Pope pays tribute to Brother Roger and Taizé
Pope Benedict has described the founder of the Taizé ecumenical community, who was killed five years ago, as an “untiring witness of Gospel peace and reconciliation”.
In a letter published in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the Pontiff marked the fifth anniversary of Brother Roger Schutz’s (1915-2005) death on 16 August 2005 and paid tribute to the Taizé ecumenical community on the seventieth anniversary of its founding in Burgundy, France.
“Brother Roger was a pioneer on the difficult path towards the unity of the disciples of Christ,” the letter stated.
“His testimony of an ecumenism of holiness can inspire us on our path towards unity,” the letter states. It was signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, on Pope Benedict’s behalf.
Brother Roger founded the ecumenical community in France on 20 August 1940 to assist refugees of World War II.
The early members of the community devoted themselves to tending to anyone in need.
In his letter, the Pope said that he wished to show his “spiritual closeness” and “union in prayer with the community and with everyone” who is remembering Brother Roger over these days.
It added that “although he has entered eternal joy, he still speaks to us”.
The community welcomes any Christian – Catholics, Protestants or Orthodox – among its ranks, describing itself as “a ‘parable of community’ that wants its life to be a sign of reconciliation between divided Christians and between separated peoples.”
Every year hundreds of thousands of young Christians gather in Taizé to seek renewal in their faith and to participate in workshops on catechesis given by the monks.
The community’s simplicity and particular style of meditative prayer and chants and message of hope continues to draw large enthusiastic crowds annually seeking a counter-cultural faith experience in the midst of the frentic world.