Celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the Taizé community over the weekend were tinged with sadness as the community marked five years since the murder of its founding father Brother Roger.
Brother Roger founded the community in the small French village on August 20, 1940, against the backdrop of World War II and a divided Europe. He was murdered by a mentally ill woman during evening prayer on August 16, 2005.
Around 5,000 young Christians belonging to the Taizé community gathered on Saturday at a meadow outside the village to mark the double anniversary.
Several young people read from the Bible in their different mother tongues before the community observed a few moments of silence to remember Brother Roger.
The brothers, dressed in their traditional white robes, led the young people in a simple pilgrimage through the village, passing the small Romanesque church where Brother Roger is buried.
The pilgrimage ended at the Church of Reconciliation, where they joined in quiet prayer and lit thousands of tapers to symbolise the hope of the resurrection.
Taizé leader, Brother Alois, paid tribute to Brother Roger, saying that he had always sought to live trusting God and expressing his infinite kindness to all people.
Turning to the God of love and being close to the poorest were inseparable for him. To relieve suffering, to welcome, to welcome young people in particular, to listen so as to understand all of others, he said.
He loved the church that gathers believers in one communion beyond all boundaries - political, social or cultural.
It was for him the sign of hope of a reconciled humanity.