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Taize: youth to bring message of peace and reconciliation

Riga in Latvia hosts the 39th European gathering of young people organised by the Taizé Community later this month ...

The 39th European Meeting of young people, organised by the Taizé Community, will take place at the end of December in Riga, at the invitation of the Latvian churches, and with the support of the civil authorities.

For five days, the participants will be received by the Christian communities of the region, welcomed at home by the citizens of Riga.

In the difficult context Europe is passing through, the young participants will carry a message of peace and reconciliation. Some highlights can already be mentioned:

Youth – The participants, aged 18 to 35, will spend the end of the year in a different way, in prayer, meeting, sharing and solidarity.

Europe – In the light of current tensions, the presence of many young people from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia will take on particular importance. It's the first time that the European meeting will be hosted in a Baltic country and in a country that had been part of the former Soviet Union.

Hospitality – Thanks to the hospitality of the entire region, most of the pilgrims will be housed in private homes. More than 100 Church communities will receive the young participants.

Faith – Supported by the example of witnesses from Latvia, the young pilgrims will be invited to go together to the sources of the faith. Brother Alois, Prior of the community, will publish four proposals for 2017, “Together opening paths of hope”, inspired by the recent meeting of Taizé in Cotonou.

Unity – Four Church leaders have signed the letter of invitation addressed to Taizé: the Lutheran Archbishop, the Catholic Archbishop, the Orthodox Metropolitan, and the Bishop of the Union of Latvian Baptist Churches. Before the meeting, messages of friendship will be sent by Pope Francis, the Eastern patriarchs, Anglican, Lutheran and Reformed Church leaders.

Workshops – During the meeting, workshops open to all will develop dozens of different themes, including solidarity, art and culture, history. Guest speakers involved in civil society will participate in these meetings.

Taizé is an ecumenical and international community located in France, made up of 100 brothers and welcoming tens of thousands of young Christians each year. Recently, the Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis spoke about the upcoming European meeting:

“More than 10,000 young people from all over Europe and other continents are already preparing their journey to Latvia. At the end of the year the European meeting of young adults will take place in Riga. Let us be ready to open the doors of our homes and also our hearts to these pilgrims!”

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