Saint Paul Services: Style and Structure
Every Taizé service is slightly different. Part of what makes this worship so popular is its versatility—some are more contemporary and some feature more traditional elements. Most services are not centered around a cross, but around icons and candles. At Saint Paul, we bring together both traditional and contemporary elements. For example, we do hold the service by candlelight, but the setting of Saint Paul provides us with a classic, cathedral-esque environment. We display both a wooden cross and icons (which differ depending on the season), and offer the opportunity for participants to come forward and sit at the front of the nave on pillows and rugs, or remain in pews.
The music used at Saint Paul comes strictly from the Taizé community itself. Authorized by GIA publishers to do so, we have intentionally framed each service around music that is still used in the community in France, most of which was composed by Jacques Berthier.
Prayers and cantor parts (with some exception) come from original creative sources. Readings are taken from the New International Version of the Bible when possible, though a tradition of reading each in multiple languages has meant we have included other translations as well.
The structure of each service is static, month to month. We begin with a simple, chant-like song (often sung in canon), followed by an opening prayer. We then continue with a prayer of forgiveness, a Kyrie, readings, songs of reflection, an alleluia, a closing prayer, and a closing song. The intention is to bring all elements together to coincide with the liturgical season, and whatever needs are apparent in the community. You will find the songs intentionally tie into the messages apparent in prayers and readings.
Silence is as much a part of the services as are the songs, readings, and prayers. With a strong emphasis on peace and quiet, Saint Paul Taizé services provide ample time for quiet reflection after each element of the service.
While we would like to include sample recordings of services online, we are prohibited from doing so according to the music license we currently hold through GIA. Please see the "Sample Programs" section for examples of previous services.