Taizé Geneva gathering attracts 40,000

The 30th European meeting of the ecumenical Taizé Community held in Geneva ended on Tuesday after five days' spiritual prayer and meditation.

This content was published on January 2, 2008 - 11:30

The annual pilgrimage organised by the French religious community and Swiss churches attracted some 40,000 young people from 50 different countries.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, addressed the young people taking part in the gathering.

Every evening from December 28 until New Year's Eve, the head of the community, Brother Alois, held a meditation session at the Geneva Palexpo exhibition centre. Prayers were translated into 20 different languages and a number were broadcast by Swiss and European television stations.

The largest number of pilgrims came from Poland (9,100), followed by France (2,800), Romania (2,200), Italy (2,100) and Croatia (2,078). Some 10,000 Swiss also attended.

The next annual Taizé meeting will take place in Brussels, Belgium from December 29, 2008 to January 2, 2009.

The Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian men's monastic order which unites the Catholic and Protestant denominations. It was founded by Roger Schutz who left Switzerland in 1940 to live in the village of Taizé in Burgundy, France.

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