Thursday, August 18, 2005

Brother Roger Schutz of Taize 1915 - 2005

In the midst of the joy and celebration of World Youth Day, a heartbreaking tragedy -- the senseless murder of Brother Roger Schutz:
DIJON, France, AUG. 16, 2005 ( The founder of the French religious Taizé Community, Brother Roger, was attacked and killed by a mentally disturbed [woman] during vespers, his community said.

Roger, 90, was attacked, probably with a knife, during evening prayer today at Taizé, near Cluny, in the eastern Burgundy region, a member of the community told Agence France-Presse.

The Taizé movement started during World War II, when Swiss-born monk Roger Schutz, living in Taizé, provided a refuge for those fleeing the conflict, irrespective of their religion.

Roger, a Protestant with a degree in theology, devoted his life to the reconciliation between Christian denominations.

Statement of the Taize community:

In its sorrow, the Taizé Community thanks all those who are supporting it by their affection and their prayer. On the morning of 17 August, after Brother Roger’s death, the following prayer was read in the church:

"Christ of compassion, you enable us to be in communion with those who have gone before us, and who can remain so close to us. We confide into your hands our Brother Roger. He already contemplates the invisible. In his footsteps, you are preparing us to welcome a radiance of your brightness."

The funeral of Brother Roger will take place on Tuesday 23 August at 14.00.

Each afternoon, from 15.00 to 19.00, his body is placed in the church of Taizé, so that all who wish may go and meditate close by him.

Eight years ago, Brother Roger designated Brother Alois to succeed him, as the person in charge of the community. Brother Alois has entered straightaway into his ministry as servant of communion at the heart of the community.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.

  • Pope Mourns Murder of Taizé's Brother Roger Zenit.or. August 17, 2005:
    The Pope showed emotion as he expressed his grief, at the end of today's general audience.

    "This news has affected me even more because precisely yesterday I received a very moving, affectionate letter from Frère Roger," the Pope said, addressing the pilgrims gathered in the patio of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo."

    In it he wrote that from the depth of his heart he wanted to tell me that 'we are in communion with you and with those who have gathered in Cologne,'" the Holy Father said. . . .

    The letter, written in French, expressed Brother Roger's desire "to come as soon as possible to Rome to meet with me and to tell me that 'our Community of Taizé wants to go forward in communion with the Holy Father,'" according to Benedict XVI.

    The letter ended with these words in Brother Roger's own handwriting: "Holy Father, I assure you of my sentiments of profound communion. Frère Roger of Taizé."

    "At this moment of sadness," the Pope said, "we can only commend to the Lord's goodness the soul of this faithful servant of his."

    "Frère Schutz is in the hands of eternal goodness, of eternal love; he has attained eternal joy," the Holy Father added. "He invites and exhorts us to be faithful laborers in the Lord's vineyard, also in sad situations, certain that the Lord accompanies us and gives us his joy."

  • Brother Roger: A Life of Reconciliation - on the "Legacy of Taizé Community's Slain Leader". August 17, 2005.

  • How Taize changed the church, by Steve Tomkins, Church historian. BBC News, August 16, 2005.

  • Brother Roger - "Swiss-born pastor who founded the community at Taizé and saw it become a centre of pilgrimage"; a lengthy obituary from the UK's Sunday Times August 18, 2005.

  • Brother Roger's Funeral Highlights "Ecumenism of Holiness" Zenit News Service. August 25, 2005.

  • "A Man of Faith Loving Passionately the Church" messages sent to the ecumenical Community of Taizé by various religious leaders -- a demonstration of its ecumenical influence on Christians around the world.

  • "He Nourished a Deep Desire for Reconciliation and Encounter", text of Cardinal Kasper's funeral homily for Brother Roger. August 24, 2005.

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