The Christian churches are still separated. But in the French village of Taizé, around a hundred kilometres to the North of Lyon, pray for young Christians from all over the world together. From Taizé Christoph Strack.
The brothers of the community in front of the choir room
“It was for us, and our history is a very important Moment. But we don’t celebrate it big,” says Frère (French for brother) Jasper. The 34-year-old Dutchman is one of around 100 brothers of the Ecumenical community of Taizé. There are men from different churches together in a community. This is unprecedented. Protestants, Reformed, And Catholics.
In this old village Church in Taizé it all began on the 17. April 1949
70 years it is this Wednesday that the first seven men vows for a “lifelong commitment,” and committed themselves to poverty, chastity, and obedience. What began on that day, the Easter Sunday of the year in 1949, was from the village in the Southeast of France, one of the most important places of Ecumenism, of the coexistence of the long-warring Christian churches. Every year over a hundred thousand young people in the village. In these days of the 3000 guests that are staying in tents and small wooden houses. They come from European countries but also from India, South Korea, Japan or El Salvador.
Hope and openness
Mario Ernesto Cornejo spends the Easter days in Taizé.
Mario Ernesto Cornejo (38), a Jesuit from El Salvador and with friends for the Easter days to Taizé. He speaks of a “spiritual experience”. So many young people speaking here openly about their lives and their Faith and prayed together. “I hope,” he says.
“In Taize,” says the 18-year-old Kira from Finland, “can I stop my life and consider what is important to me. Here I can really be myself.” She has already been elected for the second Time, all the way from the North of Europe to Burgundy. And also the 17-year-old Xavier from Bordeaux, for the second Time, emphasized the religious openness that he is experiencing and says, very seriously: “I pray for peace.”
Elke Wolters from Rostock is one of those for decades to come to Taizé. “I have here made as a teenager very deep faith experience and I want to pass on. It fascinates me that young people from all over the world come here and their Faith.”
Elke Wolters from Rostock had already been in Taizé
Fears of existence and climate change
Frère Jasper describes what problems the youth have, in his opinion. Who come from the South of Europe, to speak often fears of existence. Even the one who is well trained, rarely find a training place or a Job. And often the conversation come all the guests on the climate change, the situation in Europe and concerns about the future. “We see a lot of ideas, and encourage each guest to participate and to make the world a better place.” 75 percent of the guests are according to the officer under 30 years of age, in 15 dominate Year – to 20.
When a good 40-minute lunch brothers are prayer in addition to nearly 70 of the 2500 young people in the “Church of reconciliation”. A quiet, solemn vocals in eight languages, a Bible text, in between, a few simple sets of brothers. Impulse. And Silence. Minutes silence, not a Giggle, not a Smartphone ringing.
Estimated 2500 young people in the Church. The back rows are less than a hundred meters from the choir room.
The catchy tunes can sing along to, who can’t actually sing. The Taizé-style for decades. And what is said, the young people and their search for God, according to the binding in the view – not the Church or churches. There is no “thou shalt” or “you can’t”.
This may also explain why the brothers of the 70. Anniversary of the first vows is not big celebrations. “We have to go with the young people on Easter and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus,” says brother Jasper. And this is typical Taizé – we wanted to celebrate the history of their own. You’ve done in 2015, as the founder and first head of the community, Frère Roger (1915-2005) 100 years, and whose first arrival in the place was in Taizé for over 75 years.
For twelve years in Taizé: the Dutch Frère Jasper
After all: A time to witness it. Frère Daniel, one of the first seven, is now 97 years old and lives as a recluse in the house of the brothers. Daniel is, like the other six, a Protestant Christian. Not until 1969 that the first Catholic was added. Today, dozens of brothers, is also the current head of the community, and the German brother Alois come from the Catholic Church. But on his confession none of the guests is defined here. You are looking at. “We really should listen more to the young people, their dreams, their hopes,” says Frère Jasper.