It is also almost 70 years to the day that Brother Roger arrived in the French town of Taizé, in the middle of the Second World War, with the aim of establishing a Christian community here. He was just 25 at the time. It is also almost five years to the day (16 August) that he was tragically murdered during the evening prayer service by a woman with mental health problems.
I watched a video the other day here at Taizé about his life, it was really touching. He seemed like a really kind, gentle man who passionate about God, about helping others, and living in Christian community. It is amazing that what began with one man and a vision has led to this community here at Taizé, where people flock every year and encounter God through community, song and simplicity.
In the 1980s he set about establishing a ‘Pilgrimage of Trust’ on earth – drawing Christian pilgrims here from all parts of the world, and creating a network of peace, reconciliation, love and trust.
I wondered when I arrived if Taizé was perhaps an excuse for a big party for many young people here – for some it probably is, but the majority seem really devout, carrying their prayer stools and into church and many staying long after the service has actually ended. I hear people humming the Taizé songs here from the services – they really do start to stick in your head after a while.