2005: Founder of Taizé Community Murdered by Knife during Prayer

2005: Founder of Taizé Community Murdered by Knife during Prayer
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Brother Roger with Catholic and Protestant clergy, leaving an ecumenical service in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, c. 1975

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 16 August 2005
  • His murderer was the 36-year-old Romanian woman Luminita Solcan, who had arrived to Taizé two days before and bought the knife in the town of Cluny a day before the murder. The funeral of Brother Roger was led by a Catholic cardinal, in the presence of French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the German president.

Taizé is an international ecumenical monastic society, popular among Christians of various denominations, including Catholics.

Taizé promotes the unification of Christians and is particularly focused on young people, for whom it organizes meetings and pilgrimages.

The name Taizé comes from a town in the French province of Burgundy, where the community was founded.

That town is located only around 10 km from the famous Cluny Monastery, one of the greatest medieval Catholic monastic centers. Taizé is supported by the pope and the Catholic Church.

The founder and first leader of Taizé was the famous Christian ecumenist known as Brother Roger (given name: Frère Roger).

He was born in Switzerland in 1915 under the name Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche and was originally of Protestant faith.

During his life, he became closer to the Catholic Church, and devoted his life to reconciling the various Christian churches.

He was a friend of Blessed Mother Theresa, and co-authored a number of books with her. He received communion from the previous and current popes.

He won the UNESCO Prize fro Peace Education and  the well-known Templeton Prize (something equivalent to a Nobel Prize for spirituality).

On this day, during his evening prayers in Taizé, Brother Roger was approached by a 36-year-old Romanian woman Luminita Solcan, who stabbed him with a knife to the back and throat multiple times.

The attacker was overpowered and handed to the police, but Brother Roger died soon after.

The exact motive for the attack is still unclear. It is thought that Luminita was mentally unstable, i. e. that she suffered from schizophrenia.

She had arrived to Taizé two days before and bought the knife in the town of Cluny a day before the murder.

After the murder she was taken to a French psychiatric hospital, and later transferred to Romania.

The funeral of Brother Roger was led by Catholic Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in the presence of French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the German president.

Brother Alois, Rogers successor, prayed: “Father, forgive her, for she does not know what she has done.” He later went to Romania to visit Luminitia’s mother and offered her his condolences for her daughter’s illness.

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