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News

Montreal, July 6, 2018 – "The Divine Plan" was the subject of a workshop presented to the “Frères de la Consolata” Mission by a friend of the Montreal Bahá'í Community. For a decade, this group of brothers have been doing a series of studies to get acquainted with other religious groups throughout Montreal and this workshop was the continuation of their exploration. The first meeting with a member of this group took place at the Salon du livre de Montréal in November 2002 and we have been working together since then.

During this half-day presentation, the views of scientists, sociologists as well as the Bahá'í perspective were examined. The participants were pleasantly surprised that the “Divine Plan … is at variance with the shadowy views, the impotent doctrines, the crude theories, the idle imaginings, the fashionable conceptions of a transient and troublous age.”!*

Historian and professor at the Department of History of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Yuval Noah Harari insists that the capacity of a human being gives him the opportunity to "become a god."!  At the same time, he asks himself the question: "Is there anything more dangerous than unsatisfied and irresponsible gods who do not know what they want? "

On the other hand, the Bahá'í Writings prove "... that the world of existence stands in utmost need of an educator, and that its education must be achieved through a celestial power. There is no doubt that this celestial power is divine revelation, and that the world must be educated through this power which transcends human power."*

The concept of the knowledge of God as suggested by Albert Einstein - "Explain to me first what do you mean by God and I will tell you if I believe it”, has been examined. The group came to the conclusion that the quotation from Bahá'u'lláh, "God, the unknowable Essence, the Divine Being, is immensely exalted beyond every human attribute …"* is the most complete of the other suggested definitions!

Since the definition of a plan is "an orderly sequence of operations intended to achieve a goal," we concluded that the Divine Plan must have a purpose. Bahá'u'lláh says, " The purpose of God in creating man hath been, and will ever be, to enable him to know his Creator and to attain His Presence. To this most excellent aim, this supreme objective, all the heavenly Books and the divinely-revealed and weighty Scriptures unequivocally bear witness. "*

“…One must search after truth, become enraptured and enthralled with any sanctified soul in whom one finds it, and become wholly attracted to the outpouring grace of God. Like a moth, one must be a lover of the light, in whatever lamp it may shine; and like a nightingale, one must be enamoured of the rose, in whatever bower it may bloom.”*

The Frères present were unanimous that the "Divine Plan" is a perpetual process that changes from age to age according to the need of time. That only the Divine Messengers have the capacity and the power to lead human beings to this common goal of unity and peace. That this process is continuous, progressive, evolving and in accordance with the needs of the time we live.

The Institute of Missionaries of the Consolata was founded in Turin in 1901 by Fr Joseph Allamano with an essentially missionary purpose. For him, evangelization included the promotion of people and societies. This Catholic religious community comprises about 1,000 brothers, 1,000 sisters and about a hundred secular collaborators who are actively involved in socio-economic micro-projects, especially in developing countries.

The photo shows the motor-ambulance drivers of Notre Dame de la Consolata hospital in Neisu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Equipment and medications are the contributions of Canadian organizations.

*Source :Bahá’í Writings

Montreal, May 24, 2018 – In a packed synagogue of several hundred members of Jewish Community, guests, members of Canadian Parliament and Ministers of Government, the Message of Unity of Humankind, declared by Bahá’u’lláh, was proclaimed.

The occasion was the Celebration of 70th year of existence of the State of Israel and the services that this nation has rendered to the Global Community. The Public Affairs of Montreal and Norman Simon's Canadians for Coexistence in co-operation with Congregation Shomrim Laboker presented an evening of civil society celebrating the civilization of Israel. The participants and presenters included diplomats, elected officials from all levels of government, journalists, social activists, businessmen and cultural and faith community leaders. It was a once in a generation gathering of best and brightest speaking from the heart on what the example of Israel has meant to them. Among the speakers there were:
-       Israeli Consul General David Levy
-       US Consul Robert Dhalke
-       Romanian Consul General Ioana Costache
-       The Hon. David Kilgour, PC, former Secretary of State for Central Europe and the Middle East
-       The Hon. Maxime Bernier,PC, MP, former Minister of Foreign Affairs
-       The Hon. Kathleen Weil, MNA, Minister responsible for relations with Anglophone Quebecers
-       Sen.Leo Housakos, former Speaker of the Senate
-       The Hon. Gerry Weiner, PC, former Minister of Immigration
-       David Birnbaum, MNA and Parliamentary Assistant to Premier Couillard
-       Marvin Rotrand, Dean of Montreal City Council
-       Mary Deros, City Council member and former Deputy Mayor of Montreal

The two members of External Affairs of the Bahá’í Community of Montreal presented the historic relationship of the Faith with Israel starting with the following famous quote of Bahá’u’lláh addressed to Professor Edward Granville Browne of Cambridge University in April 1890:
"… That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled — what harm is there in this? … Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come.… Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind."

It was mentioned that Bahá’u’lláh who was expelled to the Holy Land through “successive banishments, culminating in His exile to the Turkish penal colony of Acre in Israel, and His subsequent death, and burial in its vicinity…” – therefore the Bahá’í Faith joined Judaism, Christianity and Islam which for centuries have recognized the Holy Land as sacred.

In 1891, Baha’u’llah designated Mount Carmel as the site for the world headquarters of His Faith. He also directed that the remains of the Báb, the Herald of the Faith and a Prophet in His own right, be buried on Mount Carmel. (1819-1850).

In 1892 Baha’u’llah passed away in a mansion on the outskirts of Akko and was buried nearby, His Shrine thereby becoming the most holy place on earth for Baha’is.

In 1953, the golden-domed, white marble superstructure was erected over the mausoleum of the Báb, completing the Shrine that is the second holiest place for Bahá'ís.

Over the years, Bahá'ís have built a series of gardens, encompassing other holy monuments, as well as other administrative buildings in the Haifa/ Acre area. All are funded entirely by contributions from the worldwide Bahá'í community.

Two years after the end of World War 2, the British Mandate was coming to an end and the newly born United Nations appointed a special committee on Palestine to look at the future of the land. In response to an inquiry by the committee’s chairman as to the religious interest of the Bahá’ís, some unique characteristics of the Faith’s position in the Holy Land was brought to their attention.

It is in the soil of this land “that the three central Figures of our religion are buried”, referring to Baha’u’llah, the Bab, and to Baha’u’llah’s son, Abdu’l-Baha. The Holy land “is not only the centre of Bahá’í pilgrimages from all over the world but also the permanent seat of its Administrative Order.”

The controversial topic of the future political status of the Holy Land was addressed as follows: “Our aim is the establishment of universal peace in this world and our desire to see justice prevail in every domain of human society, including the domain of politics.

As many of the adherents of our Faith are of Jewish and Moslem extraction we have no prejudice towards either of these groups and are most anxious to reconcile them for their mutual benefit and for the good of the country.”

The Baha’is are grateful that the government of Israel acknowledged and permanently safeguarded the independence of the Faith, its right to manage its international affairs from that area, and the right of Bahá’ís from every country to visit it as pilgrims.

“It must be remembered that the only oriental notable of any standing whatsoever who had not fled from Palestine before the War of Independence was Shoghi Effendi, the Head of the Bahá’í Faith in 1948. This fact was not lost upon the authorities of the new State [of Israel],”
“One of [the Jewish independence movement’s] first acts when the World War was still going on, had been to place a notice on the Shrine of Baha’u’llah – much more isolated than the Shrines in Haifa – stating that it was a Lieu Saint or ‘Holy Place’, thus ensuring that it would be treated with respect by all Jews.”
 
The Baha’i World Centre, with some 700-volunteer staff from around the world, is a symbol of the unity of humanity, and provides an example of how people of diverse national and religious backgrounds can come together in harmony and work for the peace and prosperity of the world.

The city of Haifa and the government of Israel have welcomed the Bahá'í presence and the beautification on the Mt Carmel. The former Mayor of Haifa, Amram Mitzna, wrote that the completed Gardens and Terraces for the Shrine of the Báb offer "unforgettably stunning panorama" for the "appreciation of all beauty lovers."

Several speakers including Israeli Consul General David Levy, referred to the presence of the Bahá’ís in the Holy Land and acknowledged its contribution to peace and harmony in Israel.

At the reception which followed, Norman Simon who was the principle organizer of the event, received an information kit about the Bahá’í Faith. Many interfaith representatives welcomed the Bahá’ís and invited them to their future events

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, May 24, 2018 - Some 150 friends and members of the Montreal community gathered at the Bahá’í Center to celebrate the anniversary of the mission of the Báb, the Herald of the Faith. This event, which took place in a modest house in Shiráz 174 years ago, denotes the beginning of the Bahá’í Era and the New Era in World Civilization. Special prayers accompanied by music and historical texts about the events of the Báb's Declaration were presented by the Bahá'í friends of Heart of the East, Montreal, with the help of the children and youth of the community.

 The Bahá’í era dates from May 23, 1844 when, in the Iranian City of Shiraz, the Báb declared His mission. On that occasion, He spoke these words to Mulla Husayn, the first person to recognize that mission: "Verily I say, I am the Báb, the Gate of God.... This night, this very hour will, in the days to come, be celebrated as one of the greatest and most significant of all festivals."

Bahá’u’lláh refers to the Báb as ‘My former manifestation’. Following his declaration, the Báb sent Mulla Husayn to Teheran to seek out Baha’u’llah, who instantly accepted the Bab’s message, and summoned all those around him to do the same. Thus from the earliest days of the Baha’i Faith the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh were united in spirit.

We can better understand the meaning of this Baha’i holy day, characterized as this ‘greatest and most significant of all festivals’ if we reflect on how, since that period, the world has utterly changed. Baha’is believe that the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh released a creative energy that is transforming everything about human life.

Bahá’u’lláh wrote. “A new life is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth; and yet none hath discovered its cause or perceived its motive. This new life is apparent in such things as the explosion of human knowledge, in steps that reflect a growing consciousness of the oneness of the human family, the establishment of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, world-wide undertakings to improve agriculture and hygiene, and medical care, efforts to elevate international standards and laws, and a recognition of the need to advance the status of women and girls.

Beginnings are always special – a wedding, the birth of a baby, the appearance of some wonderful new invention or process. How much more special, then, is the anniversary of the Declaration of the Báb, which was the moment of birth for a new religious community. Now a community of approximately 5 million established throughout the world, Baha’is work hand in hand with other communities, well-wishers, partners and collaborators to fulfill the promises of the Bab and Baha’u’llah that will see humanity living together in peace and prosperity.

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.

Montréal, May 16, 2018 - Secondary 1 students at the Collège de Montréal visited the Bahá'í Shrine, the former home of Montréal architect William Sutherland Maxwell, on Wednesday, May 16. This house, the only sacred place in North America, was blessed by Abdu'l-Bahá's stay in Montreal in 1912.

The 25 students were accompanied by their animator for spiritual life and community involvement at the Collège de Montréal. Indeed, the college offers a course of ethics and religious culture that allows students to know the major religions of the world. Throughout the year, students explore how different religions in Quebec and elsewhere have influenced our lives, our traditions and our way of understanding our society.

The Collège de Montréal has a diverse community of students from many countries around the world. Through this activity, it is desirable for students to interact with people from different religious traditions, which will allow for a better dialogue between them and the people they live with every day. Thus, the students develop their knowledge as well as increase their horizons.

This year, the fourth year since students of the Collège visited the Shrine, we received 25 students accompanied by two teachers. During the one-and-a-half hour visit, an excerpt from the "Light of the World" video was presented and information about the history and principles of the Bahá'í Faith was shared with the students. They received pamphlets on the Bicentennial of Bahá'u'lláh's birth and the repertoire of Bahá'í Holy days and Calendar. Each student had the task to complete a questionnaire about their experience during the visit and write about the main topics they have learned. A period was allocated to questions and discussion to help them to complete this task.

The students were very respectful when visiting the Shrine. They asked many questions about the decorative objects displayed in different rooms of the Maxwell Home and their significance. They expressed their joy at having the opportunity to visit this sacred place in Montreal.

This year, the Collège de Montréal celebrates the 250th year of its founding. It was founded in 1767 by the Sulpician Jean-Baptiste Curatteau of the Blaiserie, the Collège moved then into the enlarged presbytery of the parish of St. Francis of Assisi of Longue Pointe, east of the Island of Montreal, 125 years after the founding of this city and 100 years before Canadian Confederation.

This annual visit to the Collège de Montréal has not been possible without the support of a small team of friends, dedicated to community service.

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 ...

 

Montreal, April 22, 2018 – A delegation from the Bahá'í Community and dozens of other community organizations were invited by the Borough of Saint-Laurent to Centre des loisirs on the occasion of Volunteer Appreciation Brunch 2018. During the past three decades, a number of individuals in this community have been actively involved in the events of various organizations in the Borough, such as the YMCA, COSSEL and the International Day of Peace. 

During the appreciation ceremony, a slideshow of the activities of the youth and children of the Bahá'í Community as well as the Bicentenary celebration was presented to participants on a giant screen! The purpose of our undertakings which is to improve the conditions of the present society through youth empowerment and service were also highlighted in the Slide-show. 

The Volunteer Appreciation Brunch highlights the many initiatives that community organizations have undertaken over the past years. 

At the 26th Volunteer Brunch, the Mayor Alan DeSousa and Councilors paid tribute to all those who help make Saint-Laurent a dynamic community through their dedication and commitment to various organizations. Centre des loisirs hosted more than 300 volunteers representing some 70 organizations in Saint-Laurent. The Mayor, in his speech, emphasized the importance of community work and its influence on peace and tranquility that reigns in this borough thanks to our dedicated volunteers.

The borough of Saint-Laurent embraces the largest ethnic diversity in Montreal, some 70 varieties, speaking over a hundred languages and dialects. 53% of the population of this borough is composed of immigrants! More than half of the residents in this municipality can carry a conversation in both French and English (59%). French remains however the language mostly used at home, although English and Arabic are also spoken daily by a large number of people.

This neighborhood has many community-based organizations working in various spheres of activity: employment, education, housing, food security, etc. 

The Volunteer Appreciation Brunch is a special time to gather around a meal, celebrate the many achievements and recognize all the work accomplished throughout the past year.

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. ".

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.

 

Bahá'í Center

 

177, av des Pins E
Montréal, QC H2W 1N9
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Phone: 514-849-0753

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Montreal Shrine

 

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

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