Chronological messages to Baha'is worldwide, on particular continents, in specific countries, or attending conferences.

March 1981

To the Bahá'ís of the world

Dearly loved friends,

The successes of the initial phase of the Seven Year Plan are heartening evidence of the Divine care with which the growth of the Cause of God is so lovingly invigorated and sheltered. This still infant Cause, harassed and buffeted over these two years by relentless enemies, experiencing in swift succession a number of sharply contrasting crises and victories, surrounded by the increasing turmoil of a disintegrating world, has raised its banner, reinforced its foundations, and extended the range of its administrative institutions.

The resurgence of bitter and barbaric persecution of the Faith in the land of its birth, the passing to the Abha Kingdom of five Hands of the Cause of God, the darkening of the horizons of the world as the somber shadows of universal convulsions and chaos extinguish the lights of justice and order, are among the factors which have chiefly affected the conditions and fortunes of the world-wide army of God.

The Bahá'í community in the Cradle of the Faith, having witnessed the destruction of its holiest Shrine, the sequestration of its Holy Places, confiscation of its endowments and even personal properties, the martyrdom of many of its adherents, the imprisonment and holding without trial or news of the members of its National Spiritual Assembly and other leading figures of its community, the deprivation of the means of livelihood, vilification and slander of its cherished tenets, has stood staunch as the Dawn-Breakers of old and emerged spiritually united and steadfast, the pride and inspiration of the entire Bahá'í world. In all continents of the globe, their example and hapless plight has led the friends to proclaim the Name of Bahá'u'lláh as never before, personally, locally, and through all the media of mass communication. The Bahá'í world community, acting through its representatives at the United Nations and through its National Spiritual Assemblies, has brought to the attention of governments and world leaders in many spheres the tenets and character of the Faith of God. The world's parliaments, its federal councils, its humanitarian agencies have considered the Bahá'í Cause and in many instances have extended their support and expressed their sympathy.

3 November 1980

To the Bahá'ís of the world

Dearly loved friends,

One of the greatest sources of consolation for the Universal House of Justice amid the tribulations of the past twelve years, has been the establishment and growth of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, and the assistance that this institution has been rendering, in ever-increasing measure, to the sound development of the world-wide Bahá'í community. We cannot pay too high a tribute to the indefatigable labours of the devoted souls who have been called upon to shoulder this onerous responsibility, and who have followed with such fidelity the path of self-sacrificing service that has been blazed for them by the beloved Hands of the Cause of God.

In June 1979 we were moved to announce that the duration of the terms of office of Continental Counsellors would be five years, to start on the Day of the Covenant of this year. As this date approaches, we have decided that the time is ripe for a further step in the development of the institution itself that will, at one and the same time, accord greater discretion and freedom of action to the Continental Boards of Counsellors in the carrying out of their duties, and widen the scope of each Board to embrace an entire continent. In accordance with this decision, the zones of the Continental Boards of Counsellors will, from the Day of the Covenant of the year 137 (26 November 1980), be as follows:

24 September 1980

To the Bahá'ís of the world

WITH HEARTS BRIMMING WITH GRATITUDE FOR BOUNTIFUL CONFIRMATIONS BLESSED BEAUTY ANNOUNCE FOLLOWING RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HOLY LAND:

IN BAHJI JUST ACQUIRED STRIP OF LAND 13,150 SQUARE METRES IN AREA BORDERING DRIVEWAY FROM WESTERN GATE BAHÁ'Í PROPERTY AREA ACQUIRED ADJACENT TO AND SOUTH OF PRESENT BOUNDARY OLIVE GROVE ENABLES SOUTHWEST QUADRANT GARDENS SURROUNDING MOST HOLY SHRINE BE COMPLETED. THIS ACQUISITION WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY EXCHANGE AGAINST PROPERTY ON MAIN ROAD TO NAZARETH DONATED WORLD CENTRE BY DESCENDANTS LATE HUSAYN BAQIR KASHANI.

ALSO PURCHASED NEARLY 50,000 SQUARE METRES AGRICULTURAL LAND ADJACENT TO AND NORTH OF MAZRA'IH PROPERTY AS PROTECTION TO MANSION IN RAPIDLY DEVELOPING AREA.

SHIPMENT OVER 1,000 PIECES COMPRISING 120 CUBIC METRES KATRINA CEDAR WOOD FROM TURKEY JUST CLEARED FROM HAIFA PORT FOR USE RESTORATION HOUSE ABDU'LLAH PASHA IN 'AKKA.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
(‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963 to 1986’)

16 July 1980

To the Bahá'ís of the world

WITH HEARTS LADEN WITH SORROW YET FILLED WITH PRIDE AND ADMIRATION ANNOUNCE MARTYRDOM IN CRADLE FAITH OF YADU'LLAH ASTANI AND FARAMARZ SAMANDARI RESPECTIVELY CHAIRMAN MEMBER LOCAL ASSEMBLY TABRIZ. THESE TWO HEROIC SOULS, TOGETHER WITH BAHAR VUJDANI OF MAHABAD, GHULAM-HUSAYN A'ZAMI OF SANGSAR AND MIR-ASADU'LLAH MUKHTARI OF BIRJAND, WHO DURING PAST SEVERAL MONTHS ALSO SUFFERED CRUEL MARTYRDOM, HAVE JOINED RANKS THEIR NOBLE FOREBEARS HEROIC AGE. BAHÁ'Í WORLD WITNESSING WITH AWE AND WONDER VALIANT BELIEVERS CRADLE FAITH, WORTHY HEIRS OF DAWN-BREAKERS, ONCE AGAIN BEARING SUCCESSIVE WAVES OF REPRESSION AND HARASSMENT, ARRESTS AND KILLINGS, AND CONFISCATION OF PERSONAL PROPERTIES.

MAY FOLLOWERS MOST GREAT NAME, INSPIRED BY PRODIGIOUS ACTS HEROISM THEIR LONG-SUFFERING BRETHREN IRAN, ARISE, WITH RENEWED CONSECRATION AND VIGOUR, WIN FRESH VICTORIES, REWARD SACRIFICES, COMPENSATE DISABILITIES, CHEER LONGING HEARTS STAUNCH STEADFAST BELIEVERS HOMELAND BAHÁ'U'LLÁH.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
(‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963 to 1986’)

Naw-Ruz 1980

To the Bahá'ís of the world

Dearly loved friends,

The successful launching of the Seven Year Plan and the advances made in the first year of its opening phase mitigate, in some degree, the disasters and calamities which, in the past year, have assailed the struggling Faith of God. The newest wave of persecution unleashed against us in the Cradle of our Faith has been compounded by Divine decree afflicting the entire Bahá'í world community. In the full tide of their brilliant services to the Faith of God, and within the short span of twenty weeks three Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Order, the Hands of the Cause of God Enoch Olinga, Rahmatu'llah Muhajir and Hasan Balyuzi were summoned to the Abha Kingdom, leaving the rest of us bereft and shocked by the enormity of our loss and the tragic brutality of the circumstances attending the murder of beloved Enoch Olinga and members of his family.

In Iran, the confusion which has seized the whole country opened the way for the fierce and inveterate enemies of the Faith, unrestrained by any effective authority, to indulge their fanatical hatred. The Holy House of the Báb has been demolished and proposals have been made to erase its very site. The Siyah-Chal and Bahá'u'lláh's Home in Tihran have been seized, together with all other Holy Places and properties. One member of the National Spiritual Assembly and two of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Tihran have been kidnapped and the whereabouts of two of them is still unknown, while the third is still in prison. Also, a Counsellor and some friends who are associated with the National Office or are members of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Tihran have been imprisoned. Bahá'ís have been heavily pressed to recant their faith and in one case a believer, who refused to do so, followed the glorious path of the martyrs and was executed. Beyond all this a campaign of vilification and false charges has been conducted against the friends in an effort to make them the scapegoat of unrestrained mobs.

10 February 1980

To the dear Iranian believers resident in other countries throughout the world [1]

In these tumultuous days when the lovers of the Best Beloved are remote from their homeland, associated with their fellow-believers in other lands, and participating in the services of the loyal supporters throughout the world, we felt it necessary to convey our thoughts to those distinguished friends, with absolute sincerity and affection, and invite them to that which we believe can guarantee their tranquillity and happiness, as well as their eternal salvation and redemption, so that with firm steps and sure hearts they may, God willing, withstand the onslaughts which have and will afflict all the countries of the globe. Thus they may fix their gaze on the dawn of the fulfilment of the soul- vitalizing promises of God and remain certain that behind these dark clouds the Sun of the Will of God is shining resplendent from its height of glory and might. Before long these dark clouds of contention, negligence, fanaticism, and rebellion shall disperse, the day of victory shall dawn above the horizon, and a new age shall illumine the world. It should not be surmised that the events which have taken place in all corners of the globe, including the sacred land of Iran, have occurred as isolated incidents without any aim and purpose. According to the words of our beloved Guardian, "The invisible hand is at work and the convulsions taking place on earth are a prelude to the proclamation of the Cause of God." This is but one of the mysterious forces of this supreme Revelation which is causing the limbs of mankind to quake and those who are drunk with pride and negligence to be thunderstruck and shaken. To the truth of this testifies the sacred verse: "The world's equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order," and the repeated warnings of the Pen of the Most High, such as:

Naw-Ruz 1979

To the Bahá'ís of the world

Dearly loved friends,

The decline of religious and moral restraints has unleashed a fury of chaos and confusion that already bears the signs of universal anarchy. Engulfed in this maelstrom, the Bahá'í world community, pursuing with indefeasible unity and spiritual force its redemptive mission, inevitably suffers the disruption of economic, social and civil life which afflicts its fellowmen throughout the planet. It must also bear particular tribulations. The violent disturbances in Persia, coinciding with the gathering in of the bountiful harvest of the Five Year Plan, have brought new and cruel hardships to our long-suffering brethren in the Cradle of our Faith and confronted the Bahá'í world community with critical challenges to its life and work. As the Bahá'í world stood poised on the brink of victory, eagerly anticipating the next stage in the unfoldment of the Master's Divine Plan, Bahá'u'lláh's heroic compatriots, the custodians of the Holy Places of our Faith in the land of its birth, were yet again called upon to endure the passions of brutal mobs, the looting and burning of their homes, the destruction of their means of livelihood, and physical violence and threats of death to force them to recant their faith. They, like their immortal forebears, the Dawn-Breakers, are standing steadfast in face of this new persecution and the ever-present threat of organized extermination.

3 January 1979

 -- Memorandum on Baha’i Scholarship, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice – accompanied by a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice dated 3 January 1979

The Bahá'í Studies Seminar on Ethics and Methodology Held in Cambridge on 30 September and 1 October 1978

This seminar seems to have provided a very valuable forum for the discussion of a number of aspects of Bahá'í scholarship, and the airing of certain problems which have been worrying some of the friends in relationship to their work and to their fellow believers. We believe that many of the problems arise from an attempt by some Bahá'í scholars to make use of methodologies devised by non-Bahá'ís without thinking through the implications of such a course and without working out a methodology which would be in consonance with the spirit of the Faith. The seminar itself may well prove to be an initial step in such a working out. The following remarks are intended merely to draw attention to certain aspects which we believe can help to advance this process.

It has become customary in the West to think of science and religion as occupying two distinct -- and even opposed -- areas of human thought and activity. This dichotomy can be characterized in the pairs of antitheses: faith and reason; value and fact. It is a dichotomy which is foreign to Bahá'í thought and should, we feel, be regarded with suspicion by Bahá'í scholars in every field. The principle of the harmony of science and religion means not only that religious teachings should be studied with the light of reason and evidence as well as of faith and inspiration, but also that everything in this creation, all aspects of human life and knowledge, should be studied in the light of revelation as well as in that of purely rational investigation. In other words, a Bahá'í scholar, when studying a subject, should not lock out of his mind any aspect of truth that is known to him.

3 January 1979

To the Participants in the Bahá'í Studies Seminar held in Cambridge on 30 September and 1 October 1978

Dear Bahá'í friends,

The Universal House of Justice has read with great interest the report of your seminar. It regards Bahá'í scholarship as of great potential importance for the development and consolidation of the Bahá'í community as it emerges from obscurity. It noted that there are a number of problems with which you have been grappling, and while it feels that it should, in general, leave the working out of solutions to Bahá'í scholars themselves, the House of Justice has the impression that it would be helpful to provide you, at this relatively early stage of the development of Bahá'í scholarship, with a few thoughts on matters raised during your seminar. Reports of your seminar were therefore referred to the Research Department, and the Universal House of Justice commends to your study the enclosed memorandum which that Department has prepared.

The House of Justice also urges you not to feel constrained in any way in consulting it about problems, whether theoretical or practical, that you meet in your work. It has noted, for example, the difficulties presented by the current temporary requirement for the review of publications, and in this connection it asks us to inform you that it has already established the policy that doctoral theses do not have to be reviewed unless there is a proposal to publish them in larger quantities than is required by the examining body.

You are still in the early stages of a very challenging and promising development in the life of the Bahá'í community, and the Universal House of Justice is eager to foster and assist your work in whatever ways it can. We are to assure you of its prayers in the Sacred Shrines on behalf of you all and of the progress of Bahá'í scholarship.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

Department of the Secretariat
(Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986)

3 January 1978

To the First International Bahá'í Women's Conference in South America
DELIGHTED GREAT SUCCESS WIDESPREAD ATTENDANCE EXCELLENT PUBLICITY PROCLAMATION FIRST INTERNATIONAL BAHÁ'Í WOMEN'S CONFERENCE SOUTH AMERICA WILL OFFER PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD DETERMINATION WIN GOALS PLAN WILL BE CONFIRMED.
UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
(Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986)

15 December 1977

To the Hemispheric Radio-Television Conference

EXTEND WARM GREETINGS ATTENDANTS HEMISPHERIC RADIO TELEVISION CONFERENCE. GREAT OPPORTUNITIES AFFORDED THOSE BAHÁ'ÍS TRAINED USE POWERS RADIO TELEVISION REACH HEARTS MINDS NUMBERLESS PERSONS AWAITING COMING KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH. MAY VOICE CAUSE BE RAISED BEFORE MILLIONS PROCLAIMING MESSAGE BAHÁ'U'LLÁH THROUGHOUT HEMISPHERE. SHARING OF TALENTS RESOURCES ZEAL WILL ASSUREDLY BRING GREAT CONFIRMATIONS. ASSURE LOVING PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES SUCCESS YOUR IMPORTANT DELIBERATIONS.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
(Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986)

13 October 1977

To the Bahá'í Women's Conference in New Delhi, India

WITH UTMOST JOY HAIL BAHÁ'Í WOMEN'S CONFERENCE GRACED PRESENCE AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM AS ANOTHER MAJOR STEP IN ASIA LEADING TO FULL RECOGNITION NOBLE STATION FULFILMENT THEIR GREAT POTENTIALITIES THEIR SIGNIFICANT ROLE PROMOTION CAUSE IMMENSE RESPONSIBILITIES THEY ARE CALLED UPON TO DISCHARGE IN CO-OPERATION WITH THEIR BRETHREN IN BUILDING NEW CIVILIZATION SHELTERING ALL MANKIND. ARDENTLY PRAYING SACRED THRESHOLD THIS GATHERING MAY BECOME LANDMARK PROGRESS FAITH ASIA STRENGTHEN WING HUMANITY SO TENDERLY ENCOURAGED BY BLESSED BEAUTY ENABLE COMMUNITIES CONTINENT SOAR HEIGHTS GLORIOUS VICTORIES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
(Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986) 

Ridvan 1977

IN EARLY DAYS OF JUNE 1877 BAHÁ'U'LLÁH LEFT CITY 'AKKA AND TOOK UP RESIDENCE IN MAZRA'IH. TO MARK CENTENARY THIS TERMINATION CONFINEMENT ANCIENT BEAUTY WITHIN WALLS PRISON CITY WE CALL UPON HIS FOLLOWERS ALL LANDS DEVOTE NINETEEN DAY FEAST OF NUR COMMEMORATION HISTORIC EVENT, REDEDICATING THEMSELVES URGENT TASKS BEFORE THEM, SO THAT PENT-UP ENERGIES HIS PRECIOUS FAITH MAY BE RELEASED TO REACH EVER GREATER NUMBER SEEKING SOULS IN EVER WIDER CIRCLE THEIR FELLOWMEN.
- The Universal House of Justice (Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963 to 1986)

February 1977

To the followers of Bahá'u'lláh gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Merida, Mexico

Dearly loved friends,

With joyous hearts and eager anticipation we send warmest greetings to you the participants in the last of the eight great International Teaching Conferences marking the halfway point of the Five Year Plan.

The convening of this Conference in the Republic of Mexico, in the capital city of a state that was once an important part of a great Indian empire, provides a unique opportunity to initiate what may well become the widespread reawakening of a people whose ancestors more than 1,200 years ago developed one of the most brilliant pre- Columbian civilizations known to modern man. These present-day descendants, many of whom have already embraced the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and who consider the Yucatan Peninsula and the seacoast lowlands and rugged spine of mountains joining North and South America to be their homeland, are among the very people mentioned by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Tablets of the Divine Plan as having a great destiny once they have accepted His Father's Cause. Here, too, and throughout Middle America, are those whose forefathers came from the Iberian Peninsula, Africa, and the Far East linking the Old with the New World.

Conscious of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's impassioned plea to promulgate the oneness of mankind to a spiritually impoverished humanity, a handful of itinerant Bahá'í' teachers set forth four decades ago, traversed the land bridge connecting the two continents of the Western Hemisphere and carried the healing Message of Bahá'u'lláh to the Spanish-American Republics. Their dedicated efforts were rewarded when, in 1938, the first Local Spiritual Assembly in Latin America was formed in Mexico City. This initial triumph at the inception of the first of the teaching plans formulated by Shoghi Effendi spearheaded other victories leading to the formation of two, then of four Regional Spiritual Assemblies and ultimately to the establishment of National Spiritual Assemblies in each of the republics of Latin America and in the islands of the Caribbean.

January 1977

To the followers of Bahá'u'lláh gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Bahia, Brazil

Dearly loved friends,

With joyous hearts we hail the convocation of this first of the twin Latin American Conferences closing the series of eight International Bahá'í Conferences held during the midway period of the Five Year Plan.

The ringing call of Bahá'u'lláh in His Most Holy Book to the Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein was followed after an interval of more than four decades by the revelation of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablets of the Divine Plan in which the beloved Master stressed the importance of the Republics of the South American Continent.

The first believer to respond to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's divine call was that star-servant of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, valiant, indomitable Martha Root, who in 1919 visited many important cities in South America. Two years later Leonora Holsapple Armstrong, mother of the Bahá'ís of Brazil, settled in Bahia. The  teaching work in the continent progressed steadily to the point where, in 1937, the beloved Guardian launched his first Seven Year Plan paving the way for the raising in subsequent Plans of the institution of Bahá'u'lláh Administrative Order in every one of its republics and in its islands. It was in the course of that first Seven Year Plan that 'Abdu'l-Bahá's beloved handmaid, May Maxwell, in 1940 won a martyr's crown when she laid down her life in Argentina, thereby adding further lustre to the spiritual history of South America.

January 1977

To the friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Auckland

Dearly loved friends,

With hearts full of love and admiration for the followers of the Most Great Name in Australasia we send our warmest greetings to all assembled in this historic gathering in the heart of the Antipodes.

How great is your place in Bahá'í history! How bright are the prospects for the future of the Cause so lovingly nurtured for more than half a century by hundreds of stalwart steadfast believers, spiritual heirs of Hyde and Clara Dunn, who in direct response to the Tablets of the Divine Plan forsook their home and went to pioneer in Australia, and whose names, Shoghi Effendi wrote, were "graven in letters of gold" upon his heart. In March 1951, when in the entire Pacific area there was but one National Spiritual Assembly, the beloved Guardian predicted that "The prizes destined for the heroic warriors, battling for the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the Southern Hemisphere, and particularly Australasia, are glorious beyond compare. The assistance to be vouchsafed to them from on high in their struggle for its establishment, its recognition and triumph is ready to be poured forth in astonishing abundance."

Now, twenty-five years later, the achievements are truly astounding. Beginning with the establishment of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of New Zealand at Ridvan 1957, the number of National Assemblies has increased eleven-fold; the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Antipodes has been erected near Sydney; His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa has become the first reigning monarch to embrace the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh; the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies now stands at over 360; and the number of localities where Bahá'ís reside in this vast oceanic area covering well-nigh one-eighth of the earth's surface is more than 1,800. These accomplishments doubtless have been a source of great joy to the immortal soul of Shoghi Effendi, whose esteem and affection for the followers of Bahá'u'lláh labouring for His Cause in the Antipodes was frequently expressed in glowing terms in his letters to the Assemblies and friends in Australasia.

November 1976

To the friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Hong Kong

Dearly loved friends,

With grateful and joyous hearts we extend our warmest greetings and express our highest hopes to the followers of Bahá'u'lláh gathered, at this critical point of the Five Year Plan, in this Conference on Asia's eastern shore. This great continent has nourished mighty civilizations; above its horizons the suns of major Revelations of God have risen; on its soil many of the heroes of this New Age have shed their blood and offered their lives in token of their love for Him Who is the Beloved of the World and the Desire of the Nations.

What an imperishable glory has been bestowed upon the people of Asia, the first to be illumined by the rays of God's Faith, the first recipients of His Call and the first promoters of His Cause. Their spiritual capacity is extolled and the great role they are destined to play in the strengthening of the foundation of the New World Order of Bahá'u'lláh unhesitatingly affirmed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Tablets of the Divine Plan.

This great continent contains within its boundaries the heart of the Faith and its Cradle, the lands wherein its Founders toiled and suffered, and not only the great majority of the human race but the great majority of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh. The potentiality of such a situation cannot be underestimated, nor must the great force latent within so large a proportion of the Army of Light be neglected. They must be mobilized to accelerate the expansion of the beloved Cause, to consolidate its victories, to enhance its prestige and to augment its influence. We appeal to every participant in this historic Conference to become conscious of these tremendous but hidden potentialities which, if properly tapped and directed, can hasten the process of the spiritualization of the nations of Asia, the influence of which will extend far beyond the confines of that continent -- even to the entire planet.

15 October 1976

To the friends gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Nairobi, Kenya 

REJOICE SHARE WITH FRIENDS AT NAIROBI CONFERENCE JOYOUS TIDINGS RECEIVED FROM CRADLE FAITH FRIENDS PROVINCE KHURASAN WHERE MIGHTY EVENTS TOOK PLACE EARLY YEARS HEROIC AGE HAVE WON UNIQUE DISTINCTION. EVERY LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY EVEN EVERY GROUP THAT PROVINCE HAS FORMULATED ITS LOCAL GOALS AND EVERY INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER HAS ADOPTED PERSONAL TEACHING GOALS. OBJECTIVE ENVISAGED FIVE YEAR PLAN BRILLIANTLY OUTSTRIPPED. FERVENTLY PRAYING SHRINES SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES GROUPS INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS EVERY LAND WILL BE INSPIRED FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
(Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963 to 1986)

26 September 1976

To the friends gathered at the International Conference in Nairobi

Beloved friends,

The flames of enthusiasm which ignited the hearts of the followers and lovers of the Most Great Name in Helsinki, in Anchorage and in Paris are now being kindled in a city which occupies a central and envied position at the very crossroads of the vast African mainland and are destined to illumine its horizons. This Conference marking the imminent approach of the midway point of the Five Year Plan which coincides with the anniversary of the birth of the Blessed Báb, will no doubt go down in Bahá'í history as a further landmark in the irresistible march of events which have characterized the impact of the Faith of God upon that continent.

We recall that in addition to Quddus the only other companion of the Báb on His pilgrimage to Mecca was an Ethiopian, and that he and his wife were intimately associated with Him and His household in Shiraz. During the Ministry of Bahá'u'lláh a few of His stalwart disciples reached the north-eastern shores of Africa, and under His direct guidance, announced the glad tidings of the New Day to the people of the Nile, thus opening to the Faith two countries of the African mainland. Soon afterwards, His blessed person approached those shores in the course of His exile to the Holy Land. Still later He voiced His significant utterance in which He compared the coloured people to "the black pupil of the eye," through which "the light of the spirit shineth forth." Just over six years after His ascension, the first member of the black race to embrace His Cause in the West, who was destined to become a disciple of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, a herald of the Kingdom, and the door through which numberless members of his race were to enter that Kingdom, came on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the first group of Western friends who arrived in 'Akká to visit the Centre of the Covenant. This was followed by a steady extension of the teaching work among the black people of North America, and the opening to the Faith, by the end of the Heroic Age, of two more countries in Africa, under the watchful care of the Master, Whose three visits to Egypt have blessed the soil of that Continent. Prior to the conclusion of the first Bahá'í century the number of countries opened to the Faith had been raised to seven, and the teaching work among the black race in North America had entered a new phase of development through the continuous guidance flowing from the pen of Shoghi Effendi, who himself traversed the African continent twice from south to north, and who, in the course of his ministry, elevated two members of the black race to the rank of Hand of the Cause, appointed three more believers residing in Africa to that high office, and there raised up four National Spiritual Assemblies.

August 1976

To the Friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Paris

Dearly loved friends,

The brilliance of Paris in the story of European civilization bids fair to be renewed with even greater splendour during the Day of the Lord of Hosts and the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth. The annals of Paris in this Day have already acquired eternal lustre from events of mightier import, of greater universal significance and more sacred character than any which its past history has witnessed. The visits of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Centre of God's inviolable Covenant, alone outshine in historical importance anything in the long history of France, and are immortalized in the greatly loved collection of His discourses given in that capital city. Beyond this, we recall with awe and pride that it was at 'Abdu'l-Bahá's instruction that the illustrious May Maxwell succeeded in establishing in Paris the first Bahá'í centre on the European Continent, a continent described by Shoghi Effendi as "the cradle of a civilization to some of whose beneficent features the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh has paid significant tribute; on whose soil both the Greek and Roman civilizations were born and flourished; which has contributed so richly to the unfoldment of American civilization; the fountainhead of American culture; the mother of Christendom, and the scene of the greatest exploits of the followers of Jesus Christ," and experiencing "the first stirrings of that spiritual revolution" which must culminate in the permanent establishment throughout its diversified lands of the divinely ordained Order of Bahá'u'lláh. This first centre was rapidly reinforced by the conversion of the first English believer and of the first Frenchman to accept the Faith -- the distinguished Hippolyte Dreyfus, whose "Pre-eminent role" it was to kindle "the torch which is destined to shed eternal illumination upon his native land and its people" and by Laura Barney, whose "imperishable service" was to transmit to posterity Some Answered Questions. The steadfastness and devotion of the Paris Bahá'í Community during the dark and sombre days of the Second World War earned great praise from the beloved Guardian of the Faith, while the recent signs of widespread and effective teaching work throughout France lend wings to the hope that this veteran, sorely tested and steadfast community is about to gather the harvest of those potent seeds sown and nourished so lovingly by 'Abdu'l-Bahá.