Taizé community

The Taizé community is an ecumenical community in the village of Taizé in southern Burgundy, founded in 1940 by theology student Roger Schultz (1915-2005). The community, which began in the turmoil of the Second World War, has set as its goal reconciliation between non-Christians and Christians. The pillars of the brothers’ common life are PRAYER, WORK and HOSPITALITY. Today, the community includes more than a hundred brothers who live according to the customs of the monastic order – in celibacy, cohabitation and recognition of the prior or authority. The brothers live only from their work and do not accept donations. The daily life of the brothers consists mainly of prayer, work and inner silence in which God can be present. A constant awareness of what is beyond one’s self makes one humble, open, and trusting. Property sharing is also a sign of solidarity with all people, especially the poor. The community itself also bears witness to ecumenism, because it includes brothers from different Christian denominations, nationalities, cultures and societies. Unity in this context means praying together and living in community.

Taizé and youth

The most important contribution of the Taizé brothers to the ecumenical movement is the message: RECONCILIATION STARTS AT HOME. The Church of the Atonement in Taizé also symbolizes the importance of dialogue and unity. Brothers of Taizé welcome thousands of young people every year, showing hospitality and, because “It is Christ himself whom we welcome in the person of a guest”. The brothers also visit young people in different countries to better understand local joys and concerns. In 1969, the idea came to create a link between the time spent in Taizé and everyday life through the Youth Council, which by 1978 turned into an international New Year’s gathering in some major European cities and which bears the name “Pilgrimage of Trust”.

“Strangers can help us discern the presence
of Christ and once more grasp that he remains with us always (…) will we dare to set out again not alone but with others, mutually enriched, as we journey together?”
Br Matthew, the Taizé Prior, Letter 2024

Taizé and Estonia

The spirituality of Taizé is related to modesty, simplicity and Christian mysticism, in which the human soul directly meets the real, nearby God. “The simple longing for God is the beginning of faith,” writes brother Roger. This way of thinking has been the answer to many people’s search for God. This is how Taizé’s songs and letters reached Estonia and aroused interest in Taizé’s spirituality among the people here. Since 1989, when the Soviet Union collapsed, Estonians also had the opportunity to participate in Taizé’s European gatherings and visit Taizé’s home community. For young people behind the Iron Curtain for many years, these meetings were a great opportunity to experience Christian unity against the background of different cultures. Since then, regular Taizé prayers in Estonian churches also began.

“God does not force himself. He leaves us free to love or not to love.” (Brother Roger)