December 31, 2019

The gradual increase in the diversity of the followers of the Faith during 1844-1944

We witness a corresponding increase in the diversity of the elements within its fellowship, which from being confined, in the first period of its history, to an obscure body of followers chiefly recruited from the ranks of the masses in Shi‘ah Persia, has expanded into a fraternity representative of the leading religious systems of the world, of almost every caste and color, from the humblest worker and peasant to royalty itself. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘Preface to God Passes By’)

December 22, 2019

The gradual spread of the Faith during 1844-1944

We watch, through these periods, the infant light of the Faith diffuse itself from its cradle, eastward to India and the Far East, westward to the neighboring territories of ‘Iráq, of Turkey, of Russia, and of Egypt, travel as far as the North American continent, illuminate subsequently the major countries of Europe, envelop with its radiance, at a later stage, the Antipodes, brighten the fringes of the Arctic, and finally set aglow the Central and South American horizons. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘Preface to God Passes By’)

December 17, 2019

High-level features of the Faith during 1921 to 1944

The fourth period (1921–1944) is motivated by the forces radiating from the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’lBahá, that Charter of Bahá’ulláh’s New World Order, the offspring resulting from the mystic intercourse between Him Who is the Source of the Law of God and the mind of the One Who is the vehicle and interpreter of that Law. The inception of this fourth, this last period of the first Bahá’í century synchronizes with the birth of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Era, with the founding of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh—a system which is at once the harbinger, the nucleus and pattern of His World Order. This period, covering the first twenty-three years of this Formative Age, has already been distinguished by an outburst of further hostility, of a different character, accelerating on the one hand the diffusion of the Faith over a still wider area in each of the five continents of the globe, and resulting on the other in the emancipation and the recognition of the independent status of several communities within its pale. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘Preface to ‘God Passes By)

December 10, 2019

1892-1921: High-level features with respect to the Faith

The third period (1892–1921) revolves around the vibrant personality of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, mysterious in His essence, unique in His station, astoundingly potent in both the charm and strength of His character. It commences with the announcement of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, a document without parallel in the history of any earlier Dispensation, attains its climax in the emphatic assertion by the Center of that Covenant, in the City of the Covenant, of the unique character and far-reaching implications of that Document, and closes with His passing and the interment of His remains on Mt. Carmel. It will go down in history as a period of almost thirty years’ duration, in which tragedies and triumphs have been so intertwined as to eclipse at one time the Orb of the Covenant, and at another time to pour forth its light over the continent of Europe, and as far as Australasia, the Far East and the North American continent. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘Preface to 'God Passes By’)

December 1, 2019

1853-1892: High-level summary of events associated with the Faith

The second period (1853–1892) derives its inspiration from the august figure of Bahá’u’lláh, preeminent in holiness, awesome in the majesty of His strength and power, unapproachable in the transcendent brightness of His glory. It opens with the first stirrings, in the soul of Bahá’u’lláh while in the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán, of the Revelation anticipated by the Báb, attains its plenitude in the proclamation of that Revelation to the kings and ecclesiastical leaders of the earth, and terminates in the ascension of its Author in the vicinity of the prison-town of ‘Akká. It extends over thirty-nine years of continuous, of unprecedented and overpowering Revelation, is marked by the propagation of the Faith to the neighboring territories of Turkey, of Russia, of ‘Iráq, of Syria, of Egypt and of India, and is distinguished by a corresponding aggravation of hostility, represented by the united attacks launched by the Sháh of Persia and the Sultán of Turkey, the two admittedly most powerful potentates of the East, as well as by the opposition of the twin sacerdotal orders of Shi‘ah and Sunní Islám. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (Preface to ‘God Passes By’)

November 27, 2019

1844–1853: High-level summary of events associated with the Faith

The first period (1844–1853), centers around the gentle, the youthful and irresistible person of the Báb, matchless in His meekness, imperturbable in His serenity, magnetic in His utterance, unrivaled in the dramatic episodes of His swift and tragic ministry. It begins with the Declaration of His Mission, culminates in His martyrdom, and ends in a veritable orgy of religious massacre revolting in its hideousness. It is characterized by nine years of fierce and relentless contest, whose theatre was the whole of Persia, in which above ten thousand heroes laid down their lives, in which two sovereigns of the Qájár dynasty and their wicked ministers participated, and which was supported by the entire Shi‘ah ecclesiastical hierarchy, by the military resources of the state, and by the implacable hostility of the masses. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (Preface to ‘God Passes By’)

November 24, 2019

Dr. August Forel and the Baha’i Faith – The Guardian explains

(Wikipedia)
In regard to your father’s spiritual testament, which betrays on the part of the author an inadequate knowledge of the Bahá’í Faith, the Guardian feels that you should make it clear to all the inquirers that the late Dr. Forel, as many other persons who have embraced the Cause, did not have a complete understanding of the fundamentals of the Bahá’í religion. He was particularly interested in the social aspect of the Movement and owing to some psychological reasons he did not lay much emphasis on its doctrinal side. This can be explained by the fact that our lamented doctor being advanced in age at the time of his acquaintance with the Bahá’í teachings was not able to devote all his time to a deep study of the tenets of the Faith.

Shoghi Effendi, however, in his letter addressed personally to your father explained to him that the Bahá’ís should firmly believe in the existence of God and in the immortality of the soul and in many other fundamental teachings which the Bahá’ís share with the adherents of many other religions. Our lamented doctor may have most probably considered it unwise to declare openly that he had rejected all his previous conceptions in regard to the existence of God and such similar ideas and preferred to express in an indirect way the many changes which the knowledge of the Faith had brought in his mind by declaring that he had become a Bahá’í.

November 18, 2019

1844-1944: The “gigantic” and “catastrophic” consequences experienced by various dynasties for rejecting the Divine Summons

What, then—might we not consider—has, in the face of so complete and ignominious a rejection, happened, and is still happening, in the course, and particularly in the closing years, of this, the first Bahá’í century, a century fraught with such tumultuous sufferings and violent outrages for the persecuted Faith of Bahá’u’lláh? Empires fallen in dust, kingdoms subverted, dynasties extinguished, royalty besmirched, kings assassinated, poisoned, driven into exile, subjugated in their own realms, whilst the few remaining thrones are trembling with the repercussions of the fall of their fellows.

This process, so gigantic, so catastrophic, may be said to have had its inception on that memorable night when, in an obscure corner of Shíráz, the Báb, in the presence of the First Letter to believe in Him, revealed the first chapter of His celebrated commentary on the Súrih of Joseph (The Qayyúm-i-Asmá), in which He trumpeted His Call to the sovereigns and princes of the earth. It passed from incubation to visible manifestation when Bahá’u’lláh’s prophecies, enshrined for all time in the Súriy-i-Haykal, and uttered before Napoleon III’s dramatic downfall and the self-imposed imprisonment of Pope Pius IX in the Vatican, were fulfilled. It gathered momentum when, in the days of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Great War extinguished the Romanov, the Hohenzollern, and Hapsburg dynasties, and converted powerful time-honored monarchies into republics. It was further accelerated, soon after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing, by the demise of the effete Qájár dynasty in Persia, and the stupendous collapse of both the Sultanate and the Caliphate. It is still operating, under our very eyes, as we behold the fate which, in the course of this colossal and ravaging struggle, is successively overtaking the crowned heads of the European continent. Surely, no man, contemplating dispassionately the manifestations of this relentless revolutionizing process, within comparatively so short a time, can escape the conclusion that the last hundred years may well be regarded, in so far as the fortunes of royalty are concerned, as one of the most cataclysmic periods in the annals of mankind. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘The Promised Day Is Come’)

November 10, 2019

The reaction of the monarchs who received direct Tablets from Baha’u’llah

Dear friends! Enough has been said to portray the tribulations which, for so long a time, overwhelmed the Founders of so preeminent a Revelation, and which the world has so disastrously ignored. Sufficient attention has also been directed to the Messages addressed to those sovereign rulers who, either in the exercise of their unconditioned authority, have deliberately provoked these sufferings, or could have, in the plenitude of their power, arisen to mitigate their effect or deflect their tragic course. Let us now consider the consequences that have ensued. The reaction of these monarchs was, as already stated, varied and unmistakable and, as the march of events has gradually unfolded, disastrous in its consequences. One of the most outstanding amongst these sovereigns treated the Divine Summons with gross disrespect, dismissing it with a curt and insolent reply, written by one of his ministers. Another laid violent hold on the bearer of the Message, tortured, branded, and brutally slew him. Others preferred to maintain a contemptuous silence. All failed completely in their duty to arise and extend their assistance. Two of them, in particular, prompted by the dual impulse of fear and anger, tightened their grip on the Cause they had jointly resolved to uproot. The one condemned his Divine Prisoner to yet another banishment, to “the most unsightly of cities in appearance, the most detestable in climate, and the foulest in water,” whilst the other, powerless to lay hands on the Prime Mover of a hated Faith, subjected its adherents under his sway to abject and savage cruelties. The recital of Bahá’u’lláh’s sufferings, embodied in those Messages, failed to evoke compassion in their hearts. His appeals, the like of which neither the annals of Christianity nor even those of Islám have recorded, were disdainfully rejected. The dark warnings He uttered were haughtily scorned. The bold challenges He issued were ignored. The chastisements He predicted they derisively brushed aside. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘The Promised Day Is Come’)

August 12, 2019

While in Iraq, Baha’u’llah arranged to have the Writings of the Báb collected – to be distributed among the believers in Persia

We especially appointed certain ones to collect the writings of the Primal Point. When this was accomplished, We summoned Mírzá Yahyá and Mírzá Vahháb-i-Khurásání, known as Mírzá Javád, to meet in a certain place. Conforming with Our instructions, they completed the task of transcribing two copies of the works of the Primal Point. I swear by God! This Wronged One, by reason of His constant association with men, hath not looked at these books, nor gazed with outward eyes on these writings. When We departed, these writings were in the possession of these two persons. It was agreed that Mírzá Yahyá should be entrusted with them, and proceed to Persia, and disseminate them throughout that land. This Wronged One proceeded, at the request of the Ministers of the Ottoman Government to their capital. When We arrived in Mosul, We found that Mírzá Yahyá had left before Us for that city, and was awaiting Us there. Briefly, the books and writings were left in Baghdád, while he himself proceeded to Constantinople and joined these servants. God beareth now witness unto the things which have touched this Wronged One, for after We had so arduously striven, he (Mírzá Yahyá) abandoned the writings and joined the exiles. This Wronged One was, for a long period, overwhelmed by infinite sorrows until such time when, in pursuance of measures of which none but the one true God is aware, We despatched the writings unto another place and another country, owing to the fact that in ‘Iráq all documents must every month be carefully examined, lest they rot and perish. God, however, preserved them and sent them unto a place which He had previously ordained. He, verily, is the Protector, the Succorer. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Epistle to the Son of the Wolf’)

June 25, 2019

1957: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada


Seated: Rowland Estall, Hartwell Bowsfield, Lloyd Gardner, Allan Raynor
Standing: Harold Moscrop, Audrey Westheuser, Peggy Ross, Winnifred Harvey, Fred Graham 
('Messages to Canada')

June 11, 2019

April 1949 – Results of 41st National Convention of the Baha’is of the United States

Election of nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly, April 29, 1949, and eleven names of believers who followed in votes cast:

National Spiritual Assembly: Mr. Horace Holley (136), Mrs. Dorothy Baker (134), Mr. Paul Haney (129),  Mr. Philip Sprague (126),  Mrs. Amelia Collins (105),  Mr. Kenneth Christian (95),  Miss Elsie Austin (87),  Miss Edna True (86),  and Mr. Leroy Ioas (84)

Next Highest Votes:  Mr. Matthew Bullock (65), Mrs. Mamie Seto (42),  Mr. H. Borrah Kavelin  (35), Dr. Kathryn True (33),  Mrs. Marjorie McCormick (19),  Mr. Lawrence Hautz (18), Dr. Robert Gulick (16),  Mr. Rafi Mottahedeh (15),  Mrs. Marziah Gail (13),  Mr. Robert McLaughlin (13),  Mr. Carl Scheffler (13)
(Baha’i News, no. 219, May 1949)

May 25, 2019

1953: Dedication of the Baha'i House of Worship, Wilmette, Illinois, USA

Ruhiyyih Khanum presenting the Guardian’s Message of Dedication of the Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, Illinois, May 2, 1953 (The Baha’i World 1950-1954)

May 10, 2019

1953: First Italo-Swiss Baha'i National Spiritual Assembly

Seated, left to right: Prof. Mario Fiorentini, Mrs. Anna Kunz, Dr. Ugo R. Giachery, Miss Elsa Steinmetz, Mrs. Stella Lonzar. Standing, left to right: Mrs. Anne Lynch, Friedrich Schar, Mrs. Marion Little, Prof. Alessandro Bausani. 
(The Baha’i World 1950-1954)

May 1, 2019

April 1951: First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of South America


Front row, left to right: Edmund J. Miessler (Sao Paulo), Mrs. Margot Worley (Bahia), Miss Eve Nicklin (Lima), Manuel Vera (Lima). Rear, left to right: Dr. Alejandro Reid (Punta Arenas), Mrs. Gayle Woolson (Bogota), Esteban Canales L. (Asuncion), Srta. Mercedes Sanchez (Lima), Rangvald Taetz (Montevideo) 
(The Baha’i World 1950-1954)

April 25, 2019

Pope Pius IX: “the 254th pope since the inception of St. Peter’s primacy” – received a powerful Tablet from Baha’u’llah

...Pope Pius IX. It was to him who regarded himself as the Vicar of Christ that Bahá’u’lláh wrote that “the Word which the Son [Jesus] concealed is made manifest,” that “it hath been sent down in the form of the human temple,” that the Word was Himself, and He Himself the Father. It was to him who styling himself “the servant of the servants of God” that the Promised One of all ages, unveiling His station in its plenitude, announced that “He Who is the Lord of Lords is come overshadowed with clouds.” It was he, who, claiming to be the successor of St. Peter, was reminded by Bahá’u’lláh that “this is the day whereon the Rock [Peter] crieth out and shouteth ... saying: ‘Lo, the Father is come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled.’” It was he, the wearer of the triple crown, who later became the first prisoner of the Vatican, who was commanded by the Divine Prisoner of Akká to “leave his palaces unto such as desire them,” to “sell all the embellished ornaments” he possessed, and to “expend them in the path of God,” and to “abandon his kingdom unto the kings,” and emerge from his habitation with his face “set towards the Kingdom.”

Count Mastai-Ferretti, Bishop of Imola, the 254th pope since the inception of St. Peter’s primacy, who had been elevated to the apostolic throne two years after the Declaration of the Báb, and the duration of whose pontificate exceeded that of any of his predecessors, will be permanently remembered as the author of the Bull which declared the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin (1854), referred to in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, to be a doctrine of the Church, and as the promulgator of the new dogma of Papal Infallibility (1870). Authoritarian by nature, a poor statesman, disinclined to conciliation, determined to preserve all his authority, he, while he succeeded through his assumption of an ultramontane attitude in defining further his position and in reinforcing his spiritual authority, failed, in the end, to maintain that temporal rule which, for so many centuries, had been exercised by the heads of the Catholic Church.

April 18, 2019

1949: Canada – “an act wholly unprecedented in the annals of the Faith in any country, in either East or West”

Through the swift and marvellous increase in its membership; through its faithful and uncompromising adherence to both the spiritual and administrative principles of the Faith it so nobly serves; through the multiplication of its administrative centres from the Atlantic to the Pacific seaboard; through the steady consolidation of its local and national Funds designed to sustain its ever-unfolding activities; through the spirit consistently manifested by the small yet eager and valiant band of its pioneers and administrators; and more recently through the official recognition providentially accorded the body of its national elected representatives by both chambers of the Legislature in that Dominion—an act wholly unprecedented in the annals of the Faith in any country, in either East or West—this vigorous, divinely sustained, resistlessly advancing community, has not only fulfilled the expectations and hopes that greeted its birth, but set a brilliant example to its sister communities in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a message dated 19 June, 1949 to the NSA of Canada; ‘Messages to Canada’)

April 12, 2019

April 30, 1949: Incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada

The Bill to incorporate the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada was passed by both Houses of the Canadian Parliament, and was given Royal assent on April 30, 1949. 
(Footnotes, ‘Messages to Canada’)

"Your Assembly has much to be congratulated upon for your victories during the past Bahá’í Year have been memorable. The passing, in both Houses, of the Bill  relating to the official status of your Assembly was a cause for great rejoicing, as this is the first time in Bahá’í history that any government has taken such action in relation to our Faith’s status. He would like, if possible, to receive duplicates of the official Gazette and all publicity given this matter, as the copies you sent were placed in the Mansion at Bahji, but he wishes to have these documents at hand in his personal files as well." 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a message dated 19 June, 1949, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the NSA of Canada; ‘Messages to Canada’)

April 5, 2019

2018, Haifa, Israel: More than fifteen hundred delegates, from 166 countries, participated in the election of the Universal House of Justice

The magnificent gathering in the Holy Land of delegates from 166 countries, for the purpose of participating in the Twelfth International Bahá’í Convention and electing the members of the Universal House of Justice, was concluded with the celebration of the Twelfth Day of the Festival of Ridván in the precincts of Bahá’u’lláh’s exalted Shrine. More than fifteen hundred delegates participated in the election. Among the distinct features of this Convention, which not only added to its beauty and charm but also generated an ineffable degree of joy and enthusiasm among all participants, were the presence of a record number of National Spiritual Assemblies and delegates and the participation of some National Assemblies for the first time, including one of the oldest Assemblies in the Bahá’í world.  
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 13 May 2018 addressed to the “the long-suffering followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the sacred land of Iran” – authorized translation)

March 25, 2019

1986: Total number of National Spiritual Assemblies reached 148

Now, as we enter the final, two-year phase of the Seven Year Plan, we rejoice in the addition of nine new National Spiritual Assemblies; three in Africa, three in the Americas, two in Asia, one in Europe, bringing the total number to 143. Five more are to be established in Ridvan 1985. They are Ciskei, Mali and Mozambique in Africa and the Cook Islands and the West Caroline Islands in Australasia. Thus the Plan will end with a minimum of 148 National Spiritual Assemblies.  
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1984 message; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

March 18, 2019

Áqá Mírzá Mahmúd and Áqá Ridá – the service they provided during Baha’u’llah’s journey from Baghdad to Constantinople

When the retinue of Bahá’u’lláh left Baghdád for Constantinople, He was accompanied by a great crowd of people. Along the way, they met with famine conditions. These two souls [Áqá Mírzá Mahmúd and Áqá Ridá] strode along on foot, ahead of the howdah in which Bahá’u’lláh was riding, and covered a distance of seven or eight farsakhs every day. Way-worn and faint, they would reach the halting-place; and yet, weary as they were, they would immediately set about preparing and cooking the food, and seeing to the comfort of the believers. The efforts they made were truly more than flesh can bear. There were times when they had not more than two or three hours sleep out of the twenty-four; because, once the friends had eaten their meal, these two would be busy collecting and washing up the dishes and cooking utensils; this would take them till midnight, and only then would they rest. At daybreak they would rise, pack everything, and set out again, in front of the howdah of Bahá’u’lláh. See what a vital service they were able to render, and for what bounty they were singled out: from the start of the journey, at Baghdád, to the arrival in Constantinople, they walked close beside Bahá’u’lláh; they made every one of the friends happy; they brought rest and comfort to all; they prepared whatever anyone asked. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk; ‘Memorials of the Faithful’)

March 8, 2019

1984: Baha'i membership in eleven countries reached or surpassed 1% of total population

Baha'i membership in eleven countries, all in the Third World and nine of them island communities, have reached or surpassed one per cent of the total population. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1984 message; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

March 1, 2019

Baha’u’llah describes what He observed upon returning to Baghdad from Kurdistan

What pen can recount the things We beheld upon Our return! Two years have elapsed during which Our enemies have ceaselessly and assiduously contrived to exterminate Us, whereunto all witness. Nevertheless, none amongst the faithful hath risen to render Us any assistance, nor did any one feel inclined to help in Our deliverance. Nay, instead of assisting Us, what showers of continuous sorrows, their words and deeds have caused to rain upon Our soul! Amidst them all, We stand, life in hand, wholly resigned to His will; that perchance, through God’s loving kindness and His grace, this revealed and manifest Letter may lay down His life as a sacrifice in the path of the Primal Point, the most exalted Word. By Him at Whose bidding the Spirit hath spoken, but for this yearning of Our soul, We would not, for one moment, have tarried any longer in this city. “Sufficient Witness is God unto Us.” We conclude Our argument with the words: “There is no power nor strength but in God alone.” “We are God’s, and to Him shall we return.” 
- Baha’u’llah  (The Kitab-i-Iqan’)

February 13, 2019

1984: Two new Baha’i radio stations: - in Bolivia & United States

Two new radio stations will make their inaugural broadcasts this year, namely Radio Baha'i of Bolivia, at Caracollo, and WLGI, the Baha'i radio station at the Louis Gregory Institute, in the United States. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1984 message; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

February 8, 2019

1983: National Spiritual Assemblies of St. Lucia and Dominica were formed

Immediately following the International Convention last Ridvan, two new National Spiritual Assemblies were formed -- in St. Lucia and Dominica. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1984 message; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

February 3, 2019

1984: Universal House of Justice announces “a term of five years' service” for Auxiliary Board members starting in November of 1986

To develop further this vital organ of the Administrative Order, it has been decided to establish a term of five years' service for those appointed to the Auxiliary Boards, commencing 26 November 1986. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1984 message; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

January 28, 2019

Worldwide emergence of the Faith from obscurity during 1979-1984

The emergence from obscurity, which has been so marked a feature of the Cause of God during the first five years of the Seven Year Plan [1979-1986], has been attended by changes, both external and internal, affecting the Baha'i world community.  Externally, there are signs of a crystallization of a public image of the Cause -- largely uninformed, however friendly -- while internally growing maturity and confidence are indicated by increased administrative ability, a desire for Baha'i communities to render service to the larger body of mankind and a deepening understanding of the relevance of the divine Message to modern problems. Both these aspects of change must be taken into consideration as we enter the third and final phase of the Seven Year Plan. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1984; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1983-1986’)

January 21, 2019

1983: The Universal House of Justice announces the establishment of an Office of Social and Economic Development at the World Centre

…after all the years of constant teaching activity, the Community of the Greatest Name has grown to the stage at which the processes of this development must be incorporated into its regular pursuits; particularly is action compelled by the expansion of the Faith in Third World countries where the vast majority of its adherents reside. The steps to be taken must necessarily begin in the Baha'i Community itself, with the friends endeavouring, through their application of spiritual principles, their rectitude of conduct and the practice of the art of consultation, to uplift themselves and thus become self-sufficient and self-reliant.  Moreover, these exertions will conduce to the preservation of human honour so desired by Baha'u'llah. In the process and as a consequence, the friends will undoubtedly extend the benefits of their efforts to society as a whole, until all mankind achieves the progress intended by the Lord of the Age.

It is indeed propitious that systematic attention be given to this vital sphere of Baha'i endeavour. We are happy, therefore, to announce the establishment at the World Centre of the Office of Social and Economic Development, which is to assist the Universal House of Justice to promote and co-ordinate the activities of the friends throughout the world in this new field.

The International Teaching Centre and, through it, the Continental Boards of Counsellors are poised for the special responsibilities which devolve upon them to be alert to possibilities for extending the development of social and economic life both within and outside the Baha'i Community, and to advise and encourage the Assemblies and friends in their strivings. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 20 October 1983; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

January 15, 2019

1951: First time women were elected to Baha'i Assemblies in Egypt

Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Alexandria, Egypt
Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Cairo, Egypt
(The Baha'i World 1950-1954)

January 10, 2019

First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Central America, Mexico and the Antilles, elected April 1951

Seated, left to right: Dr. David Escalante (San Salvador), James V. Facey (Colon), Miss Elena Marsella (Ciudad Trujillo), Artemus Lamb (San Jose). Standing, left to right: Mrs. Louise Caswell (Tegucigalpa), Zenayda Jurado C. (Mexico City), Mrs. Cora H. Oliver (Colon), Sra. Raquel J. Francois de Constante (Panama City), Natalia A. Chavez (Tegucigalpa) 
(The Baha’i World 1950-1954)

January 6, 2019

1868: Siyah-Chal (the Black Pit) was filled-in and a center for royal mourning for Imam Husayn was built over it.

Siyah-Chall’s original corridor leading to the entrance. The dungeon was filled-in in 1868 and the Takyih Dowlat, a canvas-covered center for royal mourning for Imam Husayn, was built over it. (Baha’i News, March 1976)
A reproduction of a painting of the Takyih Dowlat showing a ceremony for Imam Husayn. The ground floor accommodated 4,000 women. The surrounding rooms were for the Shah, his family, and dignitaries. (Baha’i News, March 1976)
The site [Takyih Dowlat] was used in 1925 for a convocation of national representatives (Majlis-i-Mu’assisan) at which the fall of the Qajar dynasty was announced. The officers of that historic gathering are shown in this photo. A Baha'i, 'Izzatu'llah Bakhshayish, shown fifth from left in front row, was the chief stenographer recording the event. Thus the downfall of the Qajar dynasty was announced through the will of the promised Husayn (Baha'u'llah) at the very site of His prison. It was known among the believers at the time that the Exalted Báb had predicted that the Qajar dynasty would fall 1,000 (lunar) months from time of His Revelation. However, research must be made to find the source. 
(Baha’i News, March 1976)