us deeply. We entrust to you the deceased priest at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, his family and the local Church of Rouen in mourning. In the face of hatred, we want to resist fear and return again and again to the wellsprings of peace, creating friendship and brotherhood around us .

Message by Brother Alois for the end of Ramadan

On the occasion of Eid El Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, Brother Alois sent, as every year, a fraternal message to Muslim friends living in the area around Taizé and elsewhere. Tuesday night, the brothers also mentioned in their intercessory prayer all those who are celebrating this feast day.

“As the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, I want to tell you how much we are thinking of our Muslim brothers and sisters on this happy occasion.

This year, we have lived in a special way this time of fasting thanks to the presence in Taizé, for the last few months, of a Syrian family and eleven young Sudanese and Afghan refugees, all Muslims. My brothers and I were able to understand even better the spiritual dimension that accompanies the fasting from food. We were touched to see how the young people prayed intensely and tried to live a time of simplicity to be increasingly turned towards God.

Although, since last year, tragic events have regularly occurred that undermine life together, initiatives are flourishing which we are happy to take part in: the meeting organized by the interreligious secretariat of Saône-et-Loire in Mazille in early June, the “holy night” with representatives of different religious traditions in Paris a few weeks ago, and regular visits to Taizé by youth of the “Coexister” Association.

My brothers and I are praying for you and we assure you of our deep friendship.”

The Sisters of Saint Andrew have been at Taizé for 50 years

In May 1966 the first Sisters of Saint Andrew arrived in Taizé, an international congregation whose mother-house is in Belgium. At the beginning, in response to a request from Brother Roger, they came to help the brothers for three months... and ever since then they have been working together.

At the end of May 2016, a weekend of celebration for the two communities marked the anniversary. On Saturday, two sisters, one from Australia and one from Congo, made their perpetual profession at Ameugny, in the presence of some sixty sisters, some of whom live on the hill and some who came specially for the occasion from Europe or from Africa.

On Sunday, the sisters joined the Taizé brothers for the midday meal and for the afternoon, during which different meetings and a visit to the brothers’ workshops were on the program.


Then, a prayer in the Romanesque church in the village enabled the sisters and brothers to sing together to express their gratefulness for the half-century together. During that prayer, Sister Agnes, the superior general of the sisters, prayed:

Lord our God, source of all wisdom and goodness,

You wanted to give a beginning to our communities,
keep them, guide them.
Father of all perfect gifts according to your will,
realize in us the prayer of your Son:
’Holy Father, keep in your name those you have given to me;
consecrate them in the truth, that they may be one in us
so that the world may believe that you sent me."
We ask you for this grace, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Brother Alois spoke this prayer in his turn:

O Christ, we praise you for the beautiful collaboration that has united us to the Sisters of St Andrew for fifty years. You want us to serve your Church and you call us to be together, in our complementarity, witnesses to joy, simplicity, and mercy, especially for the younger generations. We praise you for those who have opened the way for us—St. Ignatius, Mother Marie-Tarcisius, and Brother Roger. Send the Holy Spirit upon us, that he may keep alive in us the passion for communion, and that your peace may shine on earth.


’Magnificat’ near br. Roger’s tumb

A Syrian family has arrived at Taizé

For several months now, the Taizé Community has been in contact with the French authorities and the Association “Relief & Reconciliation for Syria” to bring a family originally from Syria. Wednesday April 27, the two parents and their four children finally arrived in Taizé.

They were welcomed by the brothers, by volunteers from the area and also by the two Arab-speaking families already at Taizé, one Iraqi-Egyptian, the other Iraqi. Eastern Christians welcoming a Muslim family: a beautiful sign of hope in the tragedy which the Middle East is undergoing today.


(Picture taken by Orsi Hardi - with two kids already at Taizé since last year)

March 2016

Visit to Taizé by the French National Office for Refugees

On Friday 11 March, the Director and the Head of the Legal Affairs Division of the French National Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) were in Taizé. They made the journey from Paris for the day in order to visit the refugees currently being welcomed here and in order to see for themselves the impressive groundswell of solidarity created in the local area.

Well done and thank you to the Community and villagers of @taize for welcoming refugees and asylum seekers from Calais.


The visit as it happened

After a short tour of the Taizé, Pascal Brice and Marie Salord met with the young refugees who arrived from Calais during November.

The brothers had indicated to the local council that they could accept some refugees, and eleven young people from Sudan and Afghanistan are currently living in Taizé. These young men, all Muslims, live together in a house in the village, close to the Brothers’ house and other houses used to accommodate the young pilgrims who visit the community.

They had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the visitors and tell them about what had led them to leave their countries and their families, to recount the journey that had brought them to Taizé. Many of them have lost family in the fighting in Darfur, where some of their close ones are still staying in refugee camps.

The Sudanese spent several weeks in Libya, some of them even several months, before attempting to cross the Mediterranean. Their plan was not to come to Europe, but simply to find a safe place to live in peace. Arriving in Calais, they were offered the chance to go to the small village of Taizé. Mr. Brice thanked the young people for their trust in accepting this offer and also for trust they showed in allowing France to process their asylum applications.

After that meeting, the OFPRA delegation visited two Christian families, refugees from Iraq. One of the families, an Iraqi-Egyptian couple with a little girl of 7 years, has been in Taizé since 2010. The other family, a couple with two boys aged 3 and 6, arrived in France in June last year, coming directly from Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, at the invitation of the community.

The local people have been enthusiastic to help welcome the refugees: volunteers come regularly to teach French and to help the children with their homework. Doctors have given free treatment to those who didn’t qualify for health cover and neighbours take them on outings and bike rides ... A meeting with some of volunteers was organised in order to share with the visitors from Paris the and joys and the issues raised through this contact with the refugees.

Many of the volunteers expressed their gratitude to the young people and talk about what they had personally received from their presence. But they also expressed their incomprehension at the weight of the red tape involved. The open and frank conversation allowed everyone to take measure of the complexity of certain situations and also of ongoing work research, driven by the government to improve the inevitable defects of the system. Attention to the person and respect for human dignity are the basis of a good welcome of refugees and assylum seekers.

The visit ended with a Sudanese meal lovingly prepared by the young refugees.

Some Useful Links

A photo reportage about the visit can be seen on the website of the local newspaper Journal de Saone-et-Loire.

Brother Alois has recently published an article on the issue of refugees in Europe. It was taken up by newpapers across the continent, including The Church Times.

Easter in Taizé

Celebrating the Resurrection in the hope of a better world


Photo : Philipp Luxi

Palm Sunday: A pilgrimage to the source

Holy Week began in Taizé with the now traditional rendez-vous, in the morning of Palm Sunday, at Saint Stephen’s spring.

#PalmSunday at #Taizé, pilgrimage at the source

Une photo publiée par Taizé (@taize.community) le


Tuesday: In communion with today’s sufferings, in Brussels and elsewhere

The terrible news coming from Belgium about the deadly attacks at the heart of the European city, reached the hill at the start of Holy Week. Brother Alois prayed for the victims of all the acts of terrorist violence in the world:

God of compassion, you are at the side of all who undergo the cruelty of human violence. We entrust to you the victims of this morning’s attacks in Brussels, and their families. Faced with the incomprehensible sufferings of the innocent across the world, we believe that the words of Jesus, words of love and hope, will never pass away. So we implore: grant peace, may your kingdom come.

After the attacks in Brussels, Brother Alois said the following prayer for the victims:“God of compassion, you remain...

Posted by Taizé on Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Holy Thursday: The memory of Christ’s Last Supper

One important moment in Holy Week is the feet-washing, a symbolic re-enactment of the gesture of Jesus from John 13. At the beginning of the Eucharist, the brothers, helped by some of the volunteers, washed the feet of all who wished. At the end of the celebration, Eucharistic Reserve was transferred to a chapel until Sunday morning. The Passion of Christ and waiting for the joy of Easter mark the two following days.

Part of the evening prayer can be heard through a podcast on line.


Good Friday: For our sakes Christ remained faithful even unto death

Today, a bell was rung at 3 pm, the time when the gospels say that Jesus died. A reflective silence fell all over the hill, from one end to the other. The welcome of the many young people arriving during the afternoon was also interrupted for a few minutes.

During the evening prayer, a number of very moving responses, the litany of the “Reproaches” and a song that had not been used for many years, « Memento Nostri Domine », were sung by all while Brother Alois and the younger brothers carried the cross in procession through the church.

Part of the evening prayer can be heard through a podcast on line.

Among the intentions of prayer, the peoples of Syria and China were mentioned,as well as the names of Christians persecuted for their faith. Finally, the prayer around the cross continued all night long, until dawn.

Tonight, for Good Friday, the prayer started by a short prayer read in twelve languages: “God of love, look upon your...

Posted by Taizé on Friday, March 25, 2016


Holy Saturday: A time of waiting

Today, the brothers and the many people who had arrived in Taizé for the Easter week-end were, like so many Christians around the world, waiting for the joy of Easter. In Taizé, the evening prayer on the Saturday evening is not the Paschal Vigil. Still, a joyful foretaste of Easter was given by the entry into the Community of a young Frenchman.

After the evening prayer, brother Alois gave a meditation the text of which is published on line.

Part of the evening prayer can be heard through a podcast on line.


Easter Day: The joy of the resurrection

On Sunday morning, a great crowd came surging into the church. As on the two previous evenings, the brothers gathered around the altar, to begin the celebration with the sign of the light of Easter. Then, the first « Alleluia » and « Lumen Christi » were sung by everyone. Several readings followed, as well as the singing of the Exultet and a new song accompanied in a novel manner by a huge gong, filled the atmosphere with joy.

Brother Alois pronounced the following prayer:

Christ Jesus, in your life hatred and death did not have the last word. You are risen. Even though invisible to our eyes, you are present for every human being. Your Holy Spirit brings to birth in us the courage of mercy for those who are nearby as well as for those who are far away. In a world where we are often disconcerted by violence, you enable us to hope against all hope.

This prayer is available in many languages through the following link:

PDF - 226.9 kb

Parts of the Eucharist can be heard through a podcast on line.

At the ed of the Eucharist, recalling the women who in the gospels were the first to announce the resurrection, the sisters living in Taizé and Ameugny spoke the paschal salutation in more than twenty languages. For the first time, the paschal salutation was also signed. Some young people have made a short film of the paschal salutation, available through the link below.

Easter Greeting

People from all over the world, at Taizé for Easter, say the greeting "Christ is risen!" in their languages. A film by Ruth Martinez, edited by Joana Duarte.

Posted by Taizé on Monday, March 28, 2016


Matas, a young adult from Lithuania, wrote:
Coming to Taizé for the first time for Holy Week, I wanted to meet young people from different countries of the world, who had decided to leave their family traditions and their ordinary lives to come to Taizé and experience the biggest celebrations of the year. As Jesus asked his disciples, "Stay with me, watch and pray" (Mt 26,38). It was very important for me to understand that we were one, one community in Christ, sharing about very personal topics like faith, trust, prayer, resurrection. That’s what I felt in the sharing group after the biblical reflection.

In the morning, I worked as animator with the children at Olinda. I observed how they see Jesus Christ, how they understand his passion. We had a very profound moment during a group prayer, when all the children and the volunteers remained in silence for several minutes. Finally, I will never forget that feeling of joy during the Eucharist of Easter morning. The church was full of happiness, full of joy, full of the risen Christ in every heart.


The Easter celebration can be heard as a podcast on the site of Domradio.

Garden of Solidarity in Taizé

In recent years, the international meetings in Taizé and elsewhere have sought to deepen the search for new forms of solidarity in society today. Our attention to Creation is one aspect of this. As Brother Alois wrote to the young people in one of his recent proposals, “The earth belongs to God; human beings receive it as a gift. We are entrusted with an immense responsibility: to take care of the planet, not to waste its resources. The earth is limited, and human beings too need to consent to their limits.”


One fruit of this reflexion – very humble but concrete – has been the creation of a “garden of solidarity” in Taizé.

Young people, working with a brother, take turns, week after week, working in the garden. The vegetables which are harvested are given to local community associations, which distribute them in the towns and villages around Taizé.

The year 2015 at Taizé in the media

Throughout 2015, echoes of the anniversary year were given by different media, in the press and on the internet. On this page you will find a non-exhaustive selection of articles and links of interest.

Media wishing to cover the international meetings in Taizé, Bucarest, Cotonou or Riga: please contact media taize.fr.

In English

The “newsletter” of the Global Christian Forum, a place of dialogue between historical churches and various evangelical currents and Pentecostal churches, reported on the week of 9-16 August.

A number of interesting articles and blog posts have been published in English. The blog “Premier Christianity” published an article about the monastic experience at Taizé.

The leader of the “Sojourners” in the United States, Robert Wilson-Black, wrote about the week he spent in Taizé, during the summer.

The World Council of Churches published an article about the week of 9-16 August as well as a report on the international theological colloquium. Both articles can also be read in German.

Other websites also published interesting articles:

More recently, Dave Bookless, from the international association “A Rocha” published an reflection upon three weeks of his summer, the last of which he spent in Taizé in mid-August.

The photographer Michael Debets compiled a report in photos about the week of 9-16 August. A gallery about the evening prayer on 15 August is still online on the site of Pacific Press with another about the day of 16 August by the Demotix agency. One of his photos was published on the online site of “The Guardian”.


In French

On 2 August 2015, “France 2” broadcast the Eucharist live from Taizé as its weekly worship programme « Le Jour du Seigneur ». It is still available online. The televised Eucharist was also covered in a photo-report on the site of the “Journal de Saône-et-Loire”.

A number of national French media outlets covered the weekend of 15-16 August in Taizé. The 1pm news journal on TF1 spoke of the international dialogue encouraged by the meetings.

The regional station France 3 Bourgogne devoted two reports to Taizé during the weekend of August 15-16.

On Friday 14 August, Brother Alois was the guest on [Europe 1-http://www.europe1.fr/emissions/l-interview-verite/frere-alois-les-religions-sont-une-force-de-paix-2502453], with Patrick Roger. French national radio France Inter, France Info and RTL covered the international gathering by sending a journalist for their weekend news reports.

Radio Vatican interviewed two Catholic leaders, Cardinal Manuel Clemente, patriarch of Lisbon and Mgr. Benoît Rivière, Bishop of Autun. The blog jeunes-cathos.fr also covered the international gathering and the project “Humans of Taizé,” followed by a photo exhibition at Taizé.

In the “La Croix” newspaper dated 9 August, four pages were dedicated to the international youth meetings. A set of photos is still on line.

At the end of August, the “KTO” TV channel broadcast, as part of the series “Hors les murs” a major documentary lasting 52 minutes prepared by a team that had followed the August gatherings.

In Switzerland, the French-speaking radio “RTS” broadcast live an “ecumenical morning programme” on Pentecost Sunday direct from Taizé as well as consecrating a series of broadcasts to 2015 at Taizé. The Protestant and Catholic press agencies of Suisse Romande offered a series of articles about Taizé, fruit of their cooperation.

Also in Switzerland, the daily paper “24 heures” published at the end of the year a long interview with Brother Alois:

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Earlier in the year, the album produced by Universal Music was evoked in several places, including the review “Études”, in July 2015 and the radio channel “Paris Notre Dame”.

The publication of the biography of Brother Roger by Sabine Laplane was covered in a page in the weekly “Réforme”:

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In November, the families from Iraq and young refugees from Sudan now living in Taizé were covered by a number of regional media, including the evening news on “France 3 Bourgogne”.

Following the attacks in Paris, the daily paper “La Croix” published an interview with Brother Alois:

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Then, at the very start of 2016, the newspaper “Journal de Saône-et-Loire” published an interview with Brother Alois about his visit to Lebanon and Syria:

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In German

In May, the centenary of Brother Roger’s birth was marked by several publications in German-speaking media, for example a film on Austrian television and also this portrait of Brother Roger, a “fighter for reconciliation”.

During the Kirchentag in June 2015, Brother Alois gave a radio interview for Deutschlandradio Kultur. At the same time, the Protestant press agency published a short article.

The international gathering 9-16 August was also covered by several German-speaking Protestant websites as well as by the German Catholic press agency, which published a series of articles such as this article which is still online. In addition there is a long article about the experience of Church that the young people have at Taizé.


In Dutch

Two long reports were consecrated to the meetings in Taizé by the newspapers Nederlands Dagblad and Reformatorisch Dabglad:

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Two young journalists from BEAM spent a week in Taizé for the paper and a report on eo.nl.

The president of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands, PKN, published as well an editorial about his visit to Taizé in mid-August.



In Italian

The weekly “Avvenire” marked the tenth anniversary of Brother Roger’s death.

A journalist from the magazines “Credere” and “Jesus” came to Taizé in July, with a photographer. One of his articles, about the volunteers, is online.

The Protestant weekly “Riforma” also consecrated a good article to the 75 years of Taizé.

Then, after the Paris attacks, Brother Alois was interviewed by the radio InBlu.


In Spanish

The weekly “Vida Nueva” published a long conversation with Brother Alois and a special section about the summer meetings in Taizé:

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Early in August, the newspaper “Tribuna de Albacete” spoke about the anniversaries celebrated by Taizé in 2015.

The preparation of the European meeting in Valencia was widely covered by the magazine “Paraula” and other local media, such as “Las Provincias”.

As for the European meeting itself, it is impossible to list all the echoes in the regional and national press. Here are just a few:

Likewise, the media of the archdiocese of Valencia covered the meeting widely with a special issue and several articles in the magazine Paraula, a series of video clips and many photos.



In Portuguese

On television there was a report on the theological colloquium and an interview with a brother.

The newspaper of the diocese of Lisbon gave echoes of the participation of young people from the diocese, accompanied by their Cardinal, in the Gathering for a new solidarity while a report was also broadcast on television.

Radio Renascença broadcast interviews after the Prague meeting and also regularly gave news of Taizé and the Valencia meeting.

Several newspaper and reviews mentioned the celebration of the anniversaries at Taizé, such as Sol, Observardor and Fatima Missionaria.

The journalist António Marujo wrote a piece for the agency “Ecclesia” about the international week of 9-16 August and he also published in his blog a series of articles about the gathering and the theological colloquium of last September.


In Polish

A journalist from Radio Polskie, Przemysław Goławski, gave a radio report about the gathering for a new solidarity. He also published an article and a photo gallery.

More recently, a long conversation with Brother Alois has been published by the site “Przewodnik Katolicki”.

The presence of young refugees from Sudan was the topic of a talk with a brother for the site deon.pl.

The photographer Wiesia Klemens published three photo galleries about recent visits to Taizé and Valencia of which this is the most recent.

The Taizé meeting in Valencia was covered in this article online.


In Czech

A few months after the European meeting in Prague, written about in March on the site of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, a long conversation with Brother Alois was published in several Czech medias, including the site “Christnet” and the site “Katolický týdeník”.


In Turkish

Television SAT-7 reported on Taizé, online on Youtube.

Brother Alois spent Christmas in Syria

On the eve of the European meeting of young adults in Valencia, Brother Alois arrived in Spain directly from Syria. He spent Christmas in Homs, close to those who are suffering from violence in a ruined town. Before that, he spent several days in Beirut, joining two brothers who have been living in Lebanon for two months, close to refugees.

On Monday evening in tent A, at the end of his first meditation to the young people taking part in the European meeting, brother Alois will talk about these visits in the Middle East.


From Darfur to Taizé by way of Calais


In June, two parents with their two children, who in 2014 had to flee from the Mosul region to Iraqi Kurdistan, were welcomed in Taizé. Another family, Iraqi-Egyptian, who have been in Taizé for several years, has helped a lot as they settle. As the community had expressed its willingness to accept more refugees, seven young migrants from the “Calais jungle” arrived in Taizé, all from North Sudan and aged 19-26 years. Some of them have lost family members in the conflict in Darfur, where many of their relatives are still in refugee camps. They have been accommodated in a house in the village; the hospitality of the inhabitants has been very warm.

More recently, other young people from Sudan and Afghanistan have arrived in Taizé.

In addition to the community, the members of the Taizé village council and of the community of the villages around Cluny have been supporting their welcome, as well as other local associations and individuals. In Taizé, Orsi has been closely involved with them from the very start. She writes:

They arrived on a cold, foggy, dark evening to Taizé from Calais. They were tired, frightened, hungry and lost. They didn’t know us, they didn’t trust us when they arrived. They had no idea where they were brought. They are from Darfur, Sudan. They all went through horrible things and they are all asylum seekers. They are between 19 and 25. They are Muslims.
 
On Saturday morning, November 14, when they heard the news about what happened in Paris they felt horrible. Their first reaction was: “We are so sorry. Please, believe us, this is not Islam.” They repeated this constantly. Then they asked us if we wouldn’t mind if they prayed for the victims and their families. Of course we didn’t mind, so they did. And then we cried together. Sunday at 6:30 pm as usual, there is a half an hour silent prayer for peace in the church. They were happy to come with us.
 
I think that to all the horrible things happening around us, our answer should be even more welcome, more desire to share, more common reflection, more research of understanding. How to find ways to show that goodness is stronger than evil, joy is stronger than horror, hope is stronger than darkness, that life is stronger than death?

Ten days after the Paris attacks, the inter-religious secretariat of Saône-et-Loire organized a prayer in homage to the victims in the Protestant church in Chalon-sur-Saône. Two brothers from Taizé took part, together with the seven young people from Sudan.

Prayers for the Protection of the Creation

Coinciding with the Paris Conference “COP21,” a prayer with the songs from Taizé will be held in Paris, on December 5 at 20h30, in the presence of Brother Alois and several other brothers. The community of Taizé proposes that all who wish should associate themselves with this event by organizing in their own locality a shared prayer for the Protection of the Creation, for example by using the form of celebration available on-line.

If such a prayer is taking place in your town, we can announce it on this page – just send the details to this address info2015 taize.fr.


In the United States

Miami


In New-Zealand

Auckland

  • Sunday December 6 at 5.30pm, St Peter’s Anglican Church (184 Onehunga Mall, Onehunga, Auckland)

In Canada

New-Brunswick

  • Friday November 27, at 7.30pm, at the Mother House of "Filles de Marie-de-l’Assomption" (2 rue Arran Campbellton, New-Brunswick).

In Mexico

Mexico D.F.

  • Thursday December 3, at 7pm, at the Church St Albertus Magnus, Copilco.
  • Wednesday December 9, at 8pm, at the Church Sagrada Familia, calle Puebla, Colonia Romas.

In France

Poitiers (86)

  • Friday November 27, at 8.30pm, in St Jean de Montierneuf (place Montierneuf).

Limoges (87)

  • Tuesday December 1 from 6pm, in the Chapel of the chaplaincy of L. Limosin (place des Carmes). Sharing and exchanges about questions of ecology; prayer from 19h to 20h; picnic meal for those who wish.

Lille (59)

  • Thursday December 3 at 8.30pm, in Saint Maurice Church (rue de Paris, 59800 Lille). More info online.

Chilly-Mazarin (91)

  • Thursday December 3 at 8.30pm, in Notre Dame du Concile Church (49 rue Pierre Mendès-France)

Langon (33)

  • Friday December 4 2015 at 7.30pm, Centre St Jean (8, boulevard François Mauriac, 33210 Langon)

Mérignac (33)

  • Friday December 4 at 8.30pm, in the Temple de Mérignac

Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines (78)

  • Saturday Decembre 5 at 8.30pm, Saint-Martin de Bréthencourt

In Germany

Dresden

  • Wednesday November 25 at 8pm, in the Immanuelkirche Dresden-Cotta (Hühndorfer Straße 22)

Odenthal

  • Friday December 4 at the Markuskapelle von Altenberg (51519 Odenthal)

Munich

  • Wednesday December 9 at 7pm, St. Willibrord (Blumenstraße 36)

Bonn

  • Friday December 11 at 9pm, in the Protestant church "Auferstehung" (Haager Weg)

In Spain

Valencia

  • Saturday December 5, at San Lorenzo church, with the team preparing the upcoming European meeting

In Switzerland

Delémont, Jura

  • Monday November 30 at 7pm, in the chapel of the Hôme de Delémont.

In Belgium

Veldegem

  • Wednesday November 18 at 7pm, at Onze Lieve Vrouwkerk, 8210 Veldegem

In Czech Republic

Prague

  • Monday December 7 at 7.30pm, in the church of Martin ve zdi (Martinská 8, Praha 1)

Picture by Bruno Biermann

Brother Denis (1934-2015)

A few weeks ago, Brother Denis came back from the Nairobi fraternity in Kenya, so that he could be admitted to hospital in Lyons. It was discovered there that he was suffering from an irreversible brain tumour. He then returned to Taizé on November 10. In the night of Friday to Saturday November 28, on the eve of the beginning of Advent, during his sleep he entered into the life of eternity.

Just over half a century ago, Brother Denis, who was an architect, designed the Church of the Reconciliation in Taizé. Other buildings for which he drew the plans include the church of St Joseph the Worker in the shanty town of Kangemi, in Nairobi, visited by Pope Francis on Friday 27 November during his Apostolic Visit in Africa.

During 2015, Brother Denis created tree bark icons depicting a Way of the Gospel at St Stephen’s Source, shown on a page of the site, and a temporary exhibition of his artwork was shown in Taizé over the past few months.


At the beginning of the Eucharist celebrated in his memory on Tuesday 1 December, Brother Alois read the following prayer:

Christ Jesus, we entrust to you Denis, our brother whom you have welcomed in eternal life, close to you. With humble faith and a sincere heart he believed in you and responded to your call, placing the great creative gifts he had in your service. With the brothers, whether in Taizé or in fraternities, he bore witness to your love. He loved Africa, he loved those with whom he lived in Kenya and in Senegal. We praise you for his life among us and entrust him to your love. Holy Spirit, you fill us with hope, as you filled Denis, our brother, and even if our faith is very small we dare to say with our lives: “Christ has risen!”

2008 in Nairobi

Prayer by brother Alois after the tragic events in Paris

After hearing of the terrible events in Paris during the night of 13 to 14 November, which have come soon after those in Beirut, brother Alois prayed these words during the midday prayer at Taizé:

Eternal God, we want our thoughts and acts to be based on your presence which is the source of our hope. We entrust to you the victims of the attacks in Paris and in Beirut, and their families and friends as they mourn. With believers of all backgrounds we call upon your name and pray: may your peace come to our world.

The victims of the attacks in Paris and Beirut will also be prayed for during the intercessions of the evening prayer.

Brother Alois has also written a message to several Muslim friends in various cities in France.

Taizé accompanies the preparation of “COP21”

On the sidelines of the COP21 in Paris, many Christian and interfaith initiatives are being taken. We give an echo here of the events related to Taizé.

Saturday 14 November: the “People’s Pilgrimage” visits Taizé

Under the name of "People’s Pilgrimage", inter-religious walks are being held across all five continents to demand with a single voice a future protected from the disasters which climate change could bring.

In May 2015, after leaving his post as ambassador responsible for negotiations on climate change for the Philippines, Yeb Sano began a pilgrimage of several months, heading for Paris and COP21.

After a visit to Rome, the pilgrims walked for more than 700 kilometers in Italy and then crossed the Alps to Geneva before arriving in France on 6 November.

After a meeting at Cluny on Friday 13 November and a night spent with local people in their homes, the delegation will walk along the cycle path in the valley and arrive in Taizé late morning Saturday. A meeting open to all will be held on Saturday 14 November at 3:15pm in Room 15.


Friday 27 November: “People’s Pilgrimage” welcomed in Paris

During the climate negotiations of COP21 in December, faith communities from around the world are organizing a whole range of events in Paris: vigils, meetings, festivals, prayers, pilgrimages … A complete list can be found on-line, including a special programme in the parish of Saint Merry to welcome the pilgrims arriving in Paris along four different routes.


Thursday, 3 December: Ecumenical prayer in Notre Dame de Paris

At the invitation of Cardinal Vingt-Trois and the Council of Christian Churches of France, leaders of various churches, including Patriarch Bartholomew, will pray together in Notre-Dame de Paris on Thursday, 3 December. Brother Alois will be present.


Saturday 5 December: Prayer with Taizé songs at Saint-Ignace

In cooperation with the Council of Christian Churches of France and the diocese of Paris, a prayer with the songs of Taizé, attended by Brother Alois and other brothers, will be held on Saturday 5 December, at 8:30pm, in the church Saint-Ignace, 33 rue de Sèvres, Paris 6. Young people who can help with the preparation of this prayer are invited to write to this address info2015 taize.fr, in particular the delegations coming from different countries.

On 5 December many events will be held. These include a youth programme in Montreuil and a bi-lingual conference led by A Rocha International in St. Michael’s Anglican Church in Paris.

An afternoon of solidarity in the region of Taizé

On the occasion of the centenary of Brother Roger’s birth, the community looked for something to do with the neighbours around Taizé. The idea came up of meeting beside a small lake a few kilometers from Taizé for an afternoon with children and their parents.
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The program: a shared meal at the lake, discovering the "dream cabins" filled with musical instruments, wooden toys and hidden treasures, then a circus performance with horses and the trapeze artist of the Equinoctis company.

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At the end, a snack was offered to everybody, livened up with games of soccer, skittles, stilts and music. To make it possible for low-income families to take part, everything was free, financed by gifts and the support of Taizé’s solidarity fund, Operation Hope.


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What a beautiful atmosphere! Backgrounds and languages were mixed: a gypsy family originally from Serbia tried to talk to some of the eight Ukrainian children on holiday in Taizé for three weeks. Christians and Muslims speaking Arabic discovered one another. Armenians spoke in Russian with the Ukrainians; children of families from the area discovered the diversity of languages.

The lake was calm, the atmosphere serene, laughter and music rose towards a cloudless sky. Every person has within them a desire for peace – that afternoon without walls was an undeniable proof of this.


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Photos : Christian Hanser & Taizé

Easter, the Joy of the Resurrection, in communion with the suffering of the world

Over Easter more than 6 000 young people spent a week or few days on the hill. Many visitors from the region around Taizé also came to join the brothers and the young people for the Easter celebrations. This year, before the Eucharist of the Resurrection, a great fire was lit outside the Church of Reconciliation. The pascal candle was then lit from the fire and everyone followed it into the church, singing. There was yet another innovation at the end of the Eucharist: as it was the women who, having found the tomb empty, went to announce the resurrection to the disciples, it was the sisters of the different communities present in Taizé who announced the traditional pascal greeting "Christ is risen" in more than 20 languages.

Spring has arrived on the hill and many young people continue to come, especially from Germany and France. An orthodox group from Moscow is also here, as every year at this time, a few weeks after hosting the pilgrim brothers and young people in their parish for Easter.

During the prayers that he offers aloud each day during the midday prayer in Taizé, Brother Alois has recently mentioned many situations of suffering: the war in the east of Ukraine, refugees drowning in the Mediterranean sea, the earthquake victims in Nepal. This attention to the world prepares the young people to return home. As a young French man, Timothy, wrote - he is indeed living the week in Taizé "with a view to going back to our lives, which are less smily and bright than they are in Taizé, so that we can share that flame that we received at home, and make it shine in the daily gloom."

Holy Week in Taizé

Domenico (Italy)

On Sunday morning, under a cloudy sky, pilgrims of all ages and nationalities gathered at The Source. The brothers came carrying branches to celebrate the traditional prayer of Palm Sunday. Despite the weather there was a joyful atmosphere as we prayed and sang under the trees with the blossom just beginning to peep through.
 
Then together everyone processed from the Source to the Church, over a thousand people. Once in the Church the Eucharist continued with its typical polyphony of languages. In the afternoon groups of young people from Germany, Portugal and many other countries all over the world arrived in Taizé. They will spend a week of prayer and joy in the spirit of solidarity. This is the most important week of the year for all of us and we will celebrate it in communion and simplicity, waiting for the Resurrection of Christ.
 
It is the first time that I’ve seen the hill in its winter clothes. Everything looks pretty different, but you can always feel the unique magic of this place. The rain is often with us, accompanied by a light wind. The trees are bare and I feel that they can’t wait to wear their summer clothes, while some white flowers are already beginning to welcome the pilgrims.
 
Around the church my eyes meet a lot of well-known faces. Holy Week seems to me the time at which people whose life was deeply influenced by Taize come back here to re-tune their souls and hearts to the chords of God’s words. You can notice it during the prayer: everybody is singing from the front to the back, and they keep singing for hours and hours. You really can understand that all these people share something; they share their faith and the joy of a moment of fruitful dialogue and reflection.

The Photo of the Moment

Lenten Conférence in Paris

On Sunday 8 March, Brother Alois gave one of the Lenten Conferences at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, on the theme "A Life Which Becomes a Sign". The text of the conference can be found (in French) on the Archdiocese of Paris website.

The big weeks begin again

After the usual mid-winter slowdown the big meetings have begun again. Over the past two weeks, more than 3,000 young people have passed through Taizé, most of them young French and Portuguese students. The largest groups were from Toulouse, Saint Denis, north of Paris, and Lyon in France, Viseu and Santarem in Portugal. The bishops of Angers, Rodez and Saint-Denis also came along to accompany the young people. Other countries were also well represented, including the Czech Republic, Korea and the USA, with a group of thirty teenagers from New York.

On the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18, a prayer was held in Taizé, in the Church of Reconciliation, in the presence of the Bishop of Autun and the reformed pastor of Chalon-sur-Saône. As this year the theme for the week was prepared by Christians from Brazil, two brothers who have spent time living there led a meeting on the life of the fraternity in Alagoinhas.

Two weeks later, at the end of the annual Community Council, the brothers spent a beautiful afternoon in Chalon-sur-Saône, with a prayer in one of the parishes of the town and a visit to the Muslim community. This meeting was particularly important after the tragic events of the beginning of the year in Paris - to experience the warm welcome of the Imam and other members of the community gathered there on that Saturday afternoon.

Echoes from the Meetings

Pastor Laurent Schlumberger, President of the United Protestant Church of France, was recently in Taizé for a short personal visit. He led a meeting with some of the young people about the consequences of the recent tragic events in Paris. Robin, a young person from France gives his reaction to the workshop:

The tragic events in Paris affect us as people, believers and Christians. Our discussion reflected and raised several questions. As people we are shocked by such violence and fear. As believers, we stand in complete solidarity with all Muslims who do not recognize themselves in these acts and who seek, through the witness of their lives, to show that God is love. Finally, as Christians, we have a special sensitivity to questions of profanity and caricature. Jesus himself caricatured society through his parables, and was tried and sentenced to death for blasphemy because "he claimed to be the Son of God" (John 19:7).
 
Following the large gatherings of January 11, we can see beyond the defence of our freedoms of expression, to a desire for unity and dialogue. In a society in need of signposts and distraught by the violence, don’t Christians have a role to play? Do we dare to talk not only to those close to us, but also with members of Muslim communities around us?

Pope Francis speaks about Taizé and the search for Christian unity

On the morning of November 30, during his apostolic visit to Turkey, Pope Francis was present at the Divine Liturgy celebrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at Saint George’s Church, Phanar in Istanbul.

In his speech, Pope Francis spoke about the search for full communion between the Churches and cited three "voices" calling particularly for unity: the poor, victims of conflict and young people. Speaking about the latter, he added:

It is precisely the young who today implore us to make progress towards full communion. I think for example of the many Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant youth who come together at meetings organized by the Taizé community. They do not do this because they are not aware of the differences which still separate us, but because they are able to see beyond them; they are able to embrace what is really important and what already unites us.

The complete text is available in several languages.


The next international gathering led by Taizé will take place at the end of this year, with the participation of young Christians from throughout Europe, in Prague (Czech Republic), from December 29 to January 2, 2015.

Brother Jean-Philippe (1946-2014)

On November 10th, Brother Jean-Philippe died in Taizé. Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, he was in his 69th year. After studying literature, he entered the community in 1969.

For a long time, he had been receiving treatment for a heart problem and his heart suddenly gave up whilst he was in his room. His funeral took place in the Church of Reconciliation on November 15th, in the presence of his sister, his brother-in-law and their four sons.

Very soon after his arrival in Taizé, Brother Roger discerned his skills and entrusted many important task to him, particularly in running the material side of the community’s life, and in the editing of books and journals published by Les Presses de Taizé.

At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, Brother Roger asked him to go periodically to the United States to support the brothers who at the time were living there. He spent several months with them in a poor neighbourhood called Hell’s Kitchen, and in Milwaukee in an African-American neigbourhood. He travelled with other brothers throughout the Midwest and Texas to help young adults prepare to come to the North American meeting that Taizé organised in Dayton, Ohio, in 1992.

He then returned to Taizé and continued with different administrative tasks, including following up the visa questions for young people, who came from distant lands, so that they could take part in the international meetings in Taizé.

When war broke out in the early 1990s in former Yugoslavia, he went to Croatia where there were many refugees. He prepared the stay in Taizé of several groups of children from Bosnia who were in need of respite. He also helped a family from Sarajevo to settle in the village of Taizé. They are still living there today.

Highly educated, this kind and humble man loved all that was beautiful. He was passionate about books and he always had good suggestions on what to read for brothers or others he met.

Throughout his life, he accompanied spiritually a number of people, many of whom expressed today agreement on the quality of his listening, his sensitivity, his respect and his serenity.

Brother Frank (1935-2014)

On January 16, Brother Frank, the brother in charge of the fraternity in Mymensingh (Bangladesh), died in his 79th year. He was born in the Netherlands, in the village of Gasselte in the province of Drenthe. After studying languages, he entered the Taizé Community in 1960.

For a long time he had a weak heart, and then lungs. Recently he felt worse and a rapid return to Taizé was decided. A nurse accompanied him. During a stopover in Istanbul he suffered a heart attack; he was hospitalized and died almost immediately. His body was brought back to Taizé, where his funeral took place on January 21 in the presence of his five siblings; he was the eldest.

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A lifetime of self-giving for the poorest of the poor has come to an end. Whatever the place where he spent time along with other brothers of the community, Brother Frank always gave priority to a life shared with the most abandoned, rooted in an intense search for God. At the end of 1964, Brother Roger asked him to make visits to the United States which led to the creation, in 1965, of the first fraternity on the American continent, in Wisconsin. From 1966 to 1971, he was in charge of a fraternity where a few brothers of Taizé and some Franciscan friars lived in a very poor neighborhood of Chicago. Then he spent a year with other brothers in Atlanta.

In 1972, Brother Frank changed continents. He was sent to Asia and made visits in India, where he established especially the first relations Taizé had with Mother Teresa. He then visited Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. In late 1974, a fraternity in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, began, in the city of Chittagong. From there, in 1978, he moved to Japan where, with other brothers, he began a fraternity in the marginal district of Miyadera in Tokyo. At the end of 1979, he helped begin a fraternity in Seoul, Korea, then he left for Calcutta in 1981, and returned permanently to Bangladesh in 1987. The brothers then went to live in the town of Mymensingh.

One day, Brother Frank described these long years of life shared with the poor of Bangladesh with these lines:

We find that those who are rejected by society because of their weakness and their apparent uselessness are a presence of God. If we welcome them, they gradually lead us out of a world of hyper-competition to a world of communion of hearts. As a gesture of communion with believers of Islam or with other believers, we make pilgrimages together with the disabled. This opens up our hearts. When we serve together the poor and the weak, they are the ones who bring us together; it is not we, the strong, who do this, but it is they who invite us to be together, with them.

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March 2013

Brother Alois in Canterbury

Brother Alois was in Canterbury on 21st March for the enthronement of the new Archbishop, Justin Welby. The next day he had the opportunity to greet him personally.

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Archbishop Justin Welby and brother Alois, 22 March 2013
©Picture Partnership/Lambeth Palace

During his sermon the Archbishop said that the church continues to have the power to transform society. Preaching to 2,000 people inside the cathedral and millions more watching and listening around the world, he spoke about how fear imprisons us and stops us from being fully human. Drawing on the story of Christ beckoning the disciples to walk on stormy waters, he recalled Jesus’ words: "Take heart, it is I, do not be afraid."

Archbishop Justin said that "our response to these words sets the pattern of our lives, for the church, for the whole of society."

Pope Francis, hope for renewal in the Church


Brother Alois, Prior of Taizé, writes

In Rome, in St. Peter’s Square, in the middle of the huge crowd of Romans and pilgrims from many countries, I was very happy about the first words of Pope Francis. We were expecting something new from this election and it happened. The origin of this first pope, come "from the ends of the earth," expresses the universal dimension of the Church. The name he chose evokes the joy and love of the poor that inspired Francis of Assisi and which, until now, have been at the heart of his life in Argentina.
 
He draws from the faith of Latin American Christians his vision of the relationship between the people and their bishop. "Let us set out on this road: the bishop and his people," "a path of brotherhood, love, and trust between us," he said, emphasizing his mission as Bishop of Rome. Those who were present in the square were visibly impressed that the new pope, before blessing them, asked for their prayers, bowing down and maintaining a long silence.
 
By asking to pray for his predecessor, Benedict XVI, he brought together continuity and the promise of something new. With the whole crowd present to greet and welcome him, I was touched that he widened our attention to a worldwide dimension by saying: "Let us pray for the whole world so that a great brotherhood may arise."
March 13, 2013

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With Pope Francis