Founder of Taize Community Stabbed to Death

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Brother Roger, the 90-year-old leader of the Taize ecumenical community in France, was stabbed to death by a woman during a prayer service in August.

Authorities said a 36-year-old Romanian woman stood up during the service, attended by about 2,500 people, and stabbed him in the throat three times. He died immediately, Reuters reported.

Roger Schutz, a Swiss Protestant, founded Taize in 1940 in a remote village in the hills of southern Burgundy. Today the community numbers about 100 Roman Catholics and Protestants. In the 1950s Taize became a place of pilgrimage for young people from all over the world. The chants the community developed for its worship are widely used by churches of all denominations.

“Short chants, repeated over and over, emphasize the meditative quality of prayer,” Brother Roger wrote. “They express in a few words a basic truth which is quickly grasped by the mind and gradually penetrates into one’s whole being.”

Eight years ago Brother Roger designated Brother Alois, a German Roman Catholic, to succeed him as head of the community. On hearing of Brother Roger’s death, Brother Alois immediately returned to Taize from Cologne, Germany, where he had been attending the Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day celebrations. (RNS)

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