The Cathedral is illuminated by candlelight. Time for God – Time for oneself – Time for one another. The room is filled with the first few beautiful notes emanating from the piano. The voices and other instruments become fused in celebration and praise of God. The Taizé Evenings are a moving service of worship. Every month sees hundreds of people celebrate on one occasion at Berlin Cathedral.
Taizé originally comes from France. In the small village bearing the same name, situated 10 km north of Cluny lives the Taizé community, an international ecumenical men's order. The community is known above all for its ecumenical youth meetings, which are attended by thousands of visitors every year of many different nationalities and denominations, as they make their pilgrimage there.
The Taizé services held at Berlin Cathedral are strongly aligned with the rules set out by the monastic brothers, but have over the course of time developed their own profile. Unlike in France, participants do not sit on the floor, but rather on rows of pews. During the service members of the congregation can light candles so that, at the end of the service, the entire Cathedral interior is illuminated by hundreds of little lights. Prayers are almost always sung during Taizé services. Choirmaster Peter Michael Seifried supports the singers with his piano playing, accompanied by musicians playing the violin, clarinet, bass and flute. For all those who wish to continue engaging with these songs beyond the monthly service, Seifried offers the ‘laudate omnes gentes’ singing workshop that takes place every Monday before the service of worship.
The first Taizé service to be held at Berlin Cathedral was celebrated by former Cathedral Dean Friedrich-Wilhelm Hünerbein in the summer of 2000. Initially, 150 people arrived, mostly made up of tourists. Berlin Cathedral has since become a centre for Taizé in Germany, attracting many hundreds of visitors every year.