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!


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