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During Holy Week a group from the Milton Abbot benefice summoned up their courage and crossed the border into Cornwall - in order to join a Taizé Meditation Service at Trevalga Church on the coast above Boscastle. It was a blustery evening with a very full spring tide. The little church is perched high on the cliffs above the village in the teeth of an icy westerly wind.


Many of you will know that Taizé liturgy originated from the French monastic community founded by Brother Roger in 1940. It is based around simple repetitive chants designed to generate sufficient quiet in the hearts and minds of the participants for reflective scriptural contemplation to occur. Before each chant a passage from the Bible is read and during it, its meaning is reflected upon. As it was Holy Week we focused on the Passion of Christ – what it was like to be with Jesus – with his abandoned followers – to be physically at the Crucifixion of our Lord. That short candle lit service, with the wind whipping around the ancient little building and the waves crashing on the cliffs below, helped transport us into the drama of that terrible but crucial week in the development of our faith. So often our prayers leave little space for us to actually practice living in the presence of Christ. Taizé can create that space – and it certainly did for me that Tuesday night.


I think many of us were profoundly effected and have been inspired to try and establish a singing group in our own benefice. If you would like to join us please contact Greg (01822 870384) or myself, Richard Searight,(07886 414226) and we will let you know when we hold our first meeting.


If you would like to know more about the Taizé Community or their chanting please just go to your local website:, , , 



The evolution of the movement

The Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian monastic order in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France. It is composed of about 100 brothers who come from Protestant and Catholic traditions. The brothers come from about 30 countries across the world. [1] The monastic order has a strong devotion to peace and justice through prayer and meditation. It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Schutz. [2]

Prayer in the Church of Reconciliation at Taizé.

The community has become one of the world's most important sites of Christian pilgrimage. Over 100,000 young people from around the world pilgrim to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work. Through the community's ecumenical outlook, they are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity and reconciliation.

1. History
2. Music and Worship
3. Young Adult Meetings in Taizé
4. European Young Adults Meeting
5. International Young Adults Meeting
6. Trivia
7. References
8. External links

1. History

1. 1. Early Years

The Taizé Community was founded by Frère Roger in 1940. He pondered what it really meant to live a life according to the Scriptures and began a quest for a different expression of the Christian life. A year after this decision Roger reflected, “‘The defeat of France awoke powerful sympathy. If a house could be found there, of the kind I had dreamed of, it would offer a possible way of assisting some of those most discouraged, those deprived of a livelihood; and it could become a place of silence and work.’” Because his Swiss homeland was neutral and thus less affected by the war, he felt as if France would be ideal for his vision. For Roger, France was a “land of poverty, a land of wartime suffering, but a land of inner freedom.” He eventually settled in Taizé, which was a small desolate village just north of Cluny, the birthplace of western monasticism.

In September 1940, Roger purchased a small house that would eventually become the home of the Taizé community. Only miles south of the separation line that divided a war-torn country in half, Roger’s home became a sanctuary to countless war refugees seeking shelter. On November 11, 1942, the Gestapo occupied Roger’s house while he was in Switzerland collecting funds to aid in his refuge ministry. Roger was not able to return to his home in Taizé until the autumn of 1944, when France was liberated.

In 1941, Roger had published a few small brochures outlining several facets of a Christ-centred communal life together. These brochures prompted two young men to apply, soon followed by a third. They all lived in Switzerland in a flat owned by Roger’s family until after the war when they began a new life together in the French countryside. Over the next few years several other men would join the community. On Easter day 1949, seven brothers committed themselves [3] to a life following Christ in simplicity, celibacy and community. [4]

1. 2. Growth of the Community

In the years that followed, others joined. In 1969 a young Belgian doctor became the first Catholic brother to pledge his life to the community in Taizé. More brothers from Reformed, Anglican and Roman Catholic backgrounds joined the community. Soon the Brothers of Taizé were making trips to bring aid to people in both rural and urban areas [5] . They began forming “fraternities” of brothers in other cities that sought to be “signs of the presence of Christ among men, and bearers of joy”. Since 1951, the brothers have lived in small fraternities among the poor of the world in Calcutta, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Algeria, Brazil, and Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.

1. 3. Young People

In the 1960s young people began to visit the Taizé community. The first international young adults meeting was organized in Taizé in 1966 with 1400 participants from 30 countries.[citation needed]

The village church of Taizé, which had been used for the community's prayers, became too small to accommodate the pilgrims.[citation needed] A new church, the Church of Reconciliation, was built in the early 1960s with the help of volunteers, and expanded several times in the subsequent decades, first with tents, and then with simple wooden annexes.

In 1970, in response to student protests taking place all over Europe and the world, as well as the Second Vatican Council, Brother Roger announced a "Council of Youth" [6] , whose main meeting took place in 1974.

At the end of the 1970s, the meetings and surrounding activities began to be referred to[who?] as a "Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth". The community decided to focus on youth.[citation needed]

1. 4. Brother Roger's Death

On August 16, 2005, Brother Roger was fatally stabbed by a mentally ill woman during the evening prayer service in Taizé. He was succeeded by Brother Alois, a German-born Catholic, who had been appointed by Brother Roger to be his successor eight years earlier.

2. Music and Worship

The community, though Western European in origin, has sought to include people and traditions worldwide. They have sought to demonstrate this in the music and prayers where songs are sung in many languages, and have included chants and icons from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The music emphasises simple phrases, usually lines from Psalms or other pieces of Scripture, repeated and sometimes also sung in canon. [7] Earlier Taizé community music was conceived and composed by Jacques Berthier. [8] Later Joseph Gelineau became a major contributor to the music. [8]

3. Young Adult Meetings in Taizé

Small discussion groups.

Throughout the year, meetings for young adults between 17 and 30 years old (and, within certain limits, for adults and families with children) take place in Taizé. The number of visitors reaches more than 5000 during the summer and on Easter.Meetings usually last from Sunday to Sunday, though it is also possible to just come for a few days, or, for young volunteers, to stay for a longer time.

Several sisters also help with running the meetings, though it should be noted that they are not "Taizé Sisters". These sisters come from various orders, most notably the Catholic order of St. Andrew from Belgium. The Sisters of St. Andrew live in the neighboring village Ameugny.

The schedule of a typical day in the youth meetings [9] :

  • Morning prayer
  • Breakfast
  • Large group "Bible Introductions" led by one of the brothers
  • Sharing group discussions
  • Mid-day prayer
  • Lunch
  • Optional song practice
  • Practical tasks
  • Theme workshops
  • Dinner
  • Evening prayer
  • Informal gathering at Oyak (a common area at Taizé)

The evening prayer is broadcast every Saturday at 22h (Central European time) by the German radio station Domradio and provided online as a podcast. [10]

4. European Young Adults Meeting

Every year around New Year (usually from 28 December to 1 January), a meeting in a large European city attracts several ten thousand young adults. It is organized by brothers of the Taizé Community, sisters of St. Andrew, and young volunteers from all over Europe, and the from the host city.

The participants stay with local families or in very simple group accommodations. In the morning, they take part in a program organized by the parish closest to their accommodation. For their midday meal, all participants travel to a central location, usually the local exposition halls. The meal is followed by a common prayer, and the afternoon is spent in workshops covering faith, art, politics and social topics. In the evening, everyone meets again for the evening meal and an evening prayer.

Click the arrow to hear a Taize Chant


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