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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Faithful flock to Taize funeral
Brothers carry the coffin of Brother Roger
Brother Roger was originally a Protestant theologian
About 10,000 people have attended the funeral of Brother Roger, the founder of the religious community of Taize in eastern France.

German President Horst Koehler, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and clergy from around the world attended.

The 90-year-old Swiss-born theologian was stabbed to death by a Romanian woman while celebrating mass last week.

He founded the community during World War II as a refuge to people of all Christian denominations.

Taize, in the Burgundy region of France, later became an international pilgrimage site for young people who go there to pray and meditate.

It draws some 100,000 people each year.

A giant video screen was set up outside the community's church in Taize, where the funeral was taking place, for the thousands who could not get in.

Mourners pray during Brother Roger's funeral
Brother Roger sheltered Jews during France's Nazi occupation
The service was jointly led by Walter Kasper, the Vatican's top official in charge of uniting Christian churches, and Brother Roger's designated successor, Brother Alois Leser, a German-born Catholic.

"Merciful God, we ask you to forgive Luminita Solcan who, in an act of illness, took the life of our Brother Roger," Brother Alois said.

Brother Roger was to be buried in the community's cemetery right after the ceremony.


The charismatic leader's violent death came as a shock to the community.

Thirty-six-year-old Ms Solcan is said to have stabbed him once in the back before slitting his throat in front of 2,500 people who had gathered for prayers in the community's church.

Her doctor later told the media she was affected by schizophrenia.

She is currently in police custody in France, while her mental fitness to stand trial is assessed.

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