HOLY LAND – Founded by Brother Roger Schütz in 1944, the French ecumenical Christian community of Taizé organized this year a week-long pilgrimage to the Holy Land, centered on the theme of hope; each day took place in an emblematic place of the land of Jesus. The event, postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, brought together many young people from all over the world.
Taizé was originally a small village in Burgundy, where Brother Roger took in refugees during the Second World War. After 1945, he also began to welcome orphans deprived of their families because of the conflict, with the help of his brothers and sisters. Little by little, they were joined by others in their action, and, in 1949, the group committed itself to a common life of simplicity, celibacy and mutual aid.
Today, about a hundred brothers are part of the Taizé Community, which welcomes more than 100,000 young people on pilgrimage each year. It also offers many activities: interreligious dialogues, conferences, debates, times of prayer and reflection... as well as pilgrimages throughout the world. In 2020, the prior of the community, Brother Alois, decided to organize an "international youth meeting" in the Holy Land, in collaboration with the local churches and the Ecumenical Institute of Tantur. Entitled "Journeying together towards the sources of hope", this project, which was postponed to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, offered young people aged 18 to 35 an opportunity to discover in a different way the country where Christ was born.
In addition to times of prayer together, visits to holy places and exchanges with local Christians, the young people of Taizé were also able to benefit from the presence of various Patriarchs and heads of local Churches during their week of pilgrimage. After a meeting with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, they thus participated in a common prayer in the presence of His Beatitude Mgr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, at the Terra Sancta College in Bethlehem. Invited to say a few words, the Patriarch focused on three terms: peace, justice and forgiveness. "Without peace, there can be no justice; without justice, there can be no forgiveness. Therefore, we must make unity between these three elements, keeping in mind that such unity can only be obtained through our Lord Jesus Christ. Without Him, we are not able to overcome our hatreds and resentments."