A message focusing on the theme “Ora et labora”, meaning “pray and work”, was shared by the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, at the 75th anniversary of the Taizé Community, commemorating the life of the community’s founder Brother Roger.
Tveit addressed the event titled “New Solidarity”, held on 16 August in Burgundy, France.
Founded in 1940, Taizé is an ecumenical monastic order centred in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, France, which brings together young people from around the world for reflection, prayer and community living.
The WCC general secretary called the anniversary commemoration a “poignant moment”: “Taizé is a village, it is a religious community, but more than that it is a spiritual home – a precious station on life’s journey and a meeting point with others together on the way,” said Tveit.
Admiring the vision of peace and community life promoted by Taizé, Tveit said, “The experience of life in community is a compelling reflection of the interdependence of human beings.”
“It is vital for us today to cherish the deep spiritual truth that we belong together as one human family and that we are part of the entire web of life. The recognition of our interrelatedness is the beginning of the mutual trust and solidarity needed to change and transform the ambivalent reality.”
Tveit called the concept of a pilgrimage “defining quality of the ecumenical movement”. He said that the Taizé Community’s call for a “Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth” resonates well with the invitation of the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan 2013 calling to embark on a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.
“Speaking of a pilgrimage that combines spiritual dimensions of prayer and worship and practical action for justice and peace, we are reminded that Christian life and identity are part of something greater than ourselves, something which binds us together in solidarity with each other as an expression of God’s grace and love,” said the WCC general secretary.
Tveit paid a profound tribute to the life and works of Brother Roger, founder of the Taizé Community, a Swiss Christian leader, who welcomed thousands of young pilgrims, until his death in 2005, when he was stabbed by a mentally ill participant in a worship service at Taizé.
“Brother Roger demonstrated the joy and pain of discipleship through his life and witness. His life journey helps us to see the deeper meaning of being one in the body of Christ in prayer and practice. His reflections on faith in Christ in the middle of Nazi terror and war and finally the tragedy of his death keep us focused on the cross of Christ. We are reminded of Christ’s uniting, reconciling and self-sacrificial love to the world and the gift of new life in the Eucharist,” Tveit added.