Citadel of Faith

Letters to the American Bahá'í Community

Centenary of the Martyrdom of the Báb

Moved to share with assembled representatives of American Bahá'í Community gathered beneath the dome of the Most Holy House of Worship in the Bahá'í world, feelings of profound emotion evoked by this historic occasion of the world-wide commemoration of the First Centenary of the Martyrdom of the Blessed Báb, Prophet and Herald of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, Founder of the Dispensation marking the culmination of the six thousand year old Adamic Cycle, Inaugurator of the five thousand century Bahá'í Cycle.

Poignantly call to mind the circumstances attending the last act consummating the tragic ministry of the Master-Hero of the most sublime drama in the religious annals of mankind, signalizing the most dramatic event of the most turbulent period of the Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, destined to be recognized by posterity as the most precious, momentous sacrifice in the world's spiritual history. Recall the peerless tributes paid to His memory by the Founder of the Faith, acclaiming Him Monarch of God's Messengers, the Primal Point round Whom the realities of all the Prophets circle in adoration. Profoundly stirred by the memory of the agonies He suffered, the glad-tidings He announced, the warnings He uttered, the forces He set in motion, the adversaries He converted, the disciples He raised up, the conflagrations He precipitated, the legacy He left of faith and courage, the love He inspired. Acknowledge with bowed head, joyous, thankful heart the successive, marvelous evidence of His triumphant power in the course of the hundred years elapsed since the last crowning act of His meteoric ministry.

The creative energies released at the hour of the birth of His Revelation, endowing mankind with the potentialities of the attainment of maturity are deranging, during the present transitional age, the equilibrium of the entire planet as the inevitable prelude to the consummation in world unity of the coming of age of the human race. The portentous but unheeded warnings addressed to kings, princes, ecclesiastics are responsible for the successive overthrow of fourteen monarchies of East and West, the collapse of the institution of the Caliphate, the virtual extinction of the Pope's temporal sovereignty, the progressive decline in the fortunes of the ecclesiastical hierarchies of the Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Hindu Faiths.

The Order eulogized and announced in His writings, whose laws Bahá'u'lláh subsequently revealed in the Most Holy Book, whose features `Abdu'l-Bahá delineated in His Testament, is now passing through its embryonic stage through the emergence of the initial institutions of the world Administrative Order in the five continents of the globe. The clarion call sounded in the Qayyúmu'l-Asma', summoning the peoples of the West to forsake their homes and proclaim His message, was nobly answered by the communities of the Western Hemisphere headed by the valorous, stalwart American believers, the chosen vanguard of the all-conquering, irresistibly marching army of the Faith in the western world.

The embryonic Faith, maturing three years after His martyrdom, traversing the period of infancy in the course of the Heroic Age of the Faith is now steadily progressing towards maturity in the present Formative Age, destined to attain full stature in the Golden Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation.

Lastly the Holy Seed of infinite preciousness, holding within itself incalculable potentialities representing the culmination of the centuries-old process of the evolution of humanity through the energies released by the series of progressive Revelations starting with Adam and concluded by the Revelation of the Seal of the Prophets, marked by the successive appearance of the branches, leaves, buds, blossoms and plucked, after six brief years by the hand of destiny, ground in the mill of martyrdom and oppression but yielding the oil whose first flickering light cast upon the somber, subterranean walls of the Siyáh-Chál of Tihrán, whose fire gathered brilliance in Baghdád and shone in full resplendency in its crystal globe in Adrianople, whose rays warmed and illuminated the fringes of the American, European, Australian continents through the tender ministerings of the Center of the Covenant, whose radiance is now overspreading the surface of the globe during the present Formative Age, whose full splendor is destined in the course of future milleniums to suffuse the entire planet.

Already the crushing of this God-imbued kernel upon the anvil of adversity has ignited the first sparks of the Holy Fire latent within it through the emergence of the firmly knit world-encompassing community constituting no less than twenty-five hundred centers established throughout a hundred countries representing over thirty races and extending as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as the Straits of Magallanes, equipped with literature translated into sixty languages and possessing endowments nearing ten million dollars, enriched through the erection of two Houses of Worship in the heart of the Asiatic and North American continents and the stately mausoleum reared in its World Center, consolidated through the incorporation of over a hundred of its national and local assemblies and reinforced through the proclamation of its independence in the East, its recognition in the West, eulogized by royalty, buttressed by nine pillars sustaining the future structure of its supreme administrative council, energized through the simultaneous prosecution of specific plans conducted under the aegis of its national councils designed to enlarge the limits and extend the ramifications and consolidate the foundations of its divinely appointed Administrative Order over the surface of the entire planet.

I appeal on this solemn occasion, rendered doubly sacred through the approaching hundredth anniversary of the most devastating holocaust in the annals of the Faith, at this anxious hour in the fortunes of this travailing age, to the entire body of the American believers, the privileged occupants and stout-hearted defenders of the foremost citadel of the Faith, to rededicate themselves and resolve, no matter how great the perils confronting their sister communities on the European, Asiatic, African and Australian continents, however somber the situation facing both the cradle of the Faith and its World Center, however grievous the vicissitudes they themselves may eventually suffer, to hold aloft unflinchingly the torch of the Faith impregnated with the blood of innumerable martyrs and transmit it unimpaired so that it may add luster to future generations destined to labor after them.

[July 4, 1950]

Citadel of Faith
Letters to the American Bahá'í Community
pages 80-83

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