Murdered religious leader laid to rest

22nd August 2005, Comments 0 comments

TAIZE, France, Aug 23 (AFP) - Some 10,000 people, among them senior European clergy and politicians, attended the funeral Tuesday of Brother Roger Schutz, the leader of the Taizé ecumenical community who was slain by a deranged Romanian woman last week.

TAIZE, France, Aug 23 (AFP) - Some 10,000 people, among them senior European clergy and politicians, attended the funeral Tuesday of Brother Roger Schutz, the leader of the Taizé ecumenical community who was slain by a deranged Romanian woman last week.

A Vatican cardinal in charge of uniting Christian churches, Walter Kasper, led the mass in the community's Reconciliation church in the town of Taizé, in France's eastern Burgundy region, where Schutz, 90, was killed last Tuesday.

Dignitaries attending included German President Horst Koehler, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, senior clergy from France, Bolivia, Hungary, India, Poland and the United States, and representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Canterbury Diocese of the Church of England, according to community spokesman Brother Emile.

The wooden coffin was brought in by five other Taizé brothers, followed by Schutz's nominated successor, Brother Alois Leser, a German Catholic, who walked with a group of children.

With the church filled to capacity, thousands of those who had come to pay respects had to follow the proceedings on a giant video screen set up outside.

Schutz, a Swiss-born Protestant theologian, started the Taizé movement in 1940 to provide a refuge for those fleeing the turmoil of World War II.

Originally a monastic order focused on meditation and prayer, Taizé developed into an international pilgrimage site for prayer and reflection whose goal was to reconcile Christian denominations.

The popular religious leader was killed by a 36-year-old Romanian woman as he led prayers in front of 2,500 people in the Taizé church. The woman, Luminita Solcan, stabbed Schutz once from behind then, according to witnesses and police, slit his throat.

His death shocked the community and elicited messages of grief from around the world. Pope Benedict XVI called it "a very sad piece of news".

Solcan's doctor in Romania said she suffered from schizophrenic problems and was off prescribed medication at the time of the attack. She is being held by French police pending a criminal investigation against her and a decision on whether she is mentally fit to be prosecuted.

Those attending Tuesday's funeral hailed from around the world. Ninety of the community's 100 brothers were present, with the others remaining with their outposts they have set up in Brazil, Senegal, Bangladesh and South Korea.

Schutz was to be buried after the service in a simple ceremony in the community's cemetery, where his mother and other Taizé brothers are interred.
Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, murder, crime, Brother Roger, funeral, Taizé

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