Pope Benedict XVI and other world leaders have reacted with shock to Tuesday's fatal stabbing of Brother Roger, the founder of the French-based Taize religious movement.

Pope Benedict lamented what he called the "sad" and "terrible" news during his weekly general audience on Wednesday.

French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and several religious leaders also expressed sadness.

Ninety-year-old Brother Roger died almost immediately after a suspect described as a Romanian woman stabbed him with a knife during a Tuesday prayer service in the eastern French village of Taize.

Worshippers overpowered the woman, who some reports described as mentally disturbed, and turned her over to police.

Brother Roger, originally Roger Schutz, was a Protestant minister from Switzerland when he founded the Taize community in 1940. The community developed over the years into an ecumenical organization looking to unite various Christian denominations.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.