The text has a lengthy history, possibly expanding as far earlier as the 4th century, predating the formulation the the framework of the Catholic Mass together we understand it. The message is one antiphon or refrain for a Latin hymn that was traditionally sung during the Eucharist because that the Maundy Thursday foot washing rite in the mass of the critical Supper. The text of the antiphon converts literally together follows: “Where charity and love , God is there.” The plainsong setting of the text in an earlier kind of notation called neumes follows (Mode 6, Liber Usualis, 675):


The antiphon suggests that God is current wherever charity – treatment for rather – and love – devotion come God – is expressed. In this sense, these seven words are a distillation that the great Commandment found in the synoptic gospels. The Pharisees and Herodians, in an attempt to trick Jesus, asked the which the the commandments to be the most important. Jesus responded: “The most important one,” reply Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The lord our God, the lord is one. Love the Lord her God through all your heart and with all your soul and with all her mind and also with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love her neighbor together yourself.’ over there is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31, NIV*). See also Matthew 22:36-40; Luke 10:27. Various other Scriptures that room implied by this text are John 13:34 (NIV*) – “A brand-new command I give you: Love one another. As I have actually loved you, therefore you have to love one another.” – and Matthew 18:20: “For where 2 or 3 gather in mine name, over there am I v them” (NIV*).

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Carl Daw, Jr. Notes that the singing version, cited at the start of this article, transforms the tone of the literal translation: “What was initially a statement of assurance has actually been turned right into an admonition” (Daw, 207).

There is additionally a variation discovered in some early manuscripts: “Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.” (“Where charity is true, God is there.”) The Roman Missal (1975) adopted this version, and also it is additionally sung in some Catholic rites:


Three stanzas have actually been maintained from the initial Latin plainsong that space sung between each repeat of the antiphon. A YouTube rendition that the plainsong chant through the three stanzas in neumes is easily accessible at The initial publication the the Taizé Community setup includes this in Latin, however as choral stanzas to it is in sung simultaneously while the ostinato antiphon is sung by the congregation. A direct translation from the three Latin stanzas in existing use provides a context because that the antiphon:

Christ\"s love has gathered us right into one.Let us rejoice and also be pleased in Him.Let united state fear, and let us love the life God.And may we love each various other with a thank you very much heart.

As we space gathered into one body,Beware, lest us be separated in mind.Let angry impulses stop, let debate cease,And might Christ our God be in ours midst.

And may we v the saints also,See Thy challenge in glory, O Christ our God:The joy that is immense and also good,Unto the eras through unlimited ages. Amen.

This is a prayer because that Christian unity. Keep in mind the variety of petitions start with “Let us . . .”, “Let . . .”, and “May we . . .”

The version discovered in The faith We Sing (Singer’s Edition) includes quick phrases because that a cantor to sing over the ostinato chant together it is sung by the community. These phrases are a palliation of several of the principles in the 3 stanzas uncovered in the initial version. The antiphon and the miscellaneous cantorial insertions show that this is a prayer the acknowledges God’s existence in the middle of the Christian community.

A native on Taizé performance practice: for those who are not accustomed to making use of the ostinato antiphon, that is tempting come think of the performance of these as repetitive, singing the antiphon a specific number of times. Actually, in performance, rather than repetition, it might be useful to think the the musical framework as theme and variation. While the antiphon may be repeated, the layering on of various instrumental obbligatos and also short cantorial descants over succeeding presentations that the theme adds coherent variations. Furthermore, in the Taizé Community, the accompanying tool is a little keyboard with a classic guitar sound. Quite than play block chords at the body organ or piano, the keyboard provides an arpeggiated accompaniment that provides the singing a gentle sense of movement and helps maintain tempo. Revolution piano or organ accompaniments that play the vocal parts are much more enervating rather than energizing. The is necessary that the ostinato antiphon maintain a steady pulse native one reiteration come the next so as not to disturb the underlying meditative the atmosphere of the prayer. If the singer is aware of tempo changes, that is daunting to usage the track as a foundation for a mantra of sung meditation. The following YouTube site, while not incorporating the cantorial parts, offers a sense of the theme and also variation technique with different instruments (flute adhered to by oboe) and also the arpeggiated accompaniment v a standard guitar approach.


It is no wonder that the message of this chant ended up being one the the earliest and also most popular of prayer songs supplied by the Taizé Community, appearing in a 1978 publishing in France, Canons, Litanies, et Réspons de Taizé 3: Chantier L’Espirit. It very first appeared in the United says in Music indigenous Taizé: Volume 1 (Chicago, 1981). The Taizé ar is a parable of Christian charity, coming to be a place of hospitality and also pilgrimage for young people from around the world. In July 1940, i get it Louis Schutz-Marsauche (1915-2005), a Reformed minister, arrived in the tiny community of Taizé in the southeastern component of France. In response to the conditions of lived in France, he cast his lot through the poor and also disadvantaged.

Brother Roger, as he came to be known, had a dream come live in neighborhood with others who would practice the important dimensions of the gospel in a manner that would sell a solution of Christian reconciliation and hope in the face of the horrors the the war. He uncovered a location for together a ar in the village of Taizé, simply north the Cluny, a website of one of the good medieval monastic legacies of the church 1,000 year earlier.

After 1960, young civilization sought the end Taizé together a pilgrimage destination in the years following world War II. The brothers to be surprised that these young pilgrims, usually between 18 and also 30, would look for out such a diverted location. Your numbers enhanced to thousands in the summers and Holy Week. In the manner of a monastic community, brothers and also pilgrims alike gathered to pray three times a day.

Brother Jean-Marie, a current member the the community and also one that the main cantors for day-to-day prayer, listed that the larger groups brought liturgical changes:

Changes in the liturgy were now necessary. If the young human being were to pray through us and also not simply watch or hear to us pray, we would have to adapt and simplify part things. And things were changing. For numerous people, the really language of confidence was ending up being harder to grasp. Times were changing. People were no longer coming to church to receive a to teach or to execute their devotions or come fulfill spiritual and society obligations, as they had done because that centuries. If they were coming, it was for different and more personal reasons: to discover rest and also refreshment, to live their stays with an ext meaning, or simply to preserve a link with God or else v the church they had actually grown up with. That was likewise becoming harder for people to listen and also retain what they heard. Modern life was noisier and much more stressful (Brother Jean-Marie that Taizé, 45).

In 1974, the physician Brother Robert (1923-1993), among the initial seven brothers and also the first musician, shared his ideas about engaging young people from approximately the human being in sung prayer along with brief texts, mainly selected native Scripture, with Jacques Berthier (1923-1994), a composer and also friend the Taizé, who came to be instrumental in offering music for the three day-to-day prayers. Dr. Berthier was organist the Saint-Ignace Church in Paris. He kept a close connection with the community, help them devise song that could be conveniently sung through the young human being coming from around the world. This easily accessible music includes a range of develops – chorales, ostinatos (short, repetitive refrains), acclamations, responses and also canons – that worshipers v radically diverse liturgical and also linguistic backgrounds space able to participate in immediately.Even after brother Roger\"s disastrous murder throughout a prayer organization in respectable 2005, the occupational of this ecumenical neighborhood has continued with roughly 100 brothers that come from approximately the globe. The overarching theme of Taizé is reconciliation with prayer. The brothers provide hospitality for countless pilgrims each year and likewise serve in few of the poorest and also most helpless instances in the world.Taizé songs room sung in numerous languages, including Latin, during the prayers. Latin is common since it is a historic language that the church and, since few speak the currently, places everyone on a usual footing, unifying the singers in the an enig of prayer.

A 2nd Taizé setup of this text was created in 1991 by father Joseph Gelineau (1920-2008) who had a lengthy association with the community, going back to its founding. This setup has no supplanted the earlier composition by Jacques Berthier in the mind of numerous who exercise Taizé prayer, however was a welcome addition to the community’s arsenal where the song has actually been sung at least weekly for countless years. The following YouTube recording displays both a tenderness arpeggiated etc accompaniment, usage of obbligato instruments, and also cantorial descants in a range of languages:

Obviously, this text has actually inspired composers that choral music. Two of the most beautiful settings of the antiphon and also the original Latin stanzas space the compositions of French composer Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) ( and Norwegian composer Ola Gjello (b. 1978) ( an ext information on the Taizé Community, visit

Further Reading

Bob Batastini. “Taizé.” The Canterbury dictionary of Hymnology. Canterbury Press, accessed April 4, 2019,é.

Carl Daw, Jr. Glory come God: A Companion (Louisville: Westminister john Knox Press, 2016).

Jean-Marie of Taizé, “Jubilate Deo Award: structure a bridge of Reconciliation,” Pastoral Music 31:1 (October-November 2006), 45.

Interview through Jean-Marie the Taizé; center for Congregational Song, The Hymn culture in the joined States and Canada:

J.L. Gonzales Balado, The Story the Taizé (London: Mowbray, 1980; 3rd Revised Edition, Continuum, 2003).

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J. Richard Watson, “Jacques Berthier.” The Canterbury dictionary of Hymnology. Canterbury Press, accessed April 4, 2019,