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An Anglican Takes the Helm of the Ecumenical Community of Taizé

Covadonga Asturias

(ZENIT News / Taize, 07.24.2023).- In an exciting shift of direction, the Monastic Community of Taizé in France is gearing up for new leadership. Since the passing of Brother Roger in August 2005, Brother Aloïs (Alois Loeser) has been at the helm of this ecumenical community. However, after 18 years as the head, he has decided to hand over the reins and allow another brother to assume the responsibility of guiding the community. The chosen one is Brother Matthew (Andrew Thorpe), a British Anglican, born on May 10, 1965, in Pudsey, United Kingdom, who became a monk of Taizé at the tender age of 21.

Brother Aloïs personally made the announcement through an official note from the community, expressing a profound sense of responsibility in this transition process: “Eighteen years after succeeding Brother Roger, at a time when the world and the Church have undergone such profound changes in the last two decades, I felt it was time to pass on my position to a brother who joined our community after me.”

On December 3, 2023, the first Sunday of Advent, the leadership transfer will take place. Although there is no fixed rule governing changes in the direction of the community or a predetermined term for the prior’s mandate, this significant handover marks a moment of great importance for Taizé. The community will shift from having a Catholic prior to one of Anglican faith, adhering to the rule that demands “the prior appoint a brother to ensure continuity after him.”

In his statement, Brother Aloïs revealed that he had been reflecting on this step for several years and, for the past two years, had felt “the need to consult all the brothers before deciding who would be the new prior.” This choice, he emphasized, is the result of deep reflection and prayer, leading to the decision to appoint Brother Matthew as his successor. This smooth transition of leadership has been carefully prepared, without the need to face an emergency situation, and it represents a renewed invitation for the ecumenical community of Taizé to continue being, according to the vision of its founder, a “small parable of communion.”

The future of Taizé is filled with hope and anticipation as the community prepares to welcome its new prior, Brother Matthew, whose Anglican faith will bring a fresh perspective and further enrich the ecumenical diversity that characterizes this place of encounter and spirituality.

Brother Aloïs leaves behind a significant legacy after his time as the leader of Taizé, and he now trusts that his brother in faith, Brother Matthew, will carry out the work with wisdom and love on this eternal journey of communion and brotherhood. As a community, they eagerly await the new chapter that will unfold on the day of the handover, a chapter that will undoubtedly be written with letters of unity and hope in the heart of Taizé’s ecumenical community.