The origins of Taizé : a project of Peace


Have you ever heard of Taizé? We hope so ... since this religious community placed in Cluny (France) is already a long way back: it was born during the Second World War to be a testimony of welcome and reconciliation among people, among countries. This war, like any other, was causing a lot of horror: deportees, orphans, victims of political persecution ... Facing this, in 1940 a 25 year old Swiss, Roger Schutz, decided to settle in Taizé, a small town of France, in order to open a shelter for the victims of the war (mostly Jewish orphans). He was not probably aware at that time of what his initial gesture was going to mean over time: the Ecumenical Community of Taizé ... as soon as he was joined by other young brothers (not many at the beginning) in order to share his vocation with him. The war ended and those convulsive years gave rise to peace emanating from political treatises but not to its immediate correlative in society. The conflict had ended but not the social fracture caused by it: hatred, resentment and uneasiness still held the hearts. The time had gone up for reconciliation among those europeans confronted. Thus, that small community remained in Taizé not only for its initial mission of welcoming but also for being testimony of peace and of reconciliation. The practice of prayer and silence would be the essence around which everything flows.
In the Romanesque hermitage of Taizé, the first prayers of the incipient Community took place during the war and the first years of the post-war period, and, little by little, the inhabitants of the countryside and the first visitors would soon join them. During the 60's, Taizé began to become a reference for a vital European youth who found out, in the shadow of that Community, a place for peace, reconciliation and exchange of spiritual and human experience. At that time, the Community had already settled in the monastic building raised on top of "the hill". Today, in the 21st century, Taizé continues to be a spiritual reference for youth: every year thousands of young people - and not so young - come to the monastery to live an experience of the Kingdom of God. In turn, each year-end the Community organizes in a European city the "European Meeting for Youth" where young people are met to share their desires and hopes, their faith.
But not everything ends in the experience of "the hill" or the annual meeting of the end of year: what it really matter is to come back to our cities with the same spirit of Taizé. And that is precisely what we are trying to do tonight in this chapel here in Barcelona tonight: to offer to every one of you a place of peace, reconciliation and hope in a climate of prayer. The songs are composed by the community itself: music is very important in Taizé! Being aware it reaches always there where words cannot do it.
Be welcome!