Montreal, April 21, 2023 – The Montreal Bahá’í Community, like other similar localities around the world, celebrated the Most Great Festival of the Bahá’í calendar, the historically unique Festival of Riḍván. It is an occasion to elect the Bahá’í Institutions throughout the world, whether locally or nationally. Thus, the Montreal Community elected its local administrative body of nine individuals who are going to serve the Community for one year. It was the first time that such gathering was held at the Montreal Bahá’í Centre since the pandemic started in 2019.

This day also marks Bahá’u’lláh’s time in the garden of Riḍván outside of Baghdád in 1863. There, for the first time, He publicly declared His station as a Manifestation of God.

“The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful is fast approaching. Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new. Speak, and hold not thy peace. 1” 

What Bahá’u’lláh announced in the garden of Riḍván is outstanding. Not only did He claim to be a new Manifestation of God, but also the Promised One foretold in the Sacred Scriptures of all of the world’s great religions. He is the fulfillment in the continuum of Divine Messengers, who include Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and the Bab.

Shoghi Effendi elaborates Bahá’u’lláh’s station in God Passes By

To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the “Everlasting Father,” the “Lord of Hosts” come down “with ten thousands of saints”; to Christendom Christ returned “in the glory of the Father,” to Shi’ah Islam the return of the Imam Husayn; to Sunni Islam the descent of the “Spirit of God” (Jesus Christ); to the Zoroastrians the promised Shah-Bahram; to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna; to the Buddhists the fifth Buddha. 2

Bahá’u’lláh refers to Himself as follows:

He it is Who hath laid bare before you the hidden and treasured Gem, were ye to seek it. He it is Who is the one Beloved of all things, whether of the past or of the future. 1

This is the Paradise the rustling of whose leaves proclaimeth: “O ye that inhabit the heavens and the earth! There hath appeared what hath never previously appeared. He Who, from everlasting, had concealed His Face from the sight of creation is now come.” 3

Bahá’u’lláh is giving us a dual responsibility. Not only are we asked to recognize Him and His station, but we are asked to obey His laws – such as spreading His Teachings actively, serving others, and manifesting goodly qualities such as love, generosity and kindness towards all.

Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He Who is the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Riḍván and entered it. Guide, then, the people unto the garden of delight which God hath made the Throne of His Paradise. We have chosen thee to be Our most mighty Trumpet, whose blast is to signalize the resurrection of all mankind. 3

Athough the garden of Riḍván was a location in Baghdád, but it could also be a spiritual place, a garden of delight, or City of Certitude.

What is important about Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings is the fact that He came to build a New World Order, to transform souls and to rejuvenate both individuals and collective society. Through the power of the Divine Springtime, we are able to make a new creation of ourselves as well as our communities.

… We have caused every soul to expire by virtue of Our irresistible and all-subduing sovereignty. We have, then, called into being a new creation, as a token of Our grace unto men. I am, verily, the All-Bountiful, the Ancient of Days. 3

In a Tablet revealed on the ninth day of Riḍván, Bahá’u’lláh asks God to help some of the believers to know themselves better. Since one can associate the period of Riḍván to fine-tuning all the understandings we acquire during the time of the Fast, the following quote is very endearing:

O Lord, help certain souls among them to know their own selves and to restrain their tongues, lest they utter that which would abase their stations and bring their works to naught. Thou, verily, hast power over all things. 4

All in all, the Writings make us realize the privilege of recognizing Bahá’u’lláh’s station and drinking even a drop of the chalice of eternal life, which ultimately is His Message and Teachings:

Drink deep, O ye dwellers of earth and heaven, from the chalice of eternal life that the hand of Bahá proferreth in this most lofty and exalted Paradise. By God! Whoso partaketh but a drop thereof shall neither suffer the vicissitudes of time nor fall prey to the wiles of the Evil One, but the Lord shall send him forth in every Dispensation adorned with a hallowed and wondrous beauty. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath been made manifest from the seat of the Lord of all wisdom! 5


  1. Days of Remembrance: Selections from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh for Bahá’í Holy Days, Riḍván # 6
  2. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979 second printing, p. 94
  3. Ibid.
  4. Days of Remembrance: Selections from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh for Bahá’í Holy Days, Riḍván #17
  5. Days of Remembrance: Selections from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh for Bahá’í Holy Days, Riḍván # 7

Photo: BWC Archives - A delegate is voting during an International Convention


Montreal, March 21, 2023 – Bahá'ís from different parts of the city such as Saint-Laurent, Coeur de l’Est and Centre-Ville, celebrated the New Year of the 180th Bahá'í Era!

Nasseem, a youth from DDO had the idea of having a display showing the preparation for Naw-Ruz and “ haft seen”  installation with the hope that it will spark the curiosity of whoever chooses to visit, to explore independently all that interconnects us interculturally through this holiday. The organization of Naw-Ruz was created out of a need to empower the children of immigrants living in the diaspora under assimilation, who might feel estranged, and encourage connection to heritage, customs, language and homeland. The goal is to amplify and adapt ancient traditions, and build an accessible community for diaspora misfits. Nasseem works in collaboration with other organizations, like Maktaba Bookshop, to create opportunities for connection.

Naw-Rúz is the first day of the Baháʼí calendar year and one of eleven holy days for adherents of the Baháʼí Faith. It occurs on the vernal equinox, on or near March 21, which is the traditional Iranian New Year.

The traditional Nowruz holiday, from which the Baháʼí holiday derives, has been celebrated since ancient times in Iran, and is observed by culturally-adjacent peoples in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Tajikistan. The Báb, the founder of Bábi Faith, and then Baháʼu'lláh, the founder of the Baháʼí Faith, adopted the day as a holy day and associated it with the Most Great Name of God. The Baháʼí holiday as now calculated does not always fall on the same day as the traditional festival (but may differ by one day), and does not incorporate a number of Persian cultural practices associated with the traditional holiday, but is a religious event featuring readings from Baháʼí scriptures.

It is new year, wrote Abdu’l-Bahá —that is to say, the rounding of the cycle of the year. A year is the expression of a cycle (of the sun). But now is the beginning of a cycle of Reality, a New Cycle, a New Age, a New Century, a New Time, and a New Year. Therefore, it is very blessed.

The rising of the sun at the equinox is the symbol of life, and likewise it is the symbol of the Divine Manifestations of God, for the rising of the Sun of Truth in the Heaven of Divine Bounty established the signal of Life for the world. The human reality begins to live, our thoughts are transformed and our intelligence is quickened. The Sun of Truth bestows eternal life just as the solar sun is the cause of terrestrial life.

This period of time is the Promised Age … Soon the whole world, as in springtime, will change its garb … The New Year hath appeared and the spiritual springtime is at hand.

This day in Persia inaugurates a feast which continues for thirteen days and in which all take part, rich and poor alike. They adorn themselves with new clothes and their houses are open to all. Money is distributed, music is played and the houses are decorated with flowers, for it is a fete; work is put aside and enjoyment invited. Travelers in Persia feel this transformation, for the country is in a state of complete renewal. A town which seemed dead yesterday comes to life today. People who looked anxious yesterday, today have faces shining with gladness. The poor man of yesterday, with sordid garments, is well dressed today and the whole national life is infused with joy. From time immemorial this day has been consecrated, for in this there is a symbol. At this moment the sun appears at the meridian and the day and night are equal. Until today the north pole has been in darkness. 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. This is the beginning of the spring. When the sun appears at the equinox it causes a movement in all living things. The mineral world is set in motion, plants begin to sprout, the desert is changed into a prairie, trees bud and every living thing responds, including the bodies of animals and men. The rising of the sun at the equinox is the symbol of life and the human reality is revivified; our thoughts are transformed and our intelligence is quickened. The sun of truth bestows eternal life, just as the solar sun is the cause of terrestrial life. The day of the appearance of God's messenger on earth is ever a sacred day, a day when man commemorates his lord. Among the ancient Persians this day was looked upon as the holy day of the year - a day when hospitals and charitable institutions were founded, collections for the poor were made and every effort put forth that it might not be allowed to pass without leaving some divine trace and throughout Persia one sees these historical traces. I am spending this New Year’s Day in Paris. I hope for considerable results from this fact. May a powerful influence remain in your hearts, signs of eternal joy and happiness that will illumine the kingdom in this city. May the breezes of the Holy Spirit waft upon you, that your intelligence may progress and your souls rejoice in your lord. Thus will you become eternal beings shining in the divine kingdom.

Sources: – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Volume 9, p. 345.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 74-76

Montreal, September 21, 2022 - An inspiring and promising ceremony was held at the stroke of noon in Beaudet Park, also known as "Peace Park" to mark the International Day of Peace. Bringing together key players from the borough, including members of Council, the Acting Mayor, the MNA for Saint-Laurent, representatives of some 15 community organizations, as well as some 60 young people of all ages, this celebration was organized in partnership with the borough of Saint-Laurent, the Intercultural Committee of the Saint-Laurent Social Agencies Committee, and the Bahá'í Community of Montreal.

Saint-Laurent is known for the peaceful cohabitation of its many cultural communities, and this was an excellent opportunity to celebrate the peace and social harmony that has prevailed there for many years. 

One after the other, Laurentian personalities took the stage to give their testimony and their vision of a world free of racism and racial discrimination. Young people also took an active part in this ceremony. Forty students from the École internationale des Appendants and fifteen from the Centre Communautaire Bon Courage Place Benoît delivered their very touching message on racism and peace through poems, slams, drawings and crafts and ended with a fashion show! A duet of a piano student from Cégep de Saint-Laurent accompanied by the violin of a high caliber musician, Jacques Proulx, accompanied the participants throughout the ceremony.

Since 2021, we have chosen to propose a perennial and mobilizing theme that encourages people to think and act," says the Saint-Laurent borough communications officer. If we want to "Act for Equality", we must first name and recognize the issues, problems and constraints that exacerbate inequalities, and then propose and implement concrete initiatives.

In her address, the representative of the Montreal Bahá'í Community, Gigi Vidal, mentioned that the United Nations is proposing that in 2022 we put an end to racism and build a lasting peace. To achieve this, "we need to create a world in which people are treated equally, regardless of their race.... We all have a role to play in promoting peace.  And fighting racism is a significant way to do that." 

She emphasized, "We will continue to raise the banner of Unity in Diversity." "World peace is not only possible, it is inevitable." Furthermore, she made an appeal to young people: "You are our ambassadors and builders of peace! Together we can change the world!"

To conclude, the participants gathered for a minute of silence to think about the victims of war and injustice in the world.

It was a very touching and memorable ceremony.

Montreal, February 26, 2023 - Through Montreal, Communities have prepared to celebrate the Intercalary Days (Ayyám-i-Há) of the Bahá’í calendar. These days of joy, generosity and sharing are important opportunities to find creative ways to connect with one another.

From 26 to 1 March inclusive, in Canada and around the world, people, neighbours and friends gather to celebrate the Intercalary Days or Days of Há or Ayyám-i-Há. This festival falls between the 18th and 19th months of the Bahá'í calendar.

The Bahá'í calendar is a solar calendar with 19 months of 19 days each, plus four or five days depending on the year. These days are called Intercalary Days or Days of Há or Ayyám-i-Há. They are devoted to the exchange of gifts and presents, hospitality, generosity, charity and also to the preparation of the month of Elevation, the last month of the Bahá'í calendar, devoted to fasting and prayer.

The celebration of these feast days can take different forms, depending on the region of the world, and can be individual initiatives as well as activities decided in groups or in a neighbourhood. In Montreal, such as in Saint-Laurent, videoconferencing tools made it possible to share a prayer meeting, music, photos or videos, and to participate in small interactive joyful or benevolent animations. In some other neighbourhoods, however, friends have gathered in person to celebrate the event.

And it is always possible to meet outside by sharing a walk with neighbours or friends, to offer cakes and treats to one's neighbourhood... not to mention gifts to friends and family members. These are all rays of sunshine that bring joy, hope and comfort.

In Saint-Laurent, the service project of offering some cooked meals and clothes to the Bon Courage Community Centre of Place Benoît to be distributed to immigrant families welcomed in our neighbourhoods, went very well. The Executive Director, Mrs. Kadietou Savadogo was very touched by the generosity of the Community and thanked us for our contribution.

Tha Bahá'í Community of « Coeur de l'Est » also went to Terrebonne to celebrate the Ayyám-i-Há in company of a Bahá'í family who recently moved to this isolated area! (Photo: Patrick Limoges)

Montreal, September 10, 2022 - St. James Methodist Church was the venue par excellence for a grandiose concert in honour of 'Abdu'l-Bahá who had stayed in our city 110 years ago!

An audience of several hundred from Montreal and all over Quebec, dignitaries such as the Mayor of Saint-Lambert Mrs. Pascale Mongrain, Tom et Catherine Mulcair, representatives of several inter-religious organizations, men, women, children and youth, gathered at this church, to pay homage to the unique example of service to humanity, the one who chose the name of "Servant of Glory", 'Abdu'l-Bahá!

The presentation of the choir, the small orchestra which accompanied it, are worthy of praise! the monologues of the actor’s reciting texts pronounced by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in this very church, transported us in the world of 1912 when in Montreal, there were only two lines of tramway, North-South and East-West! There were few cars, but more horse-drawn carriages! And an electric board in front of the church announcing that the "Prophet of the East" would deliver an address on the principles of the Bahá'í Faith and "the salvation of humanity. This title troubled 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and he expressed concern at the habit of people calling him a "prophet. In his speech, he corrected this error, pointing out that he was not a prophet, but simply 'Abdu'l-Bahá, which loosely translates as "Servant of Glory.

The pastor of Saint James, the Reverend Alain John Bonner, gave a very moving address saying that since 'Abdu'l-Bahá's time in this church, Methodists have been following his advice regarding service to humanity! As far back as 1912, this church was forward-thinking in admitting people of colour into its congregation! In fact, on the night that 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave his speech in this church, a large part of the audience was composed of people of colour!

On the same platform where 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave His speech on September 5, 1912, there were 40 choir members of multiple ethnic backgrounds, the actors who recited the monologues from His speech, and an orchestra of string quartet, flute, and piano that accompanied the choir.

The words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, wonderfully composed by Lucie Dubé in ten songs, transported the audience to a world of peace and joy where no injurious thoughts can exist! A world where finally the human being will be able to have an experience of harmony in diversity like a garden filled with flowers of all beauty!

'Abdu'l-Bahá's last moving words to the people of Canada came in his closing address, in which he expressed his gratitude and admiration for the justice and friendship enjoyed by the North American peoples. He expressed the wish that the governments of America would play a leading role in the establishment of a world court that would bring all nations together and would prove to be a very important day for the establishment of universal and permanent peace throughout the world. His words were:

"Praise be to God! I see that these two great nations are highly competent and very advanced in all matters of progress and civilisation. These governments are just and equitable. The motives and goals of these people are noble and inspiring."

Photos: Saint James Church and the group of friends from across Quebec.

Montreal, Friday Decembre 16, 2022 - Two Montreal Baha’is hosted a special reflection and conversation on zoom to coincide with the recent COP15 meeting.  Three conference delegates were invited, including two Baha’is.  One Baha’i delegate, Mwayi Mkanthama, a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Malawi and Environment Officer for his government, was too busy to attend the Friday afternoon reflection. Speaking from the Baha’i Centre downtown were Baha’i speaker Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, assistant professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and Fae Sapsford, a friend of the Faith and Marine Research Fellow with the Sargasso Sea Commission, an NGO based in Washington DC and Bermuda. Sylvia, who also serves on the governing board of the International Environment Forum, a Baha’i-inspired NGO, spoke about the laborious decision-making process within the COP system and a growing awareness of the value of aboriginal knowledge in addressing global biodiversity challenges.  Fae illustrated with colorful slides the significance of an enormous marine ecosystem known as the Sargasso Sea, a part of the Atlantic Ocean without land borders, and the awkward system of agreements and conventions that seeks, with very limited success, to provide sustainable protections for its important services, including the provision of food.

While most of the 21 participants in the zoom session were Baha’is, there were notable exceptions. Three friends of the Faith participated at the invitation of a Baha’i in Mont Royale. The Mayor of Saint-Laurent also responded to a personal invitation. His comments referred to the long-term contributions of the Baha’is in his borough working in partnership with his office on various community building projects, and he also shared details of the various biodiversity and climate adaptation projects in which his office is engaged both locally and nationally.

Notably, however, the COP15 final agreement is devoid of any attempt to address the centrality of a moral imperative or spiritual basis to the successful accomplishment of such high-minded environmental goals, in a world struggling under the burdens of disunity and tension, socioeconomic disparities, climate related upheavals and displacements, health and food crises, and war.  The absence of any attempt at defining those features of the inner human terrain that must be engaged in such a colossal and historic undertaking seems to ignore the irreplaceable role of those motivational forces which lie at the foundation of human progress.  Shoghi Effendi offers insight into the nature of spiritual forces that connect man to his environment:

“We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life moulds the environment and is itself deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions”. – Shoghi Effendi, from a letter to an individual Bahá’í, 17 February 1933.

The two-week long UN COP 15 (the 15th session of the Conference of Parties on Biodiversity), concluded in Montreal on Monday December 19th, was the most important gathering on biodiversity in a decade, where 12,000 delegates from 160 countries agreed on 23 targets to be achieved by 2030. This agreement holds comparable importance to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.  Indeed, protecting biodiversity within the earth’s ecosystems, such as its oceans and forests, safeguards the services they provide for humanity, including the oxygen we breathe.  At the same time, these protections are an essential factor in limiting global warming. Montreal’s Le Devoir (December 20th edition) reported that the agreement had been enthusiastically received by the environmental and scientific communities.  The 23 agreed targets range from a commitment to ‘reduce to “near zero” the loss of areas that are rich in biodiversity, to the restoration of natural open spaces, stopping the human-caused extinction of species, minimizing the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, elimination of plastics pollution, making agriculture and fisheries more sustainable, expanding ‘blue’ and ‘green’ spaces in cities, and assuring that decision making about biodiversity will include the voices of indigenous peoples, women, youth and disabled persons. 

Source: Fred Ming and Peter Adriance, Montreal Bahá’í Community

Photo : Courtesy CBC / AP

Montreal, July 10, 2022 – In Montreal as well as all over the world, the Bahá’ís commemorated a tragic event, unprecedented in the religious history of humankind! The execution of a Messenger of God by firing squad, the first such execution in Iran!

On the evening of the very day of The Báb's execution, which fell on the ninth of July 1850, during the thirty-first year of His age and the seventh of His ministry, the mangled bodies (of the Báb and His companion, Anis) were transferred from the courtyard of the barracks to the edge of the moat outside the gate of the city.

Before the trogic execution of the Báb two highly significant incidents occurred, incidents that cast an illuminating light on the mysterious circumstances surrounding the opening phase of His martyrdom. The farrash-bashi had abruptly interrupted the last conversation which The Báb was confidentially having in one of the rooms of the barracks with His amanuensis Siyyid Husayn, and was drawing the latter aside, and severely rebuking him, when he was thus addressed by his Prisoner: "Not until I have said to him all those things that I wish to say can any earthly power silence Me. Though all the world be armed against Me, yet shall it be powerless to deter Me from fulfilling, to the last word, My intention." To the Christian Sam Khan -- the colonel of the Armenian regiment ordered to carry out the execution -- who, seized with fear lest his act should provoke the wrath of God, had begged to be released from the duty imposed upon him, The Báb gave the following assurance: "Follow your instructions, and if your intention be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you of your perplexity."

Sam Khan accordingly set out to discharge his duty. A spike was driven into a pillar which separated two rooms of the barracks facing the square. Two ropes were fastened to it from which The Báb and one of his disciples, the youthful and devout Mirza Muhammad-'Ali-i-Zunuzi, surnamed Anis, who had previously flung himself at the feet of his Master and implored that under no circumstances he be sent away from Him, were separately suspended. The firing squad ranged itself in three files, each of two hundred and fifty men. Each file in turn opened fire until the whole detachment had discharged its bullets. So dense was the smoke from the seven hundred and fifty rifles that the sky was darkened. As soon as the smoke had cleared away the astounded multitude of about ten thousand souls, who had crowded onto the roof of the barracks, as well as the tops of the adjoining houses, beheld a scene which their eyes could scarcely believe.

The Báb had vanished from their sight! Only his companion remained, alive and unscathed, standing beside the wall on which they had been suspended. The ropes by which they had been hung alone were severed. "The Siyyid-i-Báb has gone from our sight!" cried out the bewildered spectators. A frenzied search immediately ensued. He was found, unhurt and unruffled, in the very room He had occupied the night before, engaged in completing His interrupted conversation with His amanuensis. "I have finished My conversation with Siyyid Husayn" were the words with which the Prisoner, so providentially preserved, greeted the appearance of the farrash-bashi, "Now you may proceed to fulfill your intention." Recalling the bold assertion his Prisoner had previously made, and shaken by so stunning a revelation, the farrash-bashi quitted instantly the scene, and resigned his post.

Sam Khan, likewise, remembering, with feelings of awe and wonder, the reassuring words addressed to him by The Báb, ordered his men to leave the barracks immediately, and swore, as he left the courtyard, never again, even at the cost of his life, to repeat that act. Aqa Jan-i-Khamsih, colonel of the body-guard, volunteered to replace him. On the same wall and in the same manner The Báb and His companion were again suspended, while the new regiment formed in line and opened fire upon them. This time, however, their breasts were riddled with bullets, and their bodies completely dissected, with the exception of their faces which were but little marred. "O wayward generation!" were the last words of The Báb to the gazing multitude, as the regiment prepared to fire its volley, "Had you believed in Me every one of you would have followed the example of this youth, who stood in rank above most of you, and would have willingly sacrificed himself in My path. The day will come when you will have recognized Me; that day I shall have ceased to be with you."

Nor was this all. The very moment the shots were fired a gale of exceptional violence arose and swept over the city. From noon till night a whirlwind of dust obscured the light of the sun, and blinded the eyes of the people. In Shiraz* an "earthquake," foreshadowed in no less weighty a Book than the Revelation of St. John, occurred in 1268 A.H. which threw the whole city into turmoil and wrought havoc amongst its people, a havoc that was greatly aggravated by the outbreak of cholera, by famine and other afflictions. In that same year no less than two hundred and fifty of the firing squad, that had replaced Sam Khan's regiment, met their death, together with their officers, in a terrible earthquake, while the remaining five hundred suffered, three years later, as a punishment for their mutiny, the same fate as that which their hands had inflicted upon The Báb. To insure that none of them had survived, they were riddled with a second volley, after which their bodies, pierced with spears and lances, were exposed to the gaze of the people of Tabriz. The prime instigator of The Báb's death, the implacable Amir-Nizam, together with his brother, his chief accomplice, met their death within two years of that savage act.

*Báb's birthplace in Iran

Source: Shoghi Effendi, GOD PASSES BY

Photo Bahá'į World Center Archives: Sàm Khàn, - Colonel of the Armenian regiment in charge of the execution of the Báb.

Montreal, November 26, 2022- A large number of the Bahá’ís and their friends from all over Montreal gathered at the Bahá’í Centre to celebrate the Day of the Covenant. This is the first time since the confinement from Covid that the friends gathered in such great number at the Centre.

The Day of the Covenant is the day when Baháʼís celebrate the appointment of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá as the Centre of Baha'u'llah's Covenant.  In accordance with Bahá’í calendar, it occurs yearly on the 4th day of Speech (Qawl) which coincides with either November 25 or 26 depending on when Naw Ruz (Bahá’í New Year) falls on that year. 

ʻAbdu'l-Bahá had stated that since May 23 was also the day that the Báb, the Herald of the Bahá’í Faith, declared his mission, and should be exclusively associated with him, that that day should under no circumstances be celebrated as his day of birth. However, as the Baháʼís begged for a day to be celebrated as ʻAbdu'l-Bahá's birthday, he gave them November 26, 181 days after the ascension of Baháʼu'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-Aʻzam in Persian (The Greatest Festival), because ʻAbdu'l-Bahá was known as the Greatest Branch; in the West, the holy day became known as the Day of the Covenant.

On November 28, 2022, the commemoration of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's death was held by teleconference in the presence of several friends of the community. Here is the account of his death as told by Shoghi-Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith:

A month before His death (which occurred in the 78th year of His age, in the early hours of the 28th of November, 1921) He had referred expressly to it in some words of cheer and comfort that He addressed to a believer who was mourning the loss of his brother. And about two weeks before His passing He had spoken to His faithful gardener in a manner that clearly indicated He knew His end to be nigh. "I am so fatigued," He observed to him, "the hour is come when I must leave everything and take My flight. I am too weary to walk." He added: "It was during the closing days of the Blessed Beauty, when I was engaged in gathering together His papers which were strewn over the sofa in His writing chamber in Bahji, that He turned to Me and said: 'It is of no use to gather them, I must leave them and flee away.' I also have finished My work. I can do nothing more. Therefore must I leave it, and take My departure."

Till the very last day of His earthly life `Abdu'l-Bahá continued to shower that same love upon high and low alike, to extend that same assistance to the poor and the down-trodden, and to carry out those same duties in the service of His Father's Faith, as had been His wont from the days of His boyhood. On the Friday before His passing, despite great fatigue, He attended the noonday prayer at the mosque, and distributed afterwards alms, as was His custom, among the poor; dictated some Tablets -- the last ones He revealed -- ; blessed the marriage of a trusted servant, which He had insisted should take place that day; attended the usual meeting of the friends in His home; felt feverish the next day, and being unable to leave the house on the following Sunday, sent all the believers to the Tomb of The Báb to attend a feast which a Parsi pilgrim was offering on the occasion of the anniversary of the Declaration of the Covenant; received with His unfailing courtesy and kindness that same afternoon, and despite growing weariness, the Mufti of Haifa, the Mayor and the Head of the Police; and inquired that night -- the last of His life -- before He retired after the health of every member of His household, of the pilgrims and of the friends in Haifa.

 At 1:15 A.M. He arose, and, walking to a table in His room, drank some water, and returned to bed. Later on, He asked one of His two daughters who had remained awake to care for Him, to lift up the net curtains, complaining that He had difficulty in breathing. Some rose-water was brought to Him, of which He drank, after which He again lay down, and when offered food, distinctly remarked: "You wish Me to take some food, and I am going?" A minute later His spirit had winged its flight to its eternal abode, to be gathered, at long last, to the glory of His beloved Father, and taste the joy of everlasting reunion with Him.

The news of His passing, so sudden, so unexpected, spread like wildfire throughout the town, and was flashed instantly over the wires to distant parts of the globe, stunning with grief the community of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in East and West. Messages from far and near, from high and low alike, through cablegrams and letters, poured in conveying to the members of a sorrow-stricken and disconsolate family expressions of praise, of devotion, of anguish and of sympathy. 

Reference: Shoghi-Effendi, God Passes By

Photos: Archives BWC – Room in his home in Haifa where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá passed away.

  • Funeral of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Haïfa, Israël.
  • Image of the opening pages of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá's Will and Testament.


Montreal, June 19, 2012 – Some 357 participants as well as 89 friends via videoconference, from multiple background and nationality attended a weekend long conference, the third in Montreal area, in large auditorium of Dawson College. They came from all over the city including Montgérégie-Ouest area - Bahá’ís with their friends, neighbours and work colleagues, in order to be an active partner in “Bahá’u’lláh’s Vision for Humanity”.

Visionaries such as Alan DeSousa; who is a City Councillor from Montreal and the Borough Mayor of Saint-Laurent as well as currently vice-chairman in charge of Sustainable Development, the Environment, Parks and green spaces, took an active part in the workshops and plenary sessions of the conference.

Called by the Universal House of Justice, these conferences will give the participants an opportunity to gain greater insight into the nature of the spiritual enterprise in which they are engaged, a sense of the distance traversed thus far, and a deeper understanding of the exigencies of the current stage in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan. They will strive to enhance appreciation of the privilege of being part of a community that has set its gaze upon the spiritual and material transformation of society, and of the bounty of being connected by bonds of love and camaraderie with brothers and sisters in a global effort, each one labouring within the same framework for action, all united under the sheltering shadow of the Covenant.

The first of three Conferences being organized in our cluster of Greater Montreal, especially prepared for Chinese friends, was of great significance. There were 136 participants, the vast majority from the community at large.

It was held at the Sarto-Desnoyers Community Centre in Dorval on May 14th—entirely in Mandarin!

As far as we know, writes Montreal Assembly in a letter addressed to the Community, it’s the first time in Canada that a Bahá’í gathering has taken place in one of the languages of China without translation. Added to the plenary and small group discussions, a lively children’s program made it possible for many families to attend.

Feedback was very good and plans have been made for a variety of activities over the course of the summer with families, youth and junior youth to build on friendships and conversations began at the Conference.

On May 21-22, the Conference for three neighbourhoods of Côte-des-Neiges, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Parc Extension began at Collège Bréboeuf with 250 participants, only 50 of which were Bahá’ís and the rest from the wider community. Whole families came, along with 90 Junior Youths. Its plenary and small group discussions were equally accompanied by a well-planned children's and junior youth program.

The Montreal Conference, included friends from Montgérégie-Ouest and all over the island, was held at Dawson College. The program included some 20 workshops with specific themes such as Building Vibrant Communities, Contributing to Social Transformation and Educational Endeavours and Training Institute, were a part of consultation. The youths and children also had their own workshops and themes to work on! They used art as medium par excellence to express their views on How to Make a Better World!

Of the thousand conferences being held worldwide during the next few months, over 80 conferences are being held in Canada. The conferences’ themes are based on Inspiring individuals and communities to release the potential that lies within.

Montreal, October 26, 2022 - Bahá'ís around the world and believers in the various neighbourhoods of Montreal are celebrating these two joyous events on October 25 and 26 this year. These two celebrations are intimately linked because the life and message of the Báb centred on the imminent appearance of another divine messenger: Bahá'u'lláh.

Each year, the anniversaries of the birth of the Báb and that of Bahá'u'lláh are observed as twin holy days, since they followed each other within a day, according to the calendar in use in Persia at that time.

The life and teachings of the Báb mark a turning point in human history. Born Siyyid Ali-Muhammad in 1819, he took the name Báb, which means "the Gate" in Arabic. His public mission, from 1844 to 1850, represented a spiritual revolution that overturned the prevailing social, political, and religious order in Persia, opening the door to the new unifying vision of Bahá'u'lláh.

The Báb was a messenger of God in the succession of divine teachers who have come down through the centuries, including Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. The Báb appeared at a time in history when the cultures and peoples of the world were coming together as never before. The nineteenth century witnessed a series of changes in the economic, political, scientific, and cultural spheres so profound that one prominent historian has called it the century of "world transformation."

When he was only 25 years old, the Báb heralded the end of one religious era and the beginning of another. He inaugurated an independent religion with its own laws and sacred texts, including the Persian Bayán. In a short time, he attracted thousands of followers among the Persians. His public mission, which lasted only six short years, had far-reaching consequences.

On such occasions, it is customary to take a retrospective look at Bahá’u’lláh's life and work. The highlights of this retrospective focus on the major moments in Bahá’u’lláh's life - his birth on November 12, 1817 in Tehran, his life as a young prince before he took over the leadership of the Bábi movement, and the four-decade-long road of exile, imprisonment, and persecution, during which he revealed himself to his followers as the promised one foretold by the scriptures.

Bahá’u’lláh was born in Tehran on November 12, 1817, into a wealthy and distinguished family, a descendant of the Sassanid dynasty (a Persian dynasty, originally from Fars, which at the time constituted a vast empire stretching from Persia to Mesopotamia).

Although he did not attend any school, he showed astonishing wisdom and knowledge from his childhood. At the age of 13 he was clarifying religious questions that were totally obscure to the theologians of his time.

When he was 22, his father died. He was offered the high position at court that was customary in those days. He refused this honour and devoted himself to the poor and needy of society.

The Prime Minister of the time said that he could not understand him, but that he was destined for some high mission.

In 1844, at the age of 27, Bahá’u’lláh boldly embraced the new faith proclaimed by the Báb. It is noteworthy that these two great educators, though living at the same time, never met.

After imprisonment and banishment, Bahá’u’lláh openly announced his prophetic mission in 1863 in Baghdad. During his exile, Bahá’u’lláh wrote, dictating day and night, writings, tablets and prayers, keeping several secretaries busy transcribing everything.

Bahá’u’lláh ended his life in the Holy Land having bequeathed to humanity a new spiritual revelation. His life, work, and influence are comparable to those of the great messengers of God, such as Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad. For Bahá'ís, Bahá’u’lláh is the last of the messengers of God in this succession.

Photos: Bahá'í World Centre Archives, the Báb's Birthplace in Shiraz (top) and Bahá'u'lláh's Birthplace in Tehran.


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