Youth flood Rotterdam for annual Taize gathering

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About 30,000 young people have flooded into the Dutch city of Rotterdam for the opening of the 33rd annual gathering of the Taize non-denominational Christian community, organisers said Tuesday.

"The key words for this gathering are joy, compassion and forgiveness," which will be the focus of five days of prayers and talks during the gathering, a spokesman for the community, Brother Emile, told AFP.

About 10,000 Dutch youth and 20,000 young people from Poland, France, Russia and other countries are taking part in the celebration.

The community, based in the eastern French village of Taize, was created in 1940 by 25-year-old Brother Roger, from Switzerland.

He sheltered Jewish refugees during World War II, and following the conflict looked after orphans, as well as caring for German prisoners of war.

Brother Roger was stabbed to death by a mentally disturbed woman in 2005.

The group draws tens of thousands of young people for prayer workshops held across the year at its base, and similar numbers at its annual gathering in a European city, traditionally held between Christmas and New Year.

© 2010 AFP

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