Patriarch Bartholomew I. of Constantinople visited the ecumenical community of Taize for the first time this Tuesday. He appealed to Christians to face their responsibility as "true agents of reconciliation".
The honorary head of world Orthodoxy addressed young people and representatives of various Christian communities. For many years he had wanted to visit the brotherhood of Taize, which stands for ecumenism, reconciliation and encounter.
Youth meeting vowed
Bartholomew I. especially praised the major European Taize youth gatherings at the end of each year. These would help promote Christian unity among young people and develop an understanding of reconciliation. In this way, "the wounds of history, the scars of time, the mutual misunderstandings" could be healed. The separation of Christians is "a spiritual wound and a common responsibility". Those who really want to work for reconciliation must be ready to take the first step, the patriarch stressed.
The prior of the community, Frere Alois of Germany, praised the patriarch's tireless commitment to the Orthodox faith, interreligious dialogue and the integrity of creation. Bartholomew I. took part in the midday prayer in the Church of Reconciliation in Taize and then addressed the young people, brothers and representatives of Christian communities present.
Visit to the tomb of Frere Roger
He then blessed two icons, including an icon of the Mother of God given by Bartholomew's predecessor Patriarch Athenagoras (1886-1972) to Taize founder Brother Roger at a meeting in 1963. In conclusion, Bartholomew I visited the church. the tomb of Frere Roger.
Taize is one of the important places of the ecumenical movement. The small town in Burgundy is the seat of a brotherhood that has become a meeting place for young people from all over the world over the past five decades. It is made up of about 100 men from more than 25 countries, who come from various Protestant churches and from the Catholic Church.