Standard Article

Schütz-Marsauche, Roger-Louis (1915–2005) and Taizé

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1225

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Schütz-Marsauche, Roger-Louis (1915–2005) and Taizé. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

Abstract

Founder and prior of the Taizé Community in France, an international and ecumenical monastic community. Born in 1915 in Provence to a Swiss father and a French mother, his father was a Swiss-Refomed Calvinist but his grandmother was a Roman Catholic and both traditions left a deep imprint on his life. Roger studied theology in Lausanne and Strasbourg. He bought a home in 1940 in the village of Taizé, near the celebrated monastery in Cluny, which he used as a refuge for Jews fleeing Nazi Germany until 1942 when a Nazi raid forced him to find safety in Geneva. When the war ended, he used the same house as a home for German prisoners. In 1949 he converted the place to a monastery with seven brothers committed to a life of contemplation, austerity, and celibacy. All of his initial “monks” were Protestants, but gradually he accepted Roman Catholics and others from Eastern Orthodox backgrounds as well. Within a few years the number of brothers passed 100, from 20 countries. The community supports itself by the brothers' work alone. Some brothers go abroad and establish small groups of Christians separated from the world. Brother Roger himself lived on all continents, especially in countries undergoing civil war and stress. Since 1958 Taizé has welcomed young adults. Summer meetings of young adults draw up to 6,000 participants at a time. During these meetings, members share three communal prayers in the Chapel of Reconciliation. Songs from Taizé are used in churches and parishes around the world. These meetings are replicated in eastern and western Europe as well as Asia and the Americas. Brother Roger was invited to the Second Vatican Council and he also visited the Ecumenical Patriarch at Constantinople. Three archbishops of Canterbury have visited Taizé, and Pope John Paul II visited Taizé as a “pilgrim and a friend of the Community.” Brother Roger received the Templeton Prize and the German Peace Prize in 1974 and Karlspreis in 1989. Brother Roger died tragically on August 16, 2005, during the evening prayer service at Taizé, after an attack in which he was stabbed by a mentally disturbed woman.

Keywords:

  • Schütz-Marsauche, Roger-louis (1915–2005) and taizé;
  • founder, prior of Taizé community in France;
  • ecumenical monastic community