Taizé

The Taizé community is an ecumenical monastic order with a strong devotion to peace and justice through prayer and meditation, based in Taizé, France. It is a community of over 100 monks drawn from 30 countries across the world. The 100-strong community of Roman Catholic and Protestant monks is drawn from 30 countries across the world.

It was founded in 1940 by Roger Louis Schutz-Marsauche (known as 'Brother Roger'). The 90-year-old monk died in August 2005 after being stabbed during a prayer service.

Prayer and silence are at the heart of the Taizé experience. Young people from every corner of the globe are encouraged to live out the Christian gospel in a spirit of joy, simplicity and reconciliation. Ecumenism (a movement promoting Christian unity among Churches) is the key to Taizé's appeal, making it a magnet for people of many different cultures and traditions.

Taizé has spawned a unique style of worship that has become popular in churches, retreat centres and seminaries throughout the world. The singing of distinctive and much-repeated prayer chants during candlelit prayer services is one of its trademarks. Taizé music highlights simple phrases, usually lines from the Psalms or other pieces of scripture, repeated or sung in canon. The repetition is designed to help meditation and prayer.

Following the monastic tradition, the community gathers for common prayer three times a day. The style of prayer is highly meditative. Singing and silence play a large part. Prayer chants are sung in many different languages and include those from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The structure of prayer is similar to the Divine Office from the Catholic monastic tradition with a hymn, psalms, a scripture reading and intercessions.

- Excerpt from the BBC page on Taizé