Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Cardinals and Archbishops

La Tuilerie Website

During the Sunday morning service at Taizé, all the visiting clergy sit at the front left of the Church of Reconciliation dressed in special white cassocks and they wear a cleric’s stole. A Cardinal wearing a calotteAt this time of year the stole is green which it is for most of the year. All the clergy wear the same outfits except for their head gear. Orthodox priests wear their traditional hats, not dissimilar to a mitre and Catholic Cardinals wear their red calotte (small cap). This morning in Taizé there were two cardinals which for some reason I always find rather exciting even though I am not a catholic myself.

If there is a Cardinal present he will normally be the one to open the service and to officiate at the blessing of the bread and wine. All the clergy at the front take part in the blessing process by standing with their hands outstretched but there are usually three clergy at the altar who do all the talking. Today the two Cardinals and Brother Alois were at the altar. The Cardinal who conducted most of the service was a Spanish guy with a very long bushy beard. When the second Cardinal (who was out of my view) took over, I heard a familiar voice. To my amazement it was Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. There is something very special about hearing an English voice officiate at a Taizé service, it happens so infrequently. Somehow I have managed to be at a service where Cardinal Murphy O’Connor has officiated for three years in a row now. I don’t go to a service anything like once a week so it is a really special coincidence as his visits are never made public in advance. Cardinal Murphy O'Connor and The Archbishop of Canterbury However, the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury has been announced, he is coming to Taizé from the 6th to the 9th of August. As the head of the Anglican church his visit is considered to be very prestigious to the Communauté. I have never heard him in a service so I will definitely be there on Sunday the 9th and hopefully he will conduct the service. As an Anglican, that will be for me a very special moment indeed.

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