A Bit of Background on Taizé

The Community of Taizé began with the vision of Brother Roger Schütz, a Swiss Protestant. He studied theology at University of Lausanne and his thesis was on monastic community before St. Benedict. He had a great dream of establishing a ecumenical Christian community of reconciliation. In 1940, he entered France, then under the control of the Vichy Government (collaborators with the Nazis) to find a house for the intentional community of reconciliation that he and university friends wanted to start.
He bought a house in the small community of Taizé in order to serve the poor there. At first, Roger was able to take in war refugees. He began a simple routine of work and prayer. In 1942, while Brother Roger was back in Switzerland raising funds for his efforts, the Gestapo took possession of his house. He had to stay in Switzerland until he was able to return to Taizé in the fall of 1944 with 3 friends.
These men began to care for orphans and visit German prisoners of war in their efforts to live out the Gospel of reconciliation. On Easter 1949, 7 men took monastic vows — they were all Protestant.
In the next 20 years, the community grew. They developed close ties with the Roman Catholic Church in an effort towards reconciliation. They also began to receive young people who were making pilgrimages from all over Europe.
Over the years, new and larger buildings were built for worship and to accommodate the pilgrims. In the 1960s and 70s Taizé attracted more and more youth. It was during this time that the “Pilgrimage of Trust” took hold with both brothers and young people being sent out from Taizé around the world to be “love bearers of hope.” Many of the brothers were sent out to live among the poor of many nations. They also began to hold large gatherings for youth in other countries.
When we visit Taizé over the weekend, we join a community of reconciliation and prayer that has been worshipping and serving Jesus since 1944. Our accommodations will be basic (at best!). Taizé sees its first purpose as worship and prayer. The community is glad to welcome “pilgrims,” primarily the young, and do their best to give them lodging. Most people who visit bring their own towels and bedding. In the summer, most young people camp in tents. We’re just hoping to keep warm!
If you’re the praying sort, please pray that all of us who visit Taizé this weekend, stay open to God’s presence amidst the worship, prayers, music and people of the Community of Taizé.


2 thoughts on “A Bit of Background on Taizé”

  1. What an amazing experience Taize was in my life. So glad you and Dan brought me there so many years ago to experience God in a whole new way. I so clearly remember the ways in which I was challenged in my faith!


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