TAIZÉ, France, DEC. 24, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Top Christian leaders are expressing support for the Taizé Community’s 29th European meeting in messages sent to the young participants.
About 40,000 young people are expected to gather Dec. 28-Jan. 1 for the event in Zagreb, Croatia, the latest stop in the community’s “pilgrimage of trust.”
Benedict XVI sent a message to the community this week in which he said that such gatherings are a sign of hope for humanity.
The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, expressed his joy on seeing that, though “living in the midst of a society sometimes far from the Lord, you seek to head toward the kingdom of Heaven, with the word of God as a guide able to transfigure you.”
The patriarch adds: “Yes, the universal unity of human beings is irrefutable, for our existence bears the mark of God’s creation.
“But, because of the distance between our will and our actions, we must also struggle for our inner being to be renewed by means of the helps which the Lord has granted us and which are conserved in the Church: prayer, the study of the word of God, sacramental life, the conformity of our existence to the Gospel.”
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II invited young people “to look at life as a pilgrimage, undertaken in trust in God,” and to remember “how short the road of earthly life is.”
He added that the “awareness that we are foreigners on the earth in no way implies pessimism or a feeling of despair. We Christians are convinced that our earthly journey does not lead to nothingness, but toward a new and eternal life.”
“The road toward God is not easy and requires sacrifices and hard work. But only such a life is worthy of human beings, those prodigious creatures of God,” added the patriarch of Moscow.
The Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, said in his message that a “pilgrimage of trust … represents one of the most urgent necessities of our time.”
He continued: “Everywhere it seems that suspicion between faith communities and races or nations has grown, encouraged by all those who live in fear or are in love with power.
“In developed societies, there is much cynicism about all authorities and all ideals. We need trust as we need fresh air; and our world is growing breathless and airless with suspicion, doubt and despair.”
Williams wrote his hopes that the meeting in Zagreb “will be an occasion to draw breath — both to find a space in which you may renew your own vision and a time to gather determination for the work ahead of building a true ‘commonwealth’ of human beings.”