News

News

Montreal, April 21, 2018 – The Montreal Bahá’í Community elected its 96th Administrative Body (the first Local Administrative Body was formed in 1922) at its newly renovated Centre on 177 avenue des Pins Est.

The annually elect members of local and national administrative bodies, called Spiritual Assemblies are elected, as all Bahá’í elections occur, through secret ballot and plurality vote, without candidacies, nominations or campaigning. Bahá’u’lláh taught that in an age of universal education, there was no longer a need for a special class of clergy. Instead, he provided a framework for administering the affairs of the Faith through a system of elected councils at the local, national and international levels.

The election in Montreal followed by the Festival of Ridván celebration which commemorates the anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh’s declaration in 1863 that He was the Promised One of all earlier religions. Bahá’u’lláh spent 12 days in a garden in Baghdad visiting with His followers. He named the garden Ridván, which means “Paradise” or “good pleasure” in Arabic.

At this historical event, the Festival of Ridván, Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed and made three announcements: First, He forbade His followers to fight to advance or defend the Faith (religious war had been permitted under past religions); second, He declared there would not be another prophet for at least next 1,000 years; and third, He proclaimed that all the names of God were inherent in all things at that moment.

Bahá’ís suspend work on the holiest days of Ridván—the first, ninth and 12th. These mark the day of Bahá’u’lláh’s arrival in the garden, the arrival of His family and the group’s departure for Constantinople.

The Most Great Festival is, indeed, the King of Festivals. “Call ye to mind, O people, the bounty which God hath conferred upon you. Ye were sunk in slumber, and lo! He aroused you by the reviving breezes of His Revelation, and made known unto you His manifest and undeviating Path.” — Bahá’u’lláh

Throughout Ridván, Bahá’ís gather for devotions and attend social gatherings. In Montreal, the Bahá’ís in various boroughs of the city celebrate the events with their neighbours, youth groups and children.

This year, the Bahá’ís of the world also elect the 12st Universal House of Justice, their World Administrative Body. The supreme governing council of the Bahá’í Faith is entrusted by Bahá’u’lláh in His own writings with exerting a positive influence on the welfare of humankind, promoting education, peace and global prosperity, and safeguarding human honour and the position of religion. It is responsible for applying the Bahá’í teachings to the requirements of an ever-evolving society and legislating on matters not explicitly covered in the Faith's sacred texts.

Montreal, April 9, 2018 – The auditorium in Vanier College was filled to capacity with students, faculty members and some members of the Bahá’í community to listen to Wahied Wahdat-Hagh  a Past President of the International Human Rights League. He spoke on the topic of Religious Discrimination in Iran, from Antisemitism over Anti-Bahaism to the Persecution of New Christians.

His presentation covered a comprehensive background on the rise of Islam and its various schools of thoughts throughout the Middle East. The rise of Hojjatieh Society, which also figured prominently in guiding the thinking of the lay leadership of the 1979 revolution in Iran, was founded as a specifically anti-Bahá’í organization. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh continued his analysis saying: “The Bahá’í Faith was initially seen as a reform movement when it emerged in 1844 in Iran — and its progressive ideals (such as equal rights for women) remain at the center of Iran’s struggle with the modern world. Early opposition to the Bahá’í Faith in Iran was so intense that more than 20,000 followers were killed in the mid-1800s. Since then, Bahá’ís have been used as scapegoats by all sides of the political spectrum in Iran whenever there was a need to divert attention from policy failures in other areas. Such points go far in helping to answer the question: why are Iranian Bahá’ís persecuted so vehemently by the government — despite their commitment to nonviolence, their steadfast noninvolvement in politics, and their long-standing efforts to promote the development of their country?”

The presentation was followed by many questions from the audience on subjects such as the cause of genocide and its prevention in the future society, as well as the incorporation of religious laws into politics to which satisfactory answers were given by the speaker.

For the 26th consecutive year, Vanier College is holding the Annual Symposium on the Holocaust and Genocide, April 9 – 13, 2018. The theme this year is Civic Responsibility: Toward Dialogue.

Through a week of guest speakers, workshops and Holocaust Survivor testimonials, the Symposium aims to alert young people to discrimination, racism, and genocide in their many manifestations, and to encourage historical understanding in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Eyewitness and first-hand accounts are often the best motivators to spark students’ awareness, concern, and action. One of the main strengths of the Symposium is its capacity to impart important lessons about ethical citizenship and moral courage.

The guest speaker Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh who is a member of the Bahá’í community of Berlin, was born in Ludwigsburg, Germany. In the 1960s, he resided in Tehran, with a one-year interruption in Hamburg. He is a German citizen and has lived in Germany since 1971. He has a Diploma in Sociology, with the subsidiary subjects of Psychology and Education. He has a second Diploma in Political Science, as well as his PhD in Political Science. He was a fellow with Memri and European Foundation for Democracy. Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh is known for exposing some of Iran’s most heinous human rights violations, especially of religious minorities. He is also a sought-after voice for his astute political analysis on Iran amongst European and especially German policymakers. 

Montreal, February 4, 2018 - On the occasion of World Week of Interfaith Harmony, the Bahá’í Community of Montreal organized two "Open House" evenings at the Bahá'í Shrine inviting Inter-Faith Organizations to come and visit this sacred place.

The first meeting took place on Sunday February 4th and the second on Wednesday February 7th during the regular schedule of the Shrine.

World Interfaith Harmony Week is an annual event to be observed during the first week of February starting in 2011.

World Interfaith Harmony Week was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in resolution A/RES/65/5 adopted on 20 October 2010. In the resolution, the General Assembly, points out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and establishes World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.

Recognizing the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, the General Assembly of the United Nations encourages all States to support during that week the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship, on a voluntary basis and according to their own religious traditions or convictions.

Montreal, March 28, 2018 - As part of the week of action against racism, the Egyptian Bureau of Cultural Affairs in Montreal organized a conference exhibition with guest artist Marlène Luce Tremblay.

The theme of the evening being “Egypt Immuable II”, the photo-painting exhibition represented the influence of this historic country on World Heritage. Among about forty guests representing several cultural organizations of the city, one could distinguish the presence of the cultural attaché of Switzerland, the cultural attaché of Egypt, the secretary of the Egyptian office in Montreal, the journalists, the artists as well as the media director of the Bahá'í Community.

It should be noted that the majority of guests knew the Bahá'í Faith and its principles! Many questions have been asked about the activities of the Faith in Montreal and around the world. Some were even surprised that the Bahá'í Faith existed in the Holy Land before the formation of the State of Israel!

Marlène Luce Tremblay, whose canvases adorned the walls of the Egyptian Cultural Affairs Bureau in Montreal, is a painter and photographer living in Hudson, Quebec. Thanks to her work and following many trips to the Middle East, she offers an "archeology" of the Arab world to the spectators. This artistic endeavor was undertaken by exploring Egypt and presenting exhibitions in Canada and Egypt as part of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Egypt Immuable II”, the exhibition is open to the public from April 1 to 30, at the Cultural Affairs Office of Egypt at 1 Place Ville-Marie.

Launched for the first time in March 2000, Action Against Racism Week (SACR) is part of annual events to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, celebrated on March 21.

Complementary and in addition to all the daily events of education, especially with regard to the misdeeds of racism and discrimination, the Action Week Against Racism is a special moment of reflection, exchange and awareness of the democratic values of our society and the importance of intercultural relationship.

The photo shows the cultural attaché of Egypt, coordinator of the festival Vues d'Afrique, Consul General of Egypt in Montreal, Consul General of Switzerland, director of media of Montreal, an Egyptian filmmaker, Marlène Luce Tremblay with a copy of his works on the back wall as well as representatives of other cultural organizations in Montreal.

Montreal, January 17, 2018 - Some 150 members of the Montreal Bahá’í Community gathered at the newly renovated Bahá’í Centre on 177 Pine Avenue East to celebrate the occasion and the 19 Days Feast. Representing a large variety of ethnic as well as age groups, they were coming together from nine different boroughs of our city.

 Two of the Assembly members in 1983 who were present at the Feast told the friends the story of how the Bahá’í Centre was purchased then. Kay Hopkinson, a member of the Bahá’í Community of Montreal at that time made a simple suggestion at a 19 days Feast to purchase a Place of gathering for the friends. As the procedure goes, the suggestion was forwarded to the Spiritual Assembly, the governing body which administers the affaires of the Community. The Assembly welcomed the suggestion and approved of it. The Montreal Community was relatively small and the Assembly had little money in its Bank account. The island of Montreal had some 15 municipalities with a Bahá’í Administrative Bodies until January 1, 2006 when the municipalities and Montreal joined together as one city.

 In early days of the Faith most meetings were held at the home of Architect Sutherland Maxwell and his wife May Boles where the Montreal Bahá’í Shrine is located now. As the membership of the Community grew, the Bahá’í activities were held at either YWCA downtown or at the home of the friends. Therefore, the expenses were little and the amount of money kept in the bank was also little.  The Assembly came up with a bright idea to organize a fundraising event and collect the necessary funds to purchase a Centre. The event was scheduled at the Negro Community Centre. It happened that an ice storm paralyzed all activities in Montreal and surroundings. There was little hope to have a large gathering and collect a lot of money!

 The Hand of the Cause John Robarts (one of the members of a Body by that name to help expansion and other activities of the Community) who lived in Rawdon, Quebec with his family was scheduled to be present at that fundraising event. His daughter who was supposed to drive him to the event was afraid that the treacherous ice covered roads might cause an accident and there was no way that they would go to the Fundraising. John, nevertheless, was determined to be in Montreal and nothing could stop him to do so! He put on his hat which he had worn while in Haifa visiting Shoghi-Effendi, the late Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, decided to take a taxi and arrived at the Negro community Centre! He had the intention to auction his hat in order to generate funds for the Montreal Bahá’í Centre.

 As it was expected, not very many people managed to be present at the meeting due to ice storm, nevertheless five thousand Dollars was raised that evening! The Spiritual Assembly appointed a committee to search for a suitable building to purchase and the present location was found. Unfortunately, it was located in residential area and it needed a permit from City Hall in order to be used for public activities. One of the above Committee members contacted the relevant office at the City Hall which denied the request without further discussion.  Another member tried again and managed to get hold of an official at the Mayor’s Office. When this official was informed of the purpose and activities in the Bahá’í Centre, the permission was granted without further question. The major problem was still lack of funds. The price of the property was $100,000 – a lot of money at that time! There were very few Bahá’ís then who owned a property and the late Raymond Flournoy was one of them. He managed to mortgage his own home in order to obtain a second mortgage and enable the Assembly to buy the property. Surprisingly, the anniversary of Raymond’s passing was on this day, November 17! 

 The Assembly was painfully paying the mortgage then coincidentally, the daughter of Architect Sutherland and May Maxwell, known to the Bahá’ís as Rúhíyyih Khánum, came to Montreal for a Conference. She heard that the Montreal Bahá’í Community has purchased a property and asked whether the mortgage has been completely paid? She was told that $20,000 is left to complete the payment! She thought for a moment and said that her mother, May Maxwell, had kept a Bank account in Montreal and she thought that there was exactly $20,000 in it! She generously donated the amount to the Montreal Bahá’í Community thus the mortgage was fully paid.

 The beautifully renovated Bahá’í Centre is open to the public, has a library to purchase Bahá’í Books as well as a reading library accessible during the opening hours of the Centre.

Montreal, March 21, 2018 - The Bahá'í Community of Montreal celebrated the New Year on this spring day at Centre communautaire et aquatique (CAA), Côte-St-Luc. Over a hundred of different nationalities, ethnicities, cultures and languages ​​participated in this annual event. Celebrated around the world, this holiday is also a joyful occasion for Parsees (Zoroastrians), Iranians and other nationalities across the Asia and Middle East.

 This day also coincides with the official launch of Action Week Against Racism. This event was celebrated at the Montréal City Hall in the presence of guests, partners and representatives of various levels of government, as well as at Saint-Laurent City Hall and several other neighborhoods of the city.

 “This sacred day when the sun illumines equally the whole earth is called the equinox and the equinox is the symbol of the divine messenger. The sun of truth rises on the horizon of divine mercy and sends forth its rays on all.”  

(‘Abdu'l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy)

 "Naw Rúz" [or Now-Rouz] is the feast celebrated by Bahá'ís around the world on the occasion of the beginning of the calendar and the Bahá'í year: March 21st, the first Spring day, the beginning of the awakening of nature, the blossoming of buds and flowers!

 What's more logical and more natural, indeed, than to start the year that day. Also, the Báb (the Herald of the Bahá'í Faith), who instituted the new calendar of the New Era, chose this date (March 21st) as New Year's Day, a choice ratified later by Bahá'u'lláh. This day has already been celebrated since centuries before Christ as a feast and was called "Naw Rúz". This is how it was kept for our Bahá'í New Year celebration.

 What did it represent in ancient Persia, since this festival is at least three millennia and probably more than 25 centuries old?

 "Now Rouz" (transliterated: Naw Rúz and pronounced No(w) Rouz, means in Persian: New Day. In Iranian mythology it is said that the Supreme God created the universe in six days: successively; Heaven, Earth, water, plants, animals and, on the sixth day, the Man ... A celebration for each of these creations: that of the appearance of the Man was called "Naw Rúz" !

 Until the year 538 BC, "Naw Rúz" was only the festival of Creation (of Man). From this date on ward, the Iranians will make coincide the New Year's Day with the first day of Spring. This change of date was made under the reign of the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great who released the Children of Israel from the yoke of the Babylonians and was commissioned by God to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. Cyrus [of Mazdean religion (Zoroastrianism)] has an important rank since not only is he known as the first "promulgator" of a charter of human rights ensuring in particular religious freedom, but especially because he is called in the Bible: "the shepherd, the anointed of the Lord"!

 For more than 2,500 years, apart from those of Iran,  some inhabitants of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Caucasia , Turkey and Iraq are also celebrating "Naw Rúz".

 For the Iranian calendar (which is completely different from the Islamic calendar and which would be one of the few to start on the first day of Spring), it represents, in addition of the New Year which is celebrated for 12 days - a 13th day during which one must leave the house for a joyful communion with nature.

 Despite the invasion of this region by Alexander of Macedon, the armies of Islam, the hordes of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, and despite the vicissitudes of the times, this festival persisted and, being a common point, even served to unite culturally the peoples of the Iranian Plateau ...

In mythology, tradition and Iranian culture, "Naw Rúz" is considered the Feast of the Creator, the appearance of Man, the Feast of Nature, Fecundity, Hope and Peace . It is also the Feast of the Family, Respect towards the head of the family and the elderly, Friendship, Generosity, Joy and Children ...

 

Seeds planted over the last seven years bore fruit in a Montreal, Que., neighbourhood as those working in the community celebrated Bahá’u’lláh’s birth.

The Bahá’í community-building process started in the Côte des Neiges neighbourhood in 2010. Currently, a group of nearly 20 individuals live and serve there, including both Bahá’ís as well as friends from the wider community. Together they planned a celebration for the bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh.

The event was the culmination of weeks of effort to undertake home visits to explore the importance of Bahá’u’lláh’s message, primarily with young people and their parents. The youth each came up with ideas of how they could contribute: by making posters for the event, ushering guests as they arrived, writing speeches about how Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings have influenced their lives and reading prayers at the celebration. Adults in the community prepared meals, drove children to the event and beautified the venue.

Around 130 participants attended the event, 70 of whom were friends of the Faith. The celebration was incredibly joyful and moving. The short speeches that were given regarding the influence of Bahá’u’lláh moved some to tears.

In his speech, one 13-year-old shared, “The junior youth group helped me to think about the meaning of life; for example, what is our purpose here on earth? It helped me establish my own identity – to know who I am and how I should act towards others. It developed my capacity to serve society and to work with others to help the community … and showed me the importance of true friendship.”

A portion of the film Light to the World was also shown and the event concluded with a dance celebration utilizing music from all over the world – a befitting tribute to the diversity of those in the neighbourhood.

Following the bicentenary celebrations, plans were made to expand the educational process by starting study circles, a children’s class, a junior youth group and accompanying friends as they arise to serve as teachers and animators. Dates for a junior youth camp and a children’s festival have been set and are in the process of being planned.

– Aayah Amir

“To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood.”
– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, quoted by J.E. Esselmont in Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 83.

Whether the Bahá’ís celebrate Christmas, is an interesting question!

The Bahá’ís believe, Bahá'u'lláh, the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, was the Promised One of all religions. Therefore, all major religions are true, from God and the Bahá'í Faith is the one for the present age. It will be almost impossible to celebrate the festivals of all of the religions, so the Bahá'ís celebrate their own festivals instead. Events in the life of Bahá'u'lláh and the early history of the Faith mark the Bahá'í Holy Days. The following account demonstrates the profound respect that the Bahá’ís have for Christ. When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (son of the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith) traveled to the West in 1911 after forty years of imprisonment, he went to England from the Middle East, and among his hectic schedule of meetings and public addresses, He: …witnessed a performance of “Eager Heart,” a Christmas mystery play at the Church House, Westminster, the first dramatic performance He had ever beheld, and which in its graphic depiction of the life and sufferings of Jesus Christ moved Him to tears.
– Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 284.

The drama, written by the English poet and playwright Alice Mary Buckton, who later received ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at her home in Byfleet Surrey, tells the tragic story of a woman who fervently prepares for the Christmas visit of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but then vacillates when a homeless refugee family shows up at her door. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá wept during the scene in which the Holy Child and His parents, overcome with fatigue, and suffering from hunger and thirst, were met with the hesitation of Eager Heart to admit them to the haven of rest which she had prepared, she, of course, failing to recognize the sacred visitors. [Abdu’l-Baha], afterwards, joined the group of players. It was an arresting scene. In the eastern setting. The Messenger in his eastern robes, speaking to them, in the beautiful eastern words, of the Divine significance of the events which had been portrayed.”
– The Baha’i World, Volume 4, p. 379.

The Bahá'í Faith is all about unity, and Bahá'ís do not wish to cut themselves off from the rest of humanity. Christmas is celebrated by most people in Canada and elsewhere and the Bahá'ís join in these celebrations with their Christian friends. Nevertheless, they do not celebrate Christmas amongst themselves. In a Bahá'í family, for example, where the parents and children are Bahá'ís, they do not usually buy one another Christmas presents. But if grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are not Bahá'ís, the Bahá'í family will exchange presents with them and will celebrate with them. The Bahá'í children at school will happily join in the nativity play and sing carols. This is not a problem, because Bahá'ís revere Christ as a Messenger of God. In fact, Bahá'ís believe Bahá'u'lláh to be the Return of Christ. Bahá'ís respect everyone's beliefs therefore they do not see any difficulty with joining in the celebrations of their friends who might be Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim or of any other beliefs. In countries where for instance Buddhism might be the main religion, Bahá'ís will celebrate Buddhist festivals with their friends and relatives who are not Bahá'ís. Exchange of presents is done usually during a celebration at the end of February, the four or five days designated as “Days of Giving”, when there will often be parties for both children and adults. Children may also receive gifts on some of the other Holy Days.
 
What is New Year to the Bahá’ís
Bahá'í new year is celebrated at a different time. The Bahá'í Faith calendar, and the Bahá'í new year falls on the 21st March each year. It is known as Naw Rúz in Persian or the New Day. However, if Bahá'ís are invited to join in festivities on 31st December they will quite happily accept, just as they are quite happy to invite anyone to a celebration for Naw Rúz. In fact, Bahá'ís enjoy hosting parties and inviting their friends to Holy Day celebrations. This is all part of bringing people together to build the unity which the world so desperately needs today.

Montreal, February 25, 2018 – Some thirty friends from different parts of the city gathered at the Bahá'í center to celebrate the first day of the "intercalary days".

The intercalaryst inclusive, constitute a period of preparation for fasting. They are dedicated to hospitality, charity and the exchange of gifts. The intercalary days have the merit of being associated with "the letter Há". The numerical value of this letter in the Arabic numerical system "abjad" is five, which corresponds to the potential number of intercalary days. In the Holy Writings, the letter "Há" has received several spiritual meanings, including that of a symbol of the essence of God.

The Bahá'í calendar was created by the Báb "Herald of the New Era" in 1844, the year that marks the beginning of this universal religion. Based on the solar year, it starts on March 21st, with the spring equinox and is divided into 19 months of 19 days, plus four intercalary days which bring to the count of one year. Each new day begins at sunset. Every four years, a fifth day plays the role of February 29 in the Gregorian calendar. The Báb named the months according to the qualification of the attributes of God.

During these days, the Bahá'ís receive or visit their friends and help the needy. The day of the Bahá'í year, like that of ancient Persia, is defined by astronomy; it begins at the spring equinox (March 21), and the Bahá'í era begins with the declaration of the Bab (1844 AD - 1260 after the Hegira).

The Báb had not fixed a specific place for the intercalary days in the new calendar. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas "The Most Holy Book" solves this question by assigning to the "surplus" days a fixed place in the calendar, immediately preceding the month of 'Ala', the period of fasting.

"... those days of generosity that precede the period of restraint, ..." Bahá'u'lláh enjoined his followers to dedicate these days to feasting, rejoicing, and charity. In a letter written by Shoghi Effendi (the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith), it is explained that "the intercalary days are specially reserved for hospitality, gifts of presents, etc. ".

 

Opening Hours

 

The Bahá’í Bookstore hours are:
Tuesday to Friday: 11am-4pm
Saturday: noon-5pm
Sunday: noon-5pm
Monday: Closed

 

 

Bahá'í Center

 

177, av des Pins E
Montréal, QC H2W 1N9
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 514-849-0753

Click here for map and hours

 

 

Montreal Shrine

 

1548, av des Pins O, Montreal
Phone: 514-939-2262

Click here for map and hours

 

S5 Box

Login

Register