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News

Montreal, September 21, 2021 - Each year, on this day, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world. The UN General Assembly has declared this day as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

The celebration of the International Day of Peace took place in Beaudet Park, also known as "Peace Park", under a bright sun, in a warm, friendly and respectful atmosphere in the presence of elected officials, including Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa and members of the Saint-Laurent Council, a dozen representatives of institutions and community organizations in the borough, the Saint-Laurent Intercultural Committee of the COSSL (Saint-Laurent Committee of Social Organizations), the Bahá’í Community of Montreal and several distinguished guests.  

The improvement of the sanitary conditions in Quebec having allowed the reopening of the schools and following sanitary instructions, the students of the schools of Saint-Laurent did not participate in the celebration. However, a message of Love and Unity was addressed to them by Gigi Vidal, the representative of the Intercultural Committee of Saint-Laurent and the Bahá'í Community of Montreal:

“Youth are our ambassadors and peace builders! Together you can change the world! Congratulations on your messages of commitment to peace! We wish you health and success in your studies.”

A message of deep gratitude for their courage and resilience was also expressed to all those who are still working tirelessly on the front line, the health care staff, the community organizations and the volunteers who continue to provide services to the population.

“May our relations with our fellow human beings always be marked by love and harmony, by the most friendly and fraternal spirit. So powerful is the light of unity that it can illumine the whole earth.”

Alan DeSousa, for whom the theme of peace, community safety and a green and sustainable economy are topics very close to his heart, stressed the importance of "starting with simple gestures such as maintaining good relations with our neighbours, keeping our street clean or offering help to an elderly person in our neighbourhood."

For almost two decades, our administration has been multiplying initiatives to become a leader in this field," added the borough's mayor, "and we are reaping the results with, for example, 310 housing units in 2020, almost all plan for LEED certification, an agent approved by the Urban Planning Advisory Committee. And what about the 657 new trees planted in 2020 alone! In Saint-Laurent, every little thing counts.”

The 2021 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”. We invite you to join the efforts of the United Nations family as we focus on recovering better for a more equitable and peaceful world. Celebrate peace by standing up against acts of hate online and offline, and by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic, and as we recover.

All those who contributed to the success of this ceremony were warmly thanked for their commitment and support in promoting peace: the children of the Bon courage Community Centre and Cari Saint-Laurent for their collective work, the students of the École internationale des apprenants for their poem and poster, the poet Ranim Natout of Cari, the team of Salua Said Abbas and Céline Goudreau for the peace mural and the Lions International Foundation for their Peace Poster Contest!

 

Montreal, September 5, 2021 - The world of humanity has been revolutionized since this prophecy of Bahá’u’lláh: “From two ranks amongst men power hath been seized: kings and ecclesiastics.” Those powerful individual who ruled over humankind for centuries are no more! In another Tablet addressed to Shaykh Salmán, He said: “One of the signs of the maturity of the world is that no one will accept to bear the weight of kingship. Kingship will remain with none willing to bear alone its weight.” Nevertheless, He confirms in another Tablet that “We do not wish the countries of the world should remain deprived thereof (the kings).” – this latter point has been materialized to some extent! – We had two monarchs who accepted the Faith in the 20th Century; the Queen Mary of Romania and the late King of Samoa Malietoa Tanumafili II.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá originally did not plan to travel to Montreal. It was the devoted and selfless services of May Maxwell in Paris and on the Canadian soil which acted as a strong magnet to draw Him to Montreal. His visit to Montreal constituted the most remarkable episode in the whole of His American tour. To begin with, the newspaper coverage of His visit was particularly noteworthy. From the first evening of His arrival to this city until the last day there were articles published continuously  in Montreal Daily Papers. A study of the articles published shows that they were free of journalistic quirks and extravagancies. The newspapers in Montreal excelled consistency in tone, range and substance far and above all the other newspapers in the United States and some of Europe!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ toured the downtown area on the first day of His visit to Montreal accompanied by the well-known architect Sutherland Maxwell. They passed in front of the Church of the Messiah on Sherbrooke street. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ said to his companions: “tomorrow from this church we will raise the Call of the Kingdom. It was on September first that He gave His first congregational address in that church. He ended His address by revealing a prayer which ends with these words : “… O God! Endear this assembly to Thyself. Sanctify these souls, and cast upon them the rays of Thy guidance. … O Lord! Make us brethren in Thy love, and cause us to be loving toward all Thy children. Confirm us in service to the world of humanity so that we may become the servants of Thy servants, that we may love all Thy creatures and become compassionate to all Thy people. ....”

The subject of the talk was printed in the newspapers and was subject of many days of public conversation! There were constant telephone calls made to Maxwell residence. Everybody wanted to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and a great number of people turned up at Maxwell’s home. The living room, the dining room, the study, the entrance and even the staircase were full of visitors.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to them every evening and every afternoon, some days He gave three talks! In one occasion so forceful was His speech, so emphatic His movement that His head-cover fell off and He made no attempt to replace it. He went on speaking for another half hour. Then He walked through the thronged assemblage, upstairs to His room. People could not tear themselves away and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá came back and spoke once again. Even then, there were individuals begging to be received by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His room, and He received a good many. He decided that night to move to a hotel. The next day He took a suite of three rooms in Hotel Windsor. Nevertheless, the meetings continued particularly every evening at the Maxwell home. He had also other meetings with prominent people at the Hotel. There were two other important congregational meetings held in Montreal, one in Coronation Hall on September third and the next one on September 5th  at St. James Methodist church. Both events were reported by the Montreal Gazette the next day.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was not well enough to keep such a heavy schedule and the weather was not particularly pleasant either during His stay in Montreal. He caught cold that same evening of September 5th and that is why the city was fortunate enough to have Him for nine days otherwise He intended to leave by September 6th! He would occasionally, when finding a moment of leisure, go out for a drive or walk.

Once He went all alone and boarded a tram car which took him some way out of the city. Alighting from that one He rode in another which also had an outward route. He then took a taxi, but could not recall the name of the hotel. However He could indicate the right direction to the cabman who brought him to His hotel! Being amused by the incident, He related to His companions the story of a believer in Akká who was riding a donkey and lost his way not knowing where he was. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had told this man that whenever this happens he should cast off the donkey’s halter. The beast finding itself free, had directed its steps to their destination! In the same manner, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said laughingly, He had rightly directed His cabman!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had no formal schooling, a prisoner for forty years, unfamiliar with Western culture and languages, nevertheless, He had a reasonable knowledge of English but not enough to give public talks. He knew Persian, Arabic and Turkish in perfection. We are fortunate to have published Tablets, Prayers, Talks and correspondences of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in those language.

He left Montreal on September 9th for Buffalo, changed train in Toronto where He took a walk around the station while He was waiting for His train to Hamilton. There a newspaper man photographed Him at the station, the only photograph of His nine days stay in Canada!

When leaving Montreal, the Master gave to May Maxwell the shoes in which He had walked the streets of the city and all over the rooms in the Maxwell home. He also gave the family a Persian silk carpet which is now displayed in the Montreal Shrine, His home, as He had mentioned in a conversation with May Maxwell!

During the nine days of His visit in Montreal, some 2500 people heard ‘Abdu’l-Bahá speak or had direct contact with Him. Some 440,000 readers of Montreal Press, in English and French, also became aware of His Teachings.

References : - US Bahá’í Publishing Trust - Promulgation of the Universal Peace, Page 297

             G. Roland - Baluyzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá –

            Wilfrid Laurier University Press - Will C. Van den Hoonaard, The Origin of the Bahá’í Community of Canada 1898-1948

            Canada Publishing Trust - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Canada

            G. Roland - Mahmúd Zarqani, Mahmúd’s Diary

            UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust - Shoghi-Effendi, God Passes By

            UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust - Shoghi-Effendi, The Promised Day is come!

Montreal, May 29, 2012 - At the dawn of this day, the Bahá'í world as well as the Montreal community commemorated the ascension of the Divine Messenger for our Era, Bahá'u'lláh!

With the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh draws to a close a period which, in many ways, is unparalleled in the world's religious history. The first century of the Bahá'í Era had by now run half its course. An epoch, unsurpassed in its sublimity, its fecundity and duration by any previous Dispensation, and characterized, except for a short interval of three years, by half a century of continuous and progressive Revelation, had terminated. The Message proclaimed by The Báb had yielded its golden fruit. The most momentous, though not the most spectacular phase of the Heroic Age had ended. The Sun of Truth, the world's greatest Luminary, had risen in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran, had broken through the clouds which enveloped it in Baghdad, had suffered a momentary eclipse whilst mounting to its zenith in Adrianople and had set finally in Akka, never to reappear ere the lapse of a full millenium. God's newborn Faith, the cynosure of all past Dispensations, had been fully and unreservedly proclaimed. The prophecies announcing its advent had been remarkably fulfilled. Its fundamental laws and cardinal principles, the warp and woof of the fabric of its future World Order, had been clearly enunciated. Its organic relation to, and its attitude towards, the religious systems which preceded it had been unmistakably defined. The primary institutions, within which an embryonic World Order was destined to mature, had been unassailably established. The Covenant designed to safeguard the unity and integrity of its world-embracing system had been irrevocably bequeathed to posterity. The promise of the unification of the whole human race, of the inauguration of the Most Great Peace, of the unfoldment of a world civilization, had been incontestably given. The dire warnings, foreshadowing catastrophes destined to befall kings, ecclesiastics, governments and peoples, as a prelude to so glorious a consummation, had been repeatedly uttered. The significant summons to the Chief Magistrates of the New World, forerunner of the Mission with which the North American continent was to be later invested, had been issued. The initial contact with a nation, a descendant of whose royal house was to espouse its Cause ere the expiry of the first Bahá'í century, had been established. The original impulse which, in the course of successive decades, has conferred, and will continue to confer, in the years to come, inestimable benefits of both spiritual and institutional significance upon God's holy mountain, overlooking the Most Great Prison, had been imparted. And finally, the first banners of a spiritual conquest which, ere the termination of that century, was to embrace no less than sixty countries in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres had been triumphantly planted.

In the vastness and diversity of its Holy Writ; in the number of its martyrs; in the valor of its champions; in the example set by its followers; in the condign punishment suffered by its adversaries; in the pervasiveness of its influence; in the incomparable heroism of its Herald; in the dazzling greatness of its Author; in the mysterious operation of its irresistible spirit; the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, now standing at the threshold of the sixth decade of its existence*, had amply demonstrated its capacity to forge ahead, indivisible and incorruptible, along the course traced for it by its Founder, and to display, before the gaze of successive generations, the signs and tokens of that celestial potency with which He Himself had so richly endowed it.

 

*1944, God Passes By, Shoghi-Effendi

Montreal, August 31, 2021 – The period between August 31 and September 9, marks 109th anniversary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s journey to Montreal and 178 years after His birth on May 23, 1844! A life, abundant, spacious and immeasurable which cannot adequately described.

He was eight years old when He was taken to the dungeon of Tehrán to see His Father under the weight of a heavy chain. From that tender age until the age of 77 when His work was done in this realm of existence, He lived a life of total self-abnegation, of unbroken, unqualified service to God and humankind.

His Father Bahá’u’lláh, bestowed upon Him many titles such as «the Greatest Branch», «the Mystery of God», «the Master» but once the responsibility of the leadership of the Bahá’í Community was given to Him, He chose to be known as «’Abdu’l-Bahá», the servant of Glory-Bahá.

Once an American scientist and President of Stanford University, Dr. David Starr Jordan (1851-1931), remarked that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá walked «the mystic path with practical feet, … He will surely unite the East and the West» and a Biblical scholar from Oxford University, Dr. T.K. Cheyne (1841-1915), spoke of Him as «the ambassador to Humanity».

Since His birth, the world of humanity has been revolutionized. Within a few hours after His birth, the first telegraphic message was sent from Washington to Baltimore containing this remarkable phrase from the Bible suggested to Samuel Morse by Annie Ellsworth, the young daughter of the U.S. Commissioner of Patents. She opened the Bible apparently and saw the following sentence from Numbers 23:23, «Behold, What hath God wrought!». This was the message which was sent across continent for the first time in history of telecommunications!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was 67 years old when He undertook His two and a half years journey to Europe and North America on August 1910. He was not in good health, a victim of consumption from early age, He had to stay longer than He had planned, in cities such as Paris and Montreal, to recuperate. He was a prisoner and exile practically all His life nevertheless the moment He gained His freedom following the Turkish revolution in July 1908, He decided to carry the Message of His Father to the West.

Edward G. Brown was the first person to bring the Bahá’í Faith to the attention of Americans during the lifetime of Bahá’u’lláh, then a Syrian Christian Physician by the name of Ibrahim Khayr’ulláh who subsequently became a Bahá’í and migrated to the United States propagated the Faith there. Ibrahim arrived at New York in December 1892 and moved to Chicago in February 1894 where the name of Bahá’u’lláh mentioned during the first Parliament of Religions in September 1898. The first person of Christian background who accepted the Message in North America was Thornton Chase who met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in prison of Akká. In his remarkable book «In Galilee», Thornton Chase writes of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: «He is the Master! He is the Christ-Spirit of this great age, He is the Anointed One! The Appointed of His Father, that Father was the Greatest Manifestation of God – Bahá’u’lláh. He is the Centre of the Covenant; the healer and satisfier of longing hearts! The king of Servitude to Humanity!».

Thornton Chase passed away when the Master reached the shores of Pacific in 1912. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a short talk at the gravesite in Inglewood Cemetery, Los Angeles and mentioned that  Thornton Chase was the first American Bahá’í whose services will ever be remembered in the future. He advised the friends to visit his grave and lay flowers on behalf of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s steps touched the North American shores, there were only a handful of Bahá’ís in the continent among them the young May Ellis Boles who became a Bahá’í in Paris.

Kate Cowan Ives (1863-1927), originally from Newfoundland was the first woman in the Occident to accept the Bahá’í Faith and remain steadfast in her new found religion. The first Canadian Bahá’í however, was Edith Magee and her mother Esther Annie from London, Ontario who attended the first Parliament of Religions in September 1898. She managed to bring to the Faith many members of her family and remain active in their locality.

Photo: 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Green Acre with His translator and His diarist Mahmúd just before leaving for Montreal.

…. To be continued

 

Montreal, May 22, 2021 – The celebration of the Declaration of the Báb is one of the nine Holy Days in the Bahá’í Calendar.  it was celebrated in various Montreal boroughs as well as throughout the Bahá’í World.

 I am, I am, I am, the promised One! I am the One whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at whose mention you have risen, whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten. Verily I say, it is incumbent upon the peoples of both the East and the West to obey My word and to pledge allegiance to My person.

Two hours and eleven minutes after sunset, Siyyid `Alí-Muhammad known as the Báb (the Gate), made His declaration to Mullá Husayn-i-Bushrú'í in the upper chamber of His House in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), founding the Bábí faith. Coincidentally, on that day in Tehran, `Abdu'l-Bahá, the eldest Son of Bahá'u'lláh, was born. Bahá'u'lláh, is the Prophet-Founder of the Baháʼí Faith whose advent the Báb has been heralded. `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself was later proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh to be His own successor, thus being the third "central figure" of the Baháʼí Faith.

Where else if not in the Kitáb-i-Íqán (Book of Certitude) can the student of the Bábí Dispensation seek to find those affirmations that unmistakably attest the power and spirit which no man, except he be a Manifestation of God, can manifest? “Could such a thing,” exclaims Baha’u’llah, “be made manifest except through the power of a Divine Revelation and the potency of God’s invincible Will? By the righteousness of God! Were any one to entertain so great a Revelation in his heart the thought of such a declaration would alone confound him! Were the hearts of all men to be crowded into his heart, he would still hesitate to venture upon so awful an enterprise.” “No eye,” He in another passage affirms, “hath beheld so great an outpouring of bounty, nor hath any ear heard of such a Revelation of loving-kindness… The Prophets ‘endowed with constancy,’ whose loftiness and glory shine as the sun, were each honored with a Book which all have seen, and the verses of which have been duly ascertained. Whereas the verses which have rained from this Cloud of divine mercy have been so abundant that none hath yet been able to estimate their number… How can they belittle this Revelation? Hath any age witnessed such momentous happenings?”

[The World Order of Baha’u’llah, Shoghi Effendi]

Many people in the Eat and the West were waiting for the return of the Messiah such as the Templars in Germany, Millerites in the USA and the followers of Islam in the Middle East.

The Great Disappointment in the Millerite movement was the reaction that followed Baptist preacher William Miller's proclamations that Jesus Christ would return to the Earth by 1844, what he called the Advent. His study of the Daniel 8 prophecy during the Second Great Awakening led him to the conclusion that Daniel's "cleansing of the sanctuary" was cleansing of the world from sin when Christ would come, and he and many others prepared, but 1844 came, and what they were expecting never happened!

The most remarkable event happened on May 24, 1844 was the inauguration of the first telegraphic line officially. That was when Morse sent the famous words "What hath God wrought" from the Baltimore & Ohio Mount Clare train Station in Baltimore to the Capitol Building along the wire. These words were taken from the Bible (Numbers 23:23) and were selected by Annie Ellsworth, the daughter of U.S. Patent Commissioner Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, who had championed Morse's invention and secured early funding for it.

Evolution of science and technology has revolutionized humanity’s life ever since! As far as human relationship is concerned, we have yet a lot to learn!

Montreal, 15 August 2021 - The Bahá’í Summer School of Quebec was held this year by teleconference from 13 to 14 August with the participation of about one hundred friends from across the province.

The main focus was on honoring 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the beloved Master, in a spiritually uplifting evening designed to refresh souls in these dark times.  The program was designed to be welcoming to all races and cultures of the world. The goal of touching the heart and mind of every soul, whether they have heard of the Faith or not, or whether they are involved in the community building process or not, was admirably achieved. Since spaces like this, to which we could invite all our friends, are rare, many friends and seekers were able to take advantage of the opportunity and join us.

The main themes of the summer school this year were:

- 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Ḥuqúqu'lláh (The Rights of God)

- A special program to honour the souls of deceased Aboriginal children

- The Tablets of the Divine Plan

- Presentation: "My name is 'Abdu'l-Bahá

- Artistic Evening: Tribute to 'Abdu'l-Bahá

- 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Divine Plan

- Several workshops of consultation on the topics of the Covenant and the Divine Plan also took place.

The presence of a member of the Continental Board of Counselors for the Americas, Mr. Ayafor T Ayafor, members of the Auxiliary Board serving in Quebec, members of the Bahá'í Council of Quebec, members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada, and other Bahá'í institutions greatly enriched the quality of this particular summer school.

Member of the Continental Board of Counselors for the Americas, Mr. Ayafor T Ayafor

Montreal, April 20, 2021 – Montreal Bahá’í Community as well as the Bahá’ís around the world celebrate three days of the twelve days that Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Faith, declared His Mission in a garden in suburb of Baghdád in Iraq on April 21, 1863.

The garden belonged to Najib Pasha, the governor of Baghdád at the time and was left at Bahá’u’lláh’s disposal to stay there before leaving the city on His route to exile to Constantinople, the capital city of Ottoman Empire.

Those twelve days are known among the Bahá’ís as “Riḍván” in Arabic which can be translated as “Paradise”.   

“The arrival of Bahá'u'lláh in the Najibiyyih Garden, subsequently designated by His followers the Garden of Ridvan, signalizes the commencement of what has come to be recognized as the holiest and most significant of all Bahá'í festivals, the festival commemorating the Declaration of His Mission to His companions. So momentous a Declaration may well be regarded both as the logical consummation of that revolutionizing process which was initiated by Himself upon His return from Sulaymaniyyih, and as a prelude to the final proclamation of that same Mission to the world and its rulers from Adrianople.”

“"Many a night," writes Nabil, depicting the tumult that had seized the hearts of Bahá'u'lláh's companions, in the days prior to the declaration of His mission, "would Mirza Aqa Jan gather them together in his room, close the door, light numerous camphorated candles, and chant aloud to them the newly revealed odes and Tablets in his possession. Wholly oblivious of this contingent world, completely immersed in the realms of the spirit, forgetful of the necessity for food, sleep or drink, they would suddenly discover that night had become day, and that the sun was approaching its zenith."

Of the exact circumstances attending that epoch-making Declaration we, alas, are but scantily informed. The words Bahá'u'lláh actually uttered on that occasion, the manner of His Declaration, the reaction it produced, its impact on Mirza Yahya, the identity of those who were privileged to hear Him, are shrouded in an obscurity which future historians will find it difficult to penetrate. The fragmentary description left to posterity by His chronicler Nabil is one of the very few authentic records we possess of the memorable days He spent in that garden. "Every day," Nabil has related, "ere the hour of dawn, the gardeners would pick the roses which lined the four avenues of the garden, and would pile them in the center of the floor of His blessed tent. So great would be the heap that when His companions gathered to drink their morning tea in His presence, they would be unable to see each other across it. All these roses Bahá'u'lláh would, with His own hands, entrust to those whom He dismissed from His presence every morning to be delivered, on His behalf, to His Arab and Persian friends in the city." "One night," he continues, "the ninth night of the waxing moon, I happened to be one of those who watched beside His blessed tent. As the hour of midnight approached, I saw Him issue from His tent, pass by the places where some of His companions were sleeping, and begin to pace up and down the moonlit, flower-bordered avenues of the garden. So loud was the singing of the nightingales on every side that only those who were near Him could hear distinctly His voice. He continued to walk until, pausing in the midst of one of these avenues, He observed: 'Consider these nightingales. So great is their love for these roses, that sleepless from dusk till dawn, they warble their melodies and commune with burning passion with the object of their adoration. How then can those who claim to be afire with the rose-like beauty of the Beloved choose to sleep?' For three successive nights I watched and circled round His blessed tent. Every time I passed by the couch whereon He lay, I would find Him wakeful, and every day, from morn till eventide, I would see Him ceaselessly engaged in conversing with the stream of visitors who kept flowing in from Baghdad. Not once could I discover in the words He spoke any trace of dissimulation."*

Bahá'u'lláh Himself acclaiming that historic occasion as the "Most Great Festival," the "King of Festivals," the "Festival of God".

The Local and National Bahá’í Institutions are elected once a year during this period. For the first time in Canadian history, the Bahá’í Community used an electronic voting system due to current sanitary restrictions.

*Excerpts from “God Posses By” written by Shoghi-Effenfi, the late Gardien of the Bahá’í Faith (1897-1957)

Photo : Garden of Najib Pasha presently part of Baghdád university.

Montreal, July 9, 2021 - In Montreal and around the world, the Bahá’í Communities commemorated this Holy Day and holiday in different parts of the city by teleconference.

On July 9, 1850, at noon, approximately 10,000 people were gathered on the rooftops of buildings and houses around the courtyard of the Tabriz barracks in Persia.

The Báb and a young disciple were suspended by two ropes against a wall. The regiment of 750 Armenian Christian soldiers was arranged in three rows of 250 men each. They opened fire three times.

The shooting was so intense, Westerners report, that the sky was black and the courtyard was dark.

However, as the records of the British Foreign Office show, when the smoke cleared, the Báb had disappeared. His companion stood there unharmed, untouched by the bullets. The ropes to which they had both been tied were now only tattered.

The Báb was found in his cell, giving instructions to one of his secretaries. At daybreak, when the guards had come for him to be executed, He had told them that no "earthly power" could silence him until he had said what he had to say.

And when the guards returned for him, he calmly announced, "You may now perform your task."

So for the second time, the Báb and his young companion were brought before the firing squad. The Armenian soldiers refused to shoot a second time. So the task was given to a Muslim regiment. This time, the bodies of the two men were fused together.

In May 1844, Siyyid Ali Muhammad announced His mission in his hometown of Shiráz to one of the searching believers. He then took the title of Báb, a word that means "Gate" in Arabic.

Thereafter, the Bábíe Faith spread very rapidly in the country. The government and the clergy of Persia instantly joined forces to commit cruel misdeeds against the early followers of the Báb. Historians estimate the number of victims of these persecutions to be around 20,000.

Finally, under pressure from the clergy, the government gave the order to take the Báb to the barracks in Tabriz, Persia. They were convinced that this would stop the spread of the young Faith.

The Bahá’ís commemorate the Martyrdom of the Báb, a Holy Day and a holiday for the Bahá’ís around the world. The Báb is considered by Bahá’ís to be a Messenger of God. He is also the predecessor of Bahá'u'lláh, the Herald of the Bahá'í Faith.

* Photo from Archives of the Bahá'í World Centre - Location of the execution of the Báb

Montreal, April 10, 2021 – Once again, Raymond Flournoy Memorial Lecture series brought over one hundred friends from at least two continents of Europe and America together! The subject of this year lecture series via teleconference is “Joseph and the Covenant” dedicated to the memory of Douglas Martin who left this ephemeral world on September 2020.

For last seven years, Dr Todd Lawson, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Though at the University of Toronto has intended, through these lecture series,  to bring to our attention, that the Bahá’í and the Muslim communities in particular as well as all other Faiths are Revelations from the same Source, they are inter-related with the same purpose which is to establish unity and concord among peoples of the earth! This is one of the fundamental teachings of the Bahá’í Faith.                                                                                                                                                           

The present lecture series highlight the subject of Joseph and the Covenant to demonstrate the Plan of God for Humanity through His successive revelations in this world. Joseph, beloved son of Rachel and Jacob was a Messenger of God in his own right. Jacob, also known as “Israel”, had 12 sons but he loved Joseph more than any of the others and gave him apparently a multi-coloured cloak. His brothers were jealous of him and sold him into slavery. He was taken to Egypt and eventually became steward to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials. 

The story of Joseph has been subject of thousands of scholarly written essays in Jewish, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith and it is a befitting coincidence that this particular lecture series is being dedicated to Douglas Martin who was a lover of the Covenant. Throughout his life, Douglas was both a lover and scholar of the Covenant! His writings on the Covenant are unmatched in their eloquence and lucidity in Todd Lawson’s words. Indeed this year’s lecture series reflect befittingly his profound engagement with the Bahá’í Covenant and its implications for the society and civilisation.

The lecture series on “Joseph and the Covenant” started on March 27 and will continue until May 8, 2021, every Saturday at 3 p.m. via teleconference. Several scholars and participants in the series have already paid glorious and touching tributes to Douglas Martin. The reminiscences will continue through the remaining sessions. His soul, undoubtedly, will accompany the scholars and friends who participate in these presentations!

On March 27 a befitting tribute was paid to Raymond Flournoy and a short documentary of his life and his firesides were shown. Personal reflections of Douglas and Elizabeth Martin were shared by scholars, artists, teachers and friends.

The second session on April 3, 2021 was entirely devoted to the subject of the Covenant in the Qur’án. Dr. Todd Lawson masterly and eloquently elucidated the subject for the audience.

On April 10, Dr Stephen Lambden made a fascinating presentation on some introductory trajectories in the Bible and  Bábi-Bahá’í Scripture.

For next four weeks until May 8, eminent scholars such as Dr. Armin Eschraghi, Dr. Moojan Momen, Dr. Franklin Lewis and Dr. Todd Lawson will speak about Joseph and the Covenant  as elucidated in Shaykhi School, in the Writings of the Báb, in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and Abdu’l-Bahá as well as the Persian Mystical traditions. (see photo)

You are warmly invited to attend any of the future lectures by registering first at the link below:

https://utoronto.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcsfumupz0oGtdvXl1qrVFb1oHOP6zMdrJA 

Montreal, June 6, 2021 – A very successful devotional gather was held in downtown to commemorate the loss of 215 children from Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, the home community of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

On May 27, 2021, a Press Release from the Office of the Chief  Rosanne Casimir confirmed an unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented by the Kamloops Indian Residential School. She stated, “This past weekend, with the help of a ground penetrating radar specialist, the stark truth of the preliminary findings came to light – the confirmation of the remains of 215 children who were students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.”

“We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify. To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” stated Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir. “Some were as young as three years old. We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children.” (1)

The devastating news that the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, are buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia has appalled the nation. This discovery is a reminder of a dark and recent period of Canada’s history, its legacy of suffering and the present-day trauma for its victims. (2)

To honor these young souls, their families and their community, all friends of the Montreal community were invited to offer special prayers over the next few weeks, privately and at devotional gatherings or vigils, and especially during the Festival of Light on June 3rd and 4th. Let us call upon these powerful spiritual forces, joining with others of many different backgrounds and beliefs...

We bow our heads and offer prayers for these souls and all souls who have suffered and continue to suffer from the trauma of this dark part of our country's history. (3)

In its letter to the 19-day Feast of Light, the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Montreal explains, “ a great wrong has come to light in these past days that has brought shock, grief and indignation to the entire country. We have been riveted by news of the discovery of the fate of the 215 children who died at one of the residential schools that separated children from their parents for over a hundred years. We fear the discovery of further tragic news of the same kind. A further example of how long hidden injustices are being revealed everywhere. We are reminded of Bahá’u’lláh’s remarkable statement that in this day, “If a speck of a jewel be lost and buried beneath a mountain of stones, and lie hidden beyond the seven seas, the Hand of Omnipotence will assuredly reveal it in this day. . .” It is a moment of great soul-searching for our country and of sympathy for native Canadians everywhere. A response is required. The National Spiritual Assembly has written to the Bahá’í community of Canada suggesting what that might be and we commend it to you tonight to read together and act on. We can only hope and pray that as this heartbreaking story unfolds it may lead to much greater appreciation of the extraordinary capacities of the first peoples and that their inherent spirituality will be seen as one of Canada’s greatest blessings. (4)

Over the course of the week, dozens of Devotional Gatherings will be held in neighborhoods across the city to commemorate this immense tragic loss that has shaken the country.

References:

(1) Press Release Office of Chief Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7

(2) Letter of the NSA of Canada dated May 31, 2021

(3) Letter of comité CEG addressed to the 19 Days Feast of Núr

(4) Letter June 5, 2021 from the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Montreal

 

 

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