For those who do not know, Brother Roger was the head of a distinctive monastic community in France, known as Taize. Taize is an ecumenical community made up of Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Reformed members. The community is probably best known for its style of worship which involves the many-fold repetition of short musical pieces that are most commonly verses of Scripture. The community gathers a wide variety of people from all over the world.
As the article states, Brother Roger was murdered in the middle of an evening worship service.
We continue to pray: Eternal rest, grant him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.
Grace and Peace,
At His Funeral, Brother Roger Has an Ecumenical Dream Fulfilled
TAIZÉ, France, Aug. 23 - Brother Roger Schutz pursued many ecumenical dreams in his long life, but in death one of them came true: At a Eucharistic service celebrated Tuesday by a Roman Catholic cardinal for Brother Roger, a Swiss Protestant, communion wafers were given to the faithful indiscriminately, regardless of denomination.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Vatican's council for the unity of Christians, who celebrated the Mass, said in a homily, "Yes, the springtime of ecumenism has flowered on the hill of Taizé." Beyond religious divisions, Brother Roger also abhorred the division between rich and poor. "Every form of injustice or neglect made him very sad," Cardinal Kasper said.
Brother Roger's community and friends, including President Horst Köhler of Germany and the retired archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Lustiger, attended the liturgy in the vast wooden monastery church at Taizé, while thousands more followed it on a huge screen in fields outside the church.
Brother Roger was 90 when he was stabbed to death by a Romanian woman, Luminita Solcan, 36, during an evening service in the church one week ago. His successor, the Rev. Alois Leser, a Roman Catholic priest from Germany, prayed for forgiveness: "With Christ on the cross we say to you, Father, forgive her, she does not know what she did."
The gathering here in the hills of eastern France under leaden, showery skies reflected the spirit, and also the popularity, of Brother Roger, the son of a Swiss Calvinist pastor, who first gathered followers here in 1940. The monastic community here encompasses about 90 members from 20 or so countries and virtually every Christian denomination. Four Roman Catholic priests from among the members celebrated the funeral Mass with Cardinal Kasper.
Brother Roger's simple wooden coffin, a wooden icon lying upon it, was carried into the church by brothers. It was followed by a group of Romanian children who had been visiting the community when Brother Roger was killed.
Brother Roger founded Taizé as a monastic order only a 10-minute drive from Cluny, the site of Europe's largest and best-known monastic abbey before its destruction during the French Revolution. In the 1970's, Taizé developed into a pilgrimage site where people from different countries and faiths gathered annually at Easter. Many returned, in sadness, on Tuesday. Holding candles, they followed his coffin in procession to the Taizé cemetery.
Petra Simmert, a schoolteacher from southern Germany, came with her husband and two children. She is Protestant, he Catholic; one child is Catholic, the other Protestant. "We're an ecumenical family," she said, with a laugh. Watching the funeral of Pope John Paul II on television, they saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, give communion to Brother Roger, even though he was not Catholic. "That struck us," she said.