Religion: Calvinists in Cowls

In the little French hilltop monastery of Taize, a retreat was in progress last week. At 3:30 a.m. the cowled, white-robed brothers filed into the dwarfish Romanesque church. Their young voices softly droned the singsong of the night office. But they chanted in French instead of Latin, and a plain, white Communion table stood before the altar. For these monks were not Catholics but Calvinists.

Taize is the first Protestant monastic community in France. The average age of its ten resident members is 27—four of them are ordained Calvinist ministers, two are farmers, the...

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