chants et prières contemplatives
Saint Esprit holds a contemplative prayer service every Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m., with songs and liturgy from the Taizé ecumenical community in France. This service has been held continuously since the 1970s, when a small group of Taizé brothers lived in New York City, and has been held at Saint Esprit since 2003.
Each service lasts approximately forty-five minutes. Icons and candlelight create a welcoming and contemplative atmosphere. Quiet singing and bible readings set the stage for a time of silent meditation. All are welcome, and no questions are asked.
Taizé prayers are also held on Sunday mornings at Saint Esprit four times a year, and Taizé brothers visit Saint Esprit when they pass through New York. Saint Esprit is also the home of a traveling icon from Taizé. This reproduction of a sixth-century Egyptian icon of Saint Menas is commonly known as the icon of "Jesus and his friend." The original is at the Louvre museum in Paris, and a copy is used in prayer at the Church of Reconciliation in Taizé.
Our icon was given to Saint Esprit in 2008 by Brother Alois, the prior of Taizé, during a retreat weekend in Montreal. It was offered as a sign of friendship to the people of the United States, and serves as a tangible link between the hundreds of church groups of many denominations across the country that offer Taizé prayers to their local communities.
While this icon always returns to Saint Esprit, it travels across the country to different churches for use in prayers and retreats. There are identical icons which travel in many other countries, including Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and in Asia and Latin America.
If you would like to host the icon of friendship as part of a Taizé ecumenical service at your church, please contact us.
Taizé is a village in the Burgundy region of France, where Christians from different traditions have gathered since the 1940s to share a life of simple prayer and contemplation. The small community of monks who live in Taizé year-round offers hospitality to visitors, and the village has become a frequent destination for pilgrims, especially young people, who stay in Taizé for short retreats.
For more information on the Taizé community, Taizé liturgy and other churches in the United States which offer Taizé-style prayer services, click here.