Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Rest in Peace Brother Roger

Brother RogerThe epitaph Rest in Peace seems more appropriate than usual for Brother Roger Schutz. The Monk who led an interdenominational monastery of monks from around the world was stabbed in the throat three times during evening prayer Tuesday by a deranged Romanian woman. Death was immediate. 2,500 people watched in horror as murder interrupted the worship service.

During World War II, the Lutheran pastor formed an ecumenical religious community to live in peace in that time of war. The elderly minister founded the Taizé monastic community in 1940 after leaving Switzerland by bicycle at the age of 25 and buying a small house in the village after a woman told him that villagers there were lonely. Today Taizé is made up of over 100 brothers, including Catholics and Protestants, from more than 25 nations. The community is known for its distinctive worship with its emphasis on silence and on its style of chant, known as Taizé which uses a simple repeated refrain to amazing effect.

His obiturary from The Times of London says in part
Though Taizé began as a community for Protestant men, concentrating on prayer, self-supporting work and caring activities, this tiny Burgundian village has become a centre of world pilgrimage where tens of thousands of young people have sensed that reconciliation between nations and churches is being lived out in practice.

The charisma of this frail and sensitive Swiss pastor without oratorical gifts has attracted more young people than any other religious leader in Europe, Catholic or Protestant. He linked prayer and the fight against injustice using the phrase “struggle and contemplation”. Worship three times a day is part of a life which includes a farm co-operative, a printing press and studios for painting and pottery.
The succesor the 90-year old had already named will be a German Catholic, underscoring the unique ecumenical nature of the Taizé Community.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said on Wednesday, “This is an indescribable shock. Brother Roger was one of the best loved Christian leaders of our time, and hundreds of thousands will be feeling his loss very personally, and remembering him in prayer and gratitude."

An editorial in the Telegraph (UK) said,
His life also successfully reconciled the tension between active engagement in the world and the monastic withdrawal that prefigures the hereafter. In a recent public letter, he observed how we must "love life on earth, and at the same time long for a beyond, for a life that will never end".
For more information, see the article from The Times, London and the The Times obituary as well as the the story in today's New York Times.

You may listen to Taizé chant here in the song Mon Ame Se Repose which means "my soul is at rest or sample a whole CD here at with the CD we often use as background music for the labyrinth.


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