Taizé community marks 70th year

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Taizé community, an ecumenical monastic order and spiritual-pilgrimage destination center in Saône-et-Loire, France, by Brother Roger Schutz.

Schutz, who arrived in France a Swiss Protestant in 1940, died in 2005 after being attacked by a woman wielding a knife. His successor Brother Alois, visiting with Catholic News Agency, stressed Schutz's and the community's ecumenical bent and missiological outlook.

"We have to be credible and as such we must be united," said Br. Alois of ecumenism, adding "how can we speak about the love of God and at the same time justify our separations?"

As any quick search will demonstrate, over its history Taizé has had a practically inestimable impact on the liturgical imagination.

In 1997, Olivier Clément wrote of Taizé:

"I could only believe in a God who dances!" said Neitzsche.

But Christ is this "God who dances"! One can see this, for example, in the fresco of the Church of the Holy Savior at Chora, Constantinople: in this picture Christ descends into hell, breaking the doors of hell with one foot; and with the other foot he begins a movement of reascension in a shining whiteness, and he pulls up Adam and Eve out of their tombs. There he is, the "God who dances"!

And the Christian is the person who dances, too, in the joy of knowing that love is stronger than death, in the joy of knowing that we are no longer blocked in a space-time that has death sealed up! There is no more death! There are places on the way of life that may be hard or sorrowful, but they always lead through towards the resurrection. This living Christianity is what young people discover at Taizé.

Comments (2)

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had something like Taize here in the USA? It would be even better if it reached out to people of all ages and not just the young. Now that's something I could get excited about. Has anyone else ever felt those stirrings?

I do, Peter Pearson.

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