Brother Roger, founder of the Taize community

Brother Roger, founder of the Taize community

PARIS – A Romanian woman slipped into a choir of singing monks during an evening prayer service and fatally slit the throat of the 90-year-old founder of an ecumenical Christian community in the presence of 2 500 horrified pilgrims, authorities said.

The slaying earlier this month of Brother Roger in the Church of Reconciliation drew reactions of shock and grief from the pope, the leader of the Anglican Church and worshippers around the world. “It happened very fast.There were some screams.We turned around.He was wounded,” said Brother Emile, who witnessed the killing.”We carried him out of the church so people didn’t see the terrible part …She slit his throat.”Brother Roger was stabbed at least twice in the neck.Bleeding profusely, he died 15 minutes later in the community house, Brother Emile said.Tributes to the silver-haired cleric who symbolised dialogue across the Christian world poured in to the tranquil Taizé Community, snuggled in a Burgundy village north of Lyon.Pope Benedict XVI deplored the “very sad and terrifying news”.Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the Church of England, called it “an indescribable shock”.The Taizé Community’s Web site was so inundated with messages that it crashed.Brother Roger Schutz was born of a Swiss Protestant father and a French Catholic mother.He moved to Taizé in 1940 with plans to found a monastery.He harboured Jewish refugees during the World War II Nazi occupation of France, then built the ecumenical Taizé Community with a mission to reconcile all denominations of Christians and promote dialogue and peace.Some 2 500 people – most of them young people – were worshipping in the church when the woman surged forward and stabbed Brother Roger.He was among a group of 80 brothers who form the choir.The 36-year-old intruder had visited Taizé for a week in June and was considered psychologically fragile.Emile said they had learned from colleagues that she was “a very sick woman in Romania” who screamed in churches.”We asked her not to stay,” Brother Emile said in a telephone interview.She returned about two days ago, bypassing the reception area.Romanian media identified the woman as Luminita Solcan, from the northeast city of Iasi.”She’s a Catholic and from what I know she’s been suffering from a mental illness for several years,” Father Cornel Cadar, a representative of the Iasi Roman Catholic Diocese, said.The Taizé community has appointed 51-year-old Brother Alois, a German Roman Catholic, to succeed its leader.Alois, born in Stuttgart, had initially been selected eight years ago by Brother Roger.”Brother Roger died as he lived, praying at the centre of his community,” said the World Council of Churches.The body’s acting secretary general, Genevieve Jacques, said his ecumenical work “has been enormously influential”.Brother Roger was the second recipient of the US$1 million Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1974, a year after Mother Teresa was given the honour.”When the Nazis occupied France during World War II, Brother Roger, founder and prior (director) of the Taizé Community in France, harboured Jewish refugees,” the Templeton citation said.”It was typical of Brother Roger’s long history of helping the less fortunate.”The Taizé community draws some 100 000 people, about 17 to 30 years old.- Nampa-AP”It happened very fast.There were some screams.We turned around.He was wounded,” said Brother Emile, who witnessed the killing.”We carried him out of the church so people didn’t see the terrible part …She slit his throat.”Brother Roger was stabbed at least twice in the neck.Bleeding profusely, he died 15 minutes later in the community house, Brother Emile said.Tributes to the silver-haired cleric who symbolised dialogue across the Christian world poured in to the tranquil Taizé Community, snuggled in a Burgundy village north of Lyon.Pope Benedict XVI deplored the “very sad and terrifying news”.Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the Church of England, called it “an indescribable shock”.The Taizé Community’s Web site was so inundated with messages that it crashed.Brother Roger Schutz was born of a Swiss Protestant father and a French Catholic mother.He moved to Taizé in 1940 with plans to found a monastery.He harboured Jewish refugees during the World War II Nazi occupation of France, then built the ecumenical Taizé Community with a mission to reconcile all denominations of Christians and promote dialogue and peace.Some 2 500 people – most of them young people – were worshipping in the church when the woman surged forward and stabbed Brother Roger.He was among a group of 80 brothers who form the choir.The 36-year-old intruder had visited Taizé for a week in June and was considered psychologically fragile.Emile said they had learned from colleagues that she was “a very sick woman in Romania” who screamed in churches.”We asked her not to stay,” Brother Emile said in a telephone interview.She returned about two days ago, bypassing the reception area.Romanian media identified the woman as Luminita Solcan, from the northeast city of Iasi.”She’s a Catholic and from what I know she’s been suffering from a mental illness for several years,” Father Cornel Cadar, a representative of the Iasi Roman Catholic Diocese, said.The Taizé community has appointed 51-year-old Brother Alois, a German Roman Catholic, to succeed its leader.Alois, born in Stuttgart, had initially been selected eight years ago by Brother Roger.”Brother Roger died as he lived, praying at the centre of his community,” said the World Council of Churches.The body’s acting secretary general, Genevieve Jacques, said his ecumenical work “has been enormously influential”.Brother Roger was the second recipient of the US$1 million Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1974, a year after Mother Teresa was given the honour.”When the Nazis occupied France during World War II, Brother Roger, founder and prior (director) of the Taizé Community in France, harboured Jewish refugees,” the Templeton citation said.”It was typical of Brother Roger’s long history of helping the less fortunate.”The Taizé community draws some 100 000 people, about 17 to 30 years old.- Nampa-AP

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