The fatal stabbing of one of the world’s most revered Christian leaders in his church provoked shock and revulsion yesterday.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Benedict and heads of state led tributes to 90-year-old Brother Roger, a Swiss-born Protestant pastor and the head of the Taizé community.
Investigators said the self-confessed killer, a 36-year-old Romanian woman identified only as Luminita, claimed to have attacked Brother Roger after failing to attract his attention. Details of the death of a man who dedicated his life to the causes of peace and ecumenism caused widespread disgust.
Brother Roger was stabbed three times in the throat and back during a service in the Reconciliation Church at Taizé in eastern France on Tuesday evening.
Most worshippers were unaware of the incident until blood was seen pouring from the seated pastor’s wounds. His assailant was overpowered as a doctor from the congregation tried in vain to save his life. A colleague, Brother François, explained what had happened to the 2,500 people inside the church and asked them to pray for the victim’s soul.