Taizé ecumenical community founder Frère Roger assassinated

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Brother Roger of Taizé, 2003

90 year old Frère Roger, who founded the international ecumenical community of Taizé, was killed today after a knife attack during evening prayers at the community's church.

According to media coverage, a mentally disturbed woman, supposedly a 36 year old from Romania, is responsible for the attack.

Members of the community have said that at the evening prayer, during the first song, the woman joined the kids who sit with Frère Roger at these services. Then, at about 20:45 CET, she stabbed him with a knife or similar weapon, sources say. The founder of Taizé, who was sitting in a wheelchair, was carried out of the service still bleeding.

One of the brothers of Taizé, a medical doctor, together with another doctor who was present at the evening service, tried to save the life of Taizé's founder, but didn't succeed and Frère Roger died just minutes after the knife attack.

The community have reacted to the shocking events in their own way. While sisters tended to the guests who had been direct eye witnesses, young people took the seats the brothers had left. While a part of the church was blocked off, the evening prayer continued with the Taizé liturgy.