Next month Brother Roger Schutz, founder of the Taize Community will be presented with the £34,000 Templeton award for progress in religion by the Duke of Edinburgh.
The annual award was started 'Last year by Mr John 'Templeton. an American businessman, to be the equivalent of a Nobel prize in religion and was first won by Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Nominations were received this year from all the major world religions including Buddhism and Islam, who had representatives on the eight-strong panel of judges.
Catholicism was represented by Dr Margaretha Klompe, the first woman to become a Dutch Cabinet minister and well known for her campaigns for social justice.
Brother Roger, a member of the Swiss Protestant Church Federation, was chosen for the award because of his worldwide work among young people and his efforts for "renewal and reconciliation" among Christians.
He is best -known as the founder of the Taize ecumenical community in Burgundy to which thousands of young people from all over Europe come for the Council of Youth every year.
Brother Schutz had a distinguished academic career in Lausanne and Strasbourg before being expelled from France by the Nazis in 1942. He came to Taize at the age of 29 in 1944 to set up a community to help reconciliation among men after the war. He has published a number of books including "The Rule of Taize" and "Unanimity in Pluralism."
The Tai76 community includes farmers, doctors, musicians and people from all walks of life, some of whom later choose to go and live in slums or ghettos in different parts of the world, demonstrating a 'presence of reconciliation."
Brother Schutz makes frequent trips to Rome where he has met. the Pope and he has met Cardinal Heenan and other religious leaders on his visits to Britain. He will be presented with the award in Windsor Castle on April 10 and will give a lecture in the Guildhall, London, later that day.
Mr. Templeton instituted the award to call attention to "ideas, insights and actions which have been or may be instrumental in widening or deepening man's spiritual knowledge and love of God."