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Montreal, February 16, 2019 – The Bahá’í Community of Montreal was the host of a group of 18 youths from Calgary who spent three days in this city to visit the Bahá’í Shrine (Maxwell home), where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in 1912. They were warmly welcome by the Montreal youths as well as the local Bahá’í Administrative Body at the Montreal Centre on Saturday evening. A special program was organized to acquaint the group with the Bahá’í sites associated with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to Montreal, the only city He visited in Canada during ten days.

This group of youths was the first to visit the Montreal Bahá’í sites under the new administrative committee recently appointed by the Canadian National Spiritual Assembly and the fourth group of visitors who came to Montreal in previous years as “Pilgrims”.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá called Maxwell home as His home and spent almost all his evenings in this location giving talks and receiving guests. Maxwell home is the only Bahá’í Shrine - addressed as such by the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, Shoghi-Effendi - in Western Hemisphere.

The group spent as many hours as it was possible in the Shrine devoting much time to prayers and meditation in this sacred spot. They visited Saint James United Church where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a public talk on September 5, 1912. That September day at Windsor Hotel, Archbishop Louis Joseph Paul Bruchési of Montreal came to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá and to express his pleasure and gratitude for "his words about the purpose of the manifestation of Christ and the other saints." 'Abdu'l-Bahá invited the archbishop, a member of the Catholic clergy who was very interested in Orientals, to attend his public lecture at St. James Methodist Church later that day. 'Abdu'l-Bahá received other visitors during the day, including a Jewish rabbi and the editor of an "illustrated magazine" published in Toronto. The Master's list of visitors that day represented a wide range of organizations, religions and social groups.

St. James was the largest Methodist church in the world with 2,700 seats. The Maxwell brothers had made the interior design. A luminous sign announced that the "prophet of the East" would deliver a lecture on the principles of the Bahá'í Faith and "the salvation of humanity.” 'Abdu'l-Bahá did not like this title, and expressed his concern at the habit people had to call him ‘prophet’. In his speech, he corrected this error, pointing out that he was not a prophet, but simply 'Abdu'l-Bahá, which translates freely as ‘servant of Glory’.

A crowd of 1,200 people arose when 'Abdu'l-Bahá entered the church. Reverend Herbert Simmons, the Anglican vicar of Christ Church Cathedral, introduced him. 'Abdu'l-Bahá first spoke of "Bahá'í principles for the happiness of the human race.” He followed with the religious teachings of his Father. The next day, the Montreal Gazette mentioned in an article that during his presentation, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had called for "independent investigation" of religious truth by everyone. He had argued that the absence of such independent investigation drove people to resentment and dissension in the world.

Following 'Abdu'l-Bahá’s talk, the pastor stood up and said, "It would be wrong to believe that the West has reached perfection and that the East has neither blessings nor lessons to offer to the World. In his talk, 'Abdu'l-Bahá mentioned several things that we had not heard or understood before. "

Among the people present at the church was Robert Stanley Weir, a Montreal judge and poet most famous for writing the English lyrics to "O Canada", the national anthem of Canada.  Judge Weir mentioned repeatedly that evening his desire to become a Bahá'í.

The Calgary youth attended the Sunday Devotional gathering at the Montreal Bahá’í Centre. Their voices and prayers set to music created an atmosphere of uplifting spirituality. Their prayers will accompany the Sunday Devotional gatherings for many months to come. The visit to places associated with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá continued in the afternoon. They toured Windsor train station, the Basilica Mary Queen of the World as well as Windsor Hotel. Windsor station where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s train arrived from Boston on August 31, 1912, went through several transformations since it was built in 1887 by a New York City architectural firm. The third expansion of the station, in 1916, included a fifteen-storey tower which dramatically altered Montreal's skyline. The project was entrusted to the firm of brothers Edward and William Maxwell architects.

The Basilica Mary Queen of the World, a smaller scale model of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, was built in 1894. On Saturday, August 31, while touring the city in the afternoon, 'Abdu'l-Bahá stopped at the Basilica and, standing in front of the door, he pointed out to the friends who accompanied him, "This is the result of what the eleven disciples have been able to accomplish. I urge you to walk in their footsteps. When a person is detached, he can revolutionize the whole world. "

The final stage of the tour was a visit to Northern Annex of Windsor Hotel, a section which survived the fire of 1957. The Windsor Hotel (opened 1878, closed 1981) is often considered to be the first grand hotel in Canada, and for decades billed itself as "the best in all the Dominion". The building and the three-room suite where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed on the seventh floor of the Windsor Hotel is now replaced by the CIBC tower in the corner of Peel and René-Lévesque. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá moved to the hotel on September 2nd’ 1912. On the afternoon of that day, eminent professors, pastors and members of the press gathered at the hotel. A Toronto Weekly Star reporter asked 'Abdu'l-Bahá if he intended to visit Toronto or another Canadian city. He replied that it would be impossible and added: "You can tell your people that your country delights me. It is a beautiful and prosperous land [...] "

'Abdu'l-Bahá stayed at the Windsor Hotel at the same time as Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, who was returning from a successful trip to Britain. The year 1912 marked almost a century of peace between Great Britain and the United States. After a parade of about two kilometres, with fireworks and brass bands, the Prime Minister moved to the Windsor Hotel. There is no indication that 'Abdu'l-Bahá met him, either accidentally or at the sumptuous reception at the hotel for the prime minister, but it is remarkable that these two individuals stayed at the same hotel at the same time.

One day, reading the mail arriving from the East, 'Abdu'l-Bahá observed:

"Yes, the scope and magnitude of these trips are not yet known, but they will be apparent later. As our only intention was to offer our devotion to the threshold of the only true God, we were assisted, and the light of God's grace and favour appeared. "

Montreal, February 15, 2019 – A crowd of friends and family gathered at Rideau Memorial Gardens to say farewell and pay tributes to a soul who dedicated her life to enlightenment.

Gently in her sleep, Laura Semple Everett, passed away on Friday, February 8, after almost a decade long battle with bv-ftd.

She was brought up in a family of three brothers and a sister, surrounded by a deep love for art and artistic expressions. Her mother Veronique is an accomplished artist painter herself; she tried to teach all her children a deep love and understanding for art and music. Laura was a mystic explorer from her early childhood and tried to translate her explorations through her paintings. Roy, the elder of her brothers reminisced that when they were going to painting classes, he was the first to paint his canvas whereas Laura took days to work with the nuances and colours to reflect her inspiration.

After finishing her university degree at Concordia, Laura quickly realized the importance of Digital Art and was one of the early pioneers in Montreal to explore this field. She learned “Softimage”, a complex 3D Unix based software developed on Silicon Graphic High Performance Computers. This software eventually was used to produce epic movies such as Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Titanic and many more.

Laura found the Bahá’í Faith early in her life perhaps during her High School years at Westmount High! Her teacher was John Guinty, a Bahá’í from Westmount Community. Laura found the Bahá’í Teachings in harmony with her spiritual growth and express it in a 22-page document addressed to the Universal House of Justice!

As she grew in Faith, her artistic vision developed further. She painted a fairly large abstract painting of thousands of hues and shades of orange colour which she wanted to be hand-delivered to the Hand of the Cause Ruhiyyih Khánum in Haifa, Israel. This was done in an extraordinary manner causing long conversations about the Faith through answering hundreds of questions from Israeli security agents in Montreal, Frankfurt, Tel-Aviv and Haifa!

Through her life, Laura always believed that love transcends all states of being. That our most inner soul is cosmic light and love. Through this love you find courage, strength, guidance and harmony with all. That the unity of our hearts, minds and spirits is reflected in all that is, and our most important quest in life is to unite together and share our kind and gentle love.

Laura had requested her family and friends to wear “light and bright” attire during her funeral service and celebrate her journey towards the Beloved with happiness and songs. And it was done as she wished, with flowers, songs and a message from the Bahá’í World Centre, Haifa:

“….the news of the passing of Laura Semple-Everett, has been received at the Bahá’í World Centre. Rest assured of the supplications of the House of Justice in the Holy Shrines for the progress of her soul throughout the worlds of God. Prayers will also be offered for the comfort and solace of her family members and loved ones at this time of bereavement.”

Laura was indeed a gentle, sweet and loving human being! A unique soul in the Worlds of God!

Montreal, November 9, 2018 – The Bahá’í Communities in various boroughs of Montreal celebrated the Birthdays of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, the Twin Manifestations of God for our age. The birthday of the Báb, this year, corresponded with November 9, 1819 and that of Bahá’u’lláh on November 10, 1817.

*The Baha’i community of Baie-d'Urfé celebrated this happy occasion by showing the recently-made documentary, “The Gate”. Before the film, the MC gave a brief background about the filmmaker, a “new Bahá’í”, and the difficulties he faced in making this film without ever being able to depict the “main Character”. After viewing the film, a period of question and answer was followed by refreshments and informal conversations. The unanimous consensus of the approximately 25 attendees – many of whom were friends of the Faith – was that the film was very moving, instructive, and well-made.

*In the NDG borough, a crowd of friends attended the celebration which was held at the Community Centre. There were a few presentations by individuals and groups of various ages, offered in English and French. Performances were included the story of the Báb as a child, songs by youths, a speech by two Junior Youths about their experiences in children's classes and their own activities in Junior Youths program. An arts and crafts table for the children were the center of attention as well as a display of food from various cultures. Music and dancing ended a memorable evening. 

*In the borough of Saint-Laurent, some 25 members of the Community as well as their friends gathered to view the new video-documentary about the life of the Báb entitled “The Gate”. Following the projection, a period of questions and answers about the life of the Herald of the Faith, the Báb, was followed. Prayers in French and English were chanted by the indefatigable Sabih-Vidal family who are always ready to help the Community with their art and music.

A display of food from various cultures was a delight to the eyes! The display did not remain on the table for long! Everybody enjoyed the dishes tremendously with happiness and laughter.

*At “The Heart of Montreal East” there was a very beautiful celebration although it was organized at the last minute! There were more than 20 people who came to the celebration. This is a huge number for a relatively small community! Some friends were supporters of the Faith, others were new believers and many were believers forever! People from all over were present and that was the most extraordinary gathering one can imagine. The spirit that animated this celebration was rich and authentic.

*The celebration of Bahá'u'lláh's birthday in Verdun took place with a dozen friends and several children and young people. A rich program of prayers, songs, visual preparation and dancing was prepared by the friends of this community. A video selection "The Light of the World" on the life of Bahá'u'lláh was screened and appreciated by the friends present.

A brief history of the life of the Báb -The Báb "Door" or "Gate", was born in Shiráz, southern Iran, in 1819. Raised by his uncle as a merchant, the Báb was known for His gentleness, His compassion and his scrupulous honesty. In Persia at that time, as it was simultaneously occurring throughout the world, religious scholars had become convinced that all of the promises of past revelations had been fulfilled and they were convinced that the year 1260 of the local calendar (1844), a date which also figures prominently in Biblical prophecy, would witness the arrival of the advent of the Promised Day.

On the evening of May 23, 1844, the same day that the message, "What hath God wrought?" was immortalized as the first telegraph message in history, the Báb declared His Mission as the Herald of the Bahá’í Faith. 

It was during the earliest days of His ministry that the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh (the Messenger of God for today), who were never destined to meet, became aware of each other's station. At that time Bahá'u'lláh became a prominent proponent of the Cause of the Báb. Eventually the Báb was incarcerated in an abandoned fortress, where he continued to reveal the letters and treatises that would constitute the scriptures of his Faith. Finally, through the intrigues of the clergy, the Báb was executed on July 9, 1850 in Tabriz. 

Over the subsequent decades, the sacred remains of the Báb were secretly transported in many stages to the Holy Land when, in 1909, shortly before His historic visit to the West, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Son of Bahá'u'lláh, laid them to rest in a shrine He had constructed on Mount Carmel. This shrine, which was later enclosed beneath a golden dome and surrounded by a marble arcade, is the most prominent feature on the slopes of Carmel in the city of Haifa, Israel.

A brief history of the life of the Bahá'u'lláh -Born in Tehran, Irán on 12 November, 1817, Mirzá Husayn-‘Alí (entitled Bahá’u’lláh – the Glory of God), enjoyed all the advantages conferred by noble birth. From a very early age, He displayed extraordinary knowledge and wisdom.With His acceptance of the religion of the Báb, life permanently changed for the young nobleman and His family. Although They never met in person, from the moment Mirza Husayn-‘Alí heard of the Báb’s message, He declared His wholehearted belief in it and put all of His energy and influence into promoting it. After four months of intense suffering and imprisonment in the prison of Tehran, Bahá’u’lláh—now ill and utterly exhausted—was released and exiled forever from His native Iran. He and His family were sent to Baghdad. He composed three of His most renowned works at this time—the Hidden Words, the Seven Valleys and the Book of Certitude (Kitáb-i-Íqán). While Bahá’u’lláh’s writings alluded to His station, it was not yet the time for a public announcement.

As Bahá’u’lláh’s fame spread, the envy and malice of some of the clergy was rekindled. Representations were made to the Shah of Iran to ask the Ottoman Sultan to remove Bahá’u’lláh further from the Iranian border. Three months after departing Baghdad, Bahá’u’lláh and His fellow exiles reached Constantinople. They remained there for just four months before a further banishment took them to Edirne (Adrianople), a grueling journey undertaken during the coldest of winters. In Adrianople, their accommodation failed to protect them from the bitter temperatures.

Beginning in September 1867, Bahá’u’lláh wrote a series of letters to the leaders and rulers of various nations. In these prescient writings, He openly proclaimed His station, speaking of the dawn of a new age. 

Continued agitation from Bahá’u’lláh’s detractors caused the Ottoman government to banish Him one final time, to its most notorious penal colony. Arriving in the Mediterranean prison city of ‘Akká on 31 August 1868, Bahá’u’lláh was to spend the rest of His life in the fortified city and its environs. Bahá’u’lláh passed away on 29 May, 1892.

In His will, He designated ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as His successor and Head of the Bahá’í Faith — the first time in history that the Founder of a world religion had named his successor in a written irrefutable text. This choice of a successor is a central provision of what is known as the “Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh,” enabling the Bahá’í community to remain united for all time.

 

 

Montreal, February 10, 2019 - Members of the Bahá'í communities of the boroughs of Montréal, Baie-d'Urfé, Beaconsfield, Côte-Saint-Luc, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Dorval, Hampstead, Kirkland, Montreal West, Mount Royal, Pointe-Claire, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Senneville and Westmount, gathered at the Bahá'í Center to elect five delegates to attend the Canadian National Convention this year. This national annual summit, to be held in Toronto in late April 2019, will elect the national administrative institution of the Canadian Bahá'í Community, the National Spiritual Assembly.

The regional conventions have a dual function of electing delegates to attend the National Convention as well as offering constructive suggestions regarding the general administration of the Faith in the country. This Convention will serve as an intermediary for the exchange of ideas and the coordination of activities among the various elements that make up the Bahá'í Community. This important meeting is both "a challenge for the individual" and "a collective responsibility. "- " The regional conventions are not meant to be purely administrative. Their main and essential purpose is to enable delegates and friends together to have a deeper and broader view of the cause by enhancing the spirit of unity and sincere cooperation. "

In each electoral unit, the national administrative institution shall designate a local or regional institution responsible for organizing the regional convention and shall communicate to it the instructions relating to that organization.

Since the Bahá'í Faith has no clergy, it is to these elected institutions that authority is con
ferred, rather than to those who function as their members. Election of Local Spiritual Assemblies, Bahá'í Regional Councils and the National Spiritual Assembly is held annually by secret ballot, in a spirit of prayer and reflection, without any form of election propaganda or candidacy. Bahá'ís over the age of 21 can vote and be elected.

Although the Bahá'í Faith first appeared in Canada in 1898, it was in 1922 that the first Local Spiritual Assembly was formed in Montreal. The National Spiritual Assembly of Canada and the United States, an institution common to both countries, was elected for the first time in 1925. In 1948, Canada formed its own National Assembly, and the following year it was legally incorporated by a Federal Law. Beginning in 1973, a Spiritual Assembly was established in every provincial and territorial capital of Canada. There are now Local Assemblies in more than 200 locations across the country.

Montreal, October 12, 2018 – Some members of the Bahá’í Community attended a three-day exhibition and workshop dedicated to the life and services of Queen Mary of Romania at the Côte-des-neiges Community Centre. In presence of Consul General of Romania, Ambassador of Republic of Moldovia, Canadian Ambassador to Romania and City Counsellors, the exhibition was officially opened to the public. Writers, university professors, film makers and poets spoke at length about Queen Mary’s influence in the popular history of Romania. Emphasis was made by one of the lecturers on spirituality of Queen Mary and it was mentioned eloquently that she was a member of the Bahá’í Faith, following her own search in many fields relating to spirituality. Both herself and her daughter accepted the Faith in 1922 after almost two decades of friendship with the indefatigable teacher of the Faith and a journalist by profession, Martha Root. Several people in the audience asked about the Queen’s involvement with the Bahá’í activities and received adequate answers from the lecturer who was a historian himself.

The photographic exhibition was mostly focussed on the Queen’s love of beauty and her published 34 books and short stories, both in Romanian and English, during her lifetime. She was known primarily for her talent in horse-riding, writing, painting, sculpting and dancing, as well as for her beauty which were exquisitely reflected in photographs and written narrative accompanying them.

This exhibition was sponsored by the Romanian Ministry of Culture on the occasion of the celebration of centenary of Romanian Great Union with Europe, December first, 1918.

Queen Marie, as it was mentioned by one of the lecturers, was a deeply spiritual person. She was a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria of England who received two tablets from Bahá’u’lláh between 1867 and 1870. In the series of addresses made to the Kings and the Rulers of the earth, Baha’u’llah announced His mission as the founder of the Bahá’íFaith and called on the world’s ecclesiastical and political rulers to abolish injustice, end slavery and oppression, lay down their weapons and come together to establish a lasting peace.

On January 29, 1926, against the advice of the American minister residing in Bucharest, Romania, Martha Root sent a letter to Queen Marie accompanied with the photograph of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and a copy of the book “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era”. The next day she met with the Queen at Controceni Palace just outside Bucharest. The night before the interview, the Queen was reading the book sent to her by Martha until 3:00 A.M. During the interview, the Queen was holding the photograph of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in her hands while she was asking questions about the Faith. The friendship between Martha Root and the Queen lasted until the Queen’s death in 1938.

The Queen was a gifted writer and her articles were syndicated in more than 200 newspapers in United States and Canada. Here she made her first public statements on the Bahá’íFaith, inviting readers to examine the teachings that taught love, unity and peace. The first of these statements appeared in May 1926 and others were published soon after. Many of the statements were translated and published in China, Japan, Australasia and other parts of the world.

One of the first articles was published in Toronto Daily Star, May 4, 1926 – a portion of which reads as follows:

“A woman (Martha Root)brought me the other day a Book. I spell it with a capital letter because it is a glorious Book of love and goodness, strength and beauty.

She gave it to me because she had learned I was in grief and sadness and wanted to help…. She put it into my hands saying: "You seem to live up to His teachings." And when I opened the Book I saw it was the word of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, prophet of love and kindness, and of his father the great teacher of international goodwill and understanding—of a religion which links all creeds.

…. It is a wondrous Message that Bahá'u'lláh and his son 'Abdu'l-Bahá have given us. They have not set it up aggressively, knowing that the germ of eternal truth which lies at its core cannot but take root and spread.

There is only one great verity in it: Love, the mainspring of every energy, tolerance toward each other, desire of understanding each other, knowing each other, helping each other, forgiving each other.

…. I commend it to you all. If ever the name of Bahá'u'lláh or 'Abdu'l-Bahá comes to your attention, do not put their writings from you. Search out their Books, and let their glorious, peace-bringing, love-creating words and lessons sink into your hearts as they have into mine.”

There is an appended note from Marth Root on one of the Queen’s letters addressed to her that Her Majesty has given a large order for the Bahá’íbooks at Burnsides Ltd. Publishing company and a few days later, her sixteen-year-old daughter Princess Ileana had also sent for a large order of books!

Needless to say, that the result of Martha’s contact with Queen Mary of Romania, her and her daughter’s acceptance of the Faith and the public tribute of a reigning monarch were balm to the soul of the Bahá’ís of the world who struggled to be heard, whose martyrs are still dying to bring the Message of Bahá’u’lláh to the public attention. They were a source of unexcelled joy to the heart of the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, Shoghi-Effenfi, labouring under the undiminished tribulations of the Guardianship and striving to gain acknowledgment of the Faith as a world religion. In the Bahá’í history, Queen Mary of the Romania is considered as the first Sovereign to accept the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh!

Montreal, December 16, 2018 – At the request of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Lévis, the Montreal Community hosted a befitting gathering for Ronald St-Onge who passed away on November 8, 2018 at U.C.P.Q. Hospital in Laval, Québec. Originally from Pierrefonds, he was a member of the Bahá’í Community of Lévis until the end of his life. He was 66 years old.

A second befitting memorial gathering was held for Shapoor Monadjem, a former Counsellor member of the International Teaching Centre, who passed away on Thursday in Maringá, Brazil. He was 85 years old.  He was a pioneer and member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Brazil (1963-1983), a Continental Counsellor (1983-1993) and a Deputy Trustee of Ḥuqúqu’lláh.

Shapoor Monadjem was born in Shiraz, on October 3, 1933 to a Bahá’í family of several generations going back to early history of the Faith. After finishing an electrical engineering course at the university of Abádán in southern Iran, in February 1957, at the age of 24, he pioneered to Brazil, obeying the Guardian’s last message to the oriental friends and communities.

In 1963, Shapoor was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly in Brazil, serving on that body for a period of 20 years at a time when Bahá’í administration in that country was still in its embryonic stages of development.

In 1983, Shapoor and His wife, Bahereh had been planning to find another city to pioneer to in Brazil, when he was appointed by the Universal House of Justice to serve as a continental Counsellor. During his years as a Counsellor, Shapoor travelled to dozens of countries within South America and around the world, helping to further the establishment of Bahá’í communities in many new locations.

In 1993, Shapoor was appointed to the International Teaching Centre and moved to Haifa, Israel, where he resided until the completion of his term in 1998.

Shapoor died on November 15, 2018, following several months of struggling with kidney failure and respiratory problems. He is survived by his son, daughter, seven grandchildren and his newborn great-granddaughter.

The Universal House of Justice sent the following message to all National Spiritual Assemblies.

The passing of Shapoor Monadjem, distinguished and greatly loved servant of the Blessed Beauty, has brought much sadness to our hearts.  We call to mind, at this moment, his immense dedication to the teaching work, knowledge of the Faith, and insight into the application of its principles.  These qualities were much in evidence when he was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Brazil and during the decade he served as a Continental Counsellor in the Americas.  As a member of the International Teaching Centre, his talents and energies were determinedly focused upon the worldwide propagation and protection of the Faith. The wide-ranging services he undertook in his lifetime also included the promotion of the Right of God as a Deputy Trustee of Ḥuqúqu’lláh.  A kindly and gentle soul, good-humoured and brimming with creative inspiration, he was also blessed with considerable administrative abilities, honed in many different settings, which he deployed with great effect in service to the Cause of God.

 

To his dear wife, Bahareh, and to his children and grandchildren we extend our condolences and an assurance of our supplications in the Holy Shrines for his soul’s blissful passage into the realms of the eternal. We also ask that memorial gatherings be convened in his honour in all Houses of Worship and in Bahá’í communities across the world.

The Universal House of Justice

Montreal, October 6, 2018 – Family and friends gathered at the Montreal Bahá’í Centre to celebrate the life of a devoted human being who passed away on September 7, 2018 in Tehran. Dr. Esmail Ghadirian was one of the founders of the Bahá’í Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), a scientist, a teacher with a lifelong service to humanity.

Esmail Ghadirian was born in 1927 in a Bahá’í family of seven children, in Sangsar, Semnan province of northern Iran. Devastating for his mother, his first twin brothers passed away in their infancy because of smallpox. Esmail had also three younger brothers (Abdu’l-Missagh, Parviz and Esfandiar) and an older sister, Ziba Khánum.  Their mother who was a teacher herself, made sure that the children received a thorough education. At a time when learning institutions were rare in Iran, this remarkable lady founded her own school for girls, both for Bahá’ís and Muslims.  All four brothers completed their doctorate degrees and all were (and still are) devoted, active believers.

Dr. Esmail Ghadirian studied first at Tehran University where he was awarded a Ph.D. in Veterinary Medicine in 1954.  Nine years later he received a Master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology from “Institut Pasteur” and later a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Science at the Sorbonne, in France, in 1968.  Dr. Ghadirian taught at Tehran University, became a Professor Emeritus and engaged in research, specializing in Malariology. His area of research was not only in the southern part of Iran but also in the Balkans and the territories of the former Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Greece and France.  He was admitted as an expert collaborator into the World Health Organization (WHO) for the eradication of malaria, a global scourge.  He spent many years among Persian tribal populations in remote rural areas caring for the poor who were afflicted by malaria.

Dr. Ghadirian and his family lived in Montreal during 1974 to 1976.  He was involved in scientific research in the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. During this period, his wife Fereshteh earned also a Master’s Degree in Microbiology. Their return to Iran coincided with the Islamic Revolution and consequently Dr. Ghadirian was dismissed from his employment at Tehran University due to his religious belief in the Bahá’í Faith.  Like other Bahá’í professors, he refused to deny his belief in his belief.  He was arrested and sent to Evin prison where he was blindfolded, interrogated, insulted and humiliated in an attempt to crush his determination to remain a Bahá’í.  Finally, he was released from prison in condition that he pays back his 27 years of salary for his teaching and research work at the university.  Despite all cruelty he endured, Dr. Ghadirian remained in Iran. Finally, in 1985 both he and his wife, were offered jobs working in an advanced laboratory which belonged to one of his former Muslim students. He stayed in this employment until his retirement in 2011.

During that difficult time for the Bahá’ís in Iran and prior to the formal establishment of BIHE, Dr. Ghadirian served on a five-member Board of Trustees accredited by Indiana University.  The Board started a Distance Learning Department in collaboration with that university to enable Bahá’í students who had been deprived of university education in Iran to continue their training in their field of studies.  After BIHE was founded in 1987, Dr. Ghadirian served as a member of the Medical Sciences Board in that institution. In later years, he served on the Governing Board, taught various courses in Microbiology and Immunology for almost three decades.  He and Fereshteh held many of these courses in their living room in Tehran in order to provide students with a superior quality education for the advancement of their careers. 

Many of Dr. Ghadirian’s former students are now working in the field of Microbiology or related fields in Iran or abroad.  In a letter addressed to Dr. Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian after the passing of his brother, Esmail, one of his former students who is currently an Associate Professor at an American university (Dr. Mina Yazdani), expressed her deep gratitude to Dr. Esmail Ghadirian and four other professors who had made it possible for her to attain her highest goal to continue her studies at Indiana University.  As students of Dr. Ghadirian, two of them who presently live in Montreal (Tolou Golkar and Mona Hashemi) spoke movingly at the commemoration; a reminiscence of his kindness, his humility and his dedication. At his funeral in Tehran, many of his former students, Muslims and Bahá’ís, paid hommage to his distinguished character, knowledge and invaluable contributions Esmail made in their lives and the life of the society in general. So great was their love for him that they insisted on carrying his casket to its resting place.

In a letter dated September 20, 2018 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice about the passing of Dr. Esmail Ghadirian, it is stated: “Rest assured of the supplications of the House of Justice at the Sacred Threshold for the progress of his soul throughout the worlds of God.  Prayers will also be offered for his family members and other loved ones that they may find comfort and strength at this time of bereavement.”

Montreal, November 26, 2018 - Friends of Outremont-Petite Patrie sponsored the beautiful celebration of the Day of the Covenant at the Montreal Bahá'í Center. Children of the community played an important role in preparation and presentation of the program.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Center of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, was born on May 23, 1844, the day of the declaration of the mission of the Báb, the Herald of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu’l-Bahá had stated that since May 23 was also the day that the Báb declared his mission, and should be exclusively associated with him, that that day should under no circumstances be celebrated as 'Abdu'l-Bahá’s day of birth. However, as the Bahá’ís begged for a day to be celebrated as `Abdu’l-Bahá’s birthday, he gave them November 26, 181 days after the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, to be observed as the day of the appointment of the Centre of the Covenant. The holiday was originally known as the Jashn-i-A’zam in Persian (The Greatest Festival), because `Abdu’l-Bahá was known as the Greatest Branch; in the West, the holy day became known as the Day of the Covenant. The day is one of two Bahá’í holy days where work does not need to be suspended.

Throughout the East and the West, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had earned a reputation as an ambassador for peace, a champion of justice, and the chief interpreter of a new Faith. During his travels in North America and Europe, he had proclaimed by word and deed, with force and persuasion, the essential principles of his father's religion. Addressing the great as well as the humble and all who crossed his path, he affirmed that "love is the greatest law,"that it is the foundation of "true civilization,"and that "what humanity urgently needs is, cooperation and reciprocity among all its peoples”.

The problem of succession has been crucial in all religions. The fact that it could not be solved inevitably engendered acrimony and divisions. The ambiguity surrounding the true successors of Jesus and Muhammad, for example, has led to divergent interpretations of the scriptures and a deep antagonism both within Christianity and Islam. Bahá'u'lláh, for his part, knew how to preserve his faith of schisms and built for himself impregnable foundations thanks to the provisions of his testament, the “Book of my Covenant".When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root”. … “The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch [Abdu'l-Bahá]”.

By appointing 'Abdu'l-Bahá to succeed him, Bahá'u'lláh gives him the means to spread his message of hope and universal peace to the four corners of the planet, in order to realize the essential unity of all peoples. "May the glory of God be upon thee, and upon all who serve thee and circle around thee,"Bahá'u'lláh writes, referring to his son, "Woe, great misfortune to whom opposed thee and made thee wrong! ". To summarize, 'Abdu'l-Bahá is the center of the Bahá'u'lláh’s Covenant, the intercessor trustee for ensuring the unity of the Bahá'í community and preserving the integrity of its teachings.

As the authoritative interpreter of these teachings, 'Abdu'l-Bahá thus became "the mouthpiece of the Book, the interpreter of the Word". Without him, the enormous creative power of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation could not have been disseminated to mankind, nor could it be fully understood. He was able to elucidate the teachings of his father's faith, to develop doctrines, and to define the essential aspects of his administrative institutions. He served as an infallible guide and architect to a rapidly expanding Bahá'í community. Bahá'u'lláh had endowed him with "the virtues of perfection in his social and personal behavior so that mankind might see in him a lasting example to follow". As a perfect model of his father's teachings, and as a pivot of his covenant, 'Abdu'l-Bahá would become "the incorruptible intermediary to put the Word into action and to build a new civilization."

It seems obvious, in retrospection, that Bahá'u'lláh had carefully prepared his son to succeed him. Born on May 23, 1844, the same night that the Báb had inaugurated the beginning of a new religious cycle, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had already, as a child, shared the sufferings of his father at the time of the persecutions against the Bábís. He was eight years old when Bahá'u'lláh was thrown into prison for the first time, for being one of the main spokesmen and defenders of the Bábí Faith. He had not left his father during the endless exile that had led them from Persia to the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and finally to Palestine. Growing up, 'Abdu'l-Bahá became Bahá'u'lláh's most intimate companion, his delegate, his refuge, and his principal representative to the political and religious authorities of that time. His extraordinary ascendancy, knowledge and service earned the exiled Bahá'í community great prestige. Also, in the aftermath of Bahá'u'lláh's death in May 1892, 'Abdu'l-Bahá took the reins of the Bahá'í Faith to safeguard its unity.

Montreal, October 5, 2018- The last of a five series lectures on Islám was attended by a number of friends and researchers on the subject, at the newly renovated Montreal Bahá’í Centre. This fourth annual series of lectures were held in memory of Raymond Flournoy who spent over forty years teaching and studying the Bahá’í Faith in his home in Montreal. Many accepted the Faith by attending his weekly Firesides, some without even knowing English!

The purpose of these lectures on Islám, as it has been mentioned over and over by professor Todd Lawson, is to create an awareness amongst the general public that the real image of Islám is not what we see in the 21stcentury media. Exhilarated by the Writings of the Bahá’í Faith on Islám, Todd prepared these courses very carefully and, generously put them at our disposal.

This was the story of Muhammad, a genuine world spiritual hero, the least known outside His own community! During the course of these lectures, the general outline of Muhammad’s remarkable life and profile of His heroism were discussed and supported by His own revealed Holy Book, the Qurán as well as the Bahá’í Writings. The major accomplishments of His work, His knowledge and His exceptional humanity were brought to our attention. It is remarkable to notice the volume of writings, poetry and drama composed throughout centuries, elucidating, celebrating and glorifying this simple man of Arabia who introduced a unique world civilization to mankind. Arts and sciences, poetry and drama, music and opera – all flourished under the banner of the Prophet of Arabia- Almost unknown in the Western world.

It seems that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the first Eastern visitor who introduced Islám to the West during his three years visit to the two continents of Europe and North America in 1912. He spoke in many churches, synagogues, groups and meetings about the truth of Islám. It is heartening to realize that we can now appreciate greatly this unique Being, Muhammad, His mission, His sufferings, His compassion and His legacy through the Writings of the Founders of Bahá’í Faith.

Bahá’u’lláh in His Book “Gems of Divine Mysteries” speaks of Muhammad in following terms: “Know then that when Muhammad, the Point of the Qur'an and the Light of the All-Glorious, came with perspicuous verses and luminous proofs manifested in such signs as are beyond the power of all existence to produce, He bade all men follow this lofty and outstretched Path in accordance with the precepts that He had brought from God. Whoso acknowledged Him, recognized the signs of God in His inmost Being, and saw in His beauty the changeless beauty of God, the decree of "resurrection", "ingathering", "life", and "paradise" was passed upon him. For he who had believed in God and in the Manifestation of His beauty was raised from the grave of heedlessness, gathered together in the sacred ground of the heart, quickened to the life of faith and certitude, and admitted into the paradise of the divine presence. What paradise can be loftier than this, what ingathering mightier, and what resurrection greater? Indeed, should a soul be acquainted with these mysteries, he would grasp that which none other hath fathomed.”

The bahaimontreal.orgis happy to announce that a new page will be added to this website devoted to the Writings of the Central Figures of the Bahá’í Faith in regard to Muhammad, a Messenger of God and the object of reverence of millions of people throughout the world!

The Emeritus Professor of Islamic Thought at the University of Toronto, Todd Lawson, has thought in the field of Islamic Studies for over forty years and published numerous books and articles in Qur’ánic studies and related topics. He is also an enthusiastic lecturer on the above subject and has travelled vastly in Europe, United-States and the Middle East. His recent book on the Qur’án published by Oneworld Academic 2017, received enthusiastic reviews by a great number of scholars in this field.   

Montreal, November 19, 2017 – The plural is chosen for the theme "our futures" is far from a coincidence, since the diversity of forms, themes, graphic creations to contemplate the future for youth have been widely denoted!

This year, it is on this theme "our futures" that the Book Fair as well as the Youth Publications have chosen to lead the programming of this literary festival. Meetings, workshops and exhibitions have highlighted the many representations made by the creators of children's literature.

Whatever the plurality of its genres and forms, literary creation for youth has the capacity to capture the subject of the future with an infinite range of thematic and graphic possibilities.


The 40th edition of the Montreal Book Fair has been magical with six captivating days of book discoveries, rich exchanges and dynamic activities for all tastes. 120,000 visitors were welcomed, 3,000 authors, 450 exhibitors as well as more than 880 publishing houses were present. The Bahá'í booth received hundreds of visitors including journalists and regular annual visitors of the Salon. Four ministers and five provincial deputies, one federal minister and a former prime minister of Canada were also among the visitors.

This year, Bahá'í Publishing Trust offered visitors a theme related to "SERVICE, the highest expression of human nature". Throughout the exhibition, from November 14 to 19, dozens of young people engaged in deep conversations about the principles that could change society. Three large multicolored posters including Bahá'í principles adorned the walls of the booth, with a design of great beauty.

The 41st edition of the Montreal Book Fair was again marked by an overwhelming amount of varied activities for readers of all ages and for all tastes! The visitors were dazzled by the beauty of decorative panels of the Bahá'í Booth designed by a talented artist from the Montreal community, Elham Paiendeh.

Eighteen thousand young people were welcomed with their teachers during the three days reserved for them. A host of activities have been designed to draw their curiosity and increase their reading pleasure! Adolescents are more likely to read than we can think, and the Bahá'í Booth has given them a place to express their impressions.

The experience of these six days of celebration makes it undeniable that the Montreal Book Fair remains an essential showcase for books and culture, as well as a place of exchange, discovery and listening. Pleased with the success of this 41stedition, the organizing Committee would like to warmly thank all of our collaborators, volunteers, illustrators, editors, readers and the media that supported us during this annual event!

 

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