With the sound of sirens: Taizé brothers pray with UCU students
With their wartime visit, the Taizé brothers wanted to show their solidarity with all Ukrainians who suffer and to encourage the people who are helping those who were forced to leave their homes. Three brothers came from France to UCU. During the prayer service they explained how they expected to see here people depressed by the war, but instead were impressed by Ukrainians’ courage, endurance, and strength of spirit. The brothers came to Lviv during an air attack, as Russia fired cruise missiles at the city the evening of 3 May.
During the prayers at UCU, Brother Benoit said: “My thoughts were very clear when the sirens started: we didn’t know what would happen. At this moment, I clearly understood that it is not so important what message we wanted to bring to Ukrainians, because you, Ukrainians, are that important message for us. Because you stand strong. We are inspired by your strength and courage. It was incredibly moving to be with you during this war, which none of us expected. From the moment of Russia’s full-scale invasion of the territory of Ukraine, you have been uppermost in our thoughts, and we want to express our friendship and support through this visit,” said Brother Benoit in the University Church of the Holy Wisdom of God.
Fr. Yuriy Kozlovskyi, master of the UCU Collegium, explained that Taizé prayer has long been part of the formational program at the Ukrainian Catholic University. This prayer often inspires and unites students and is popular among youth: “We greatly value the visit of the Taizé brothers to UCU, and their prayerful support is extremely important, particularly now,” said Fr. Yuriy.
The first chords of Taizé prayer at UCU with the brothers from France began during an air alarm. “But no one there panicked. Everyone calmly moved to the lower church, which is also serving as a shelter during the war, and continued prayer in safety and calm,” said Fr. Yuriy Kozlovskyi.
This solidarity, calm, and devotion to prayer in the depths of the soul impressed the brothers.
Taizé prayer was also held in Sokilniki at John Paul II Parish on 5 May at 18:00. And then in a few days the brothers will travel on in their mission of prayerful support.
We thank the brothers from Taizé for their support and solidarity with Ukrainians.
Taizé is an international ecumenical Christian community in the village of Taizé, France. It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger, who remained its head until his death on 16 August 2005. The community organizes annual meetings in various European cities, and thousands of young pilgrims visit the village of Taizé in France.
The Taizé community today has more than 100 brothers, Catholics and those from various Protestant denominations, from some 30 countries. In this way, the existence of the community is “a parable about community,” which strives to be a sign of reconciliation among divided Christians and peoples.
The brothers support themselves. They don’t accept donations. They also don’t accept personal bequests for themselves; the community gives everything to the poorest.
Taizé prayer has its own unique character, creating a new style of church music. Taizé songs are built on short phrases from the Psalms and other books of Holy Scripture, which are repeated a number of times, creating a special prayerful spirit.