With a glad and grateful heart I welcome the convocation, in the capital city of Sweden, of the third of a series of Intercontinental Teaching Conferences associated with the world-wide festivities commemorating the centenary of the Mission of Bahá'u'lláh and destined to exert a profound and lasting influence on the immediate fortunes of His Faith in all continents of the globe.
I look back, with feelings of wonder, thankfulness and joy, upon the chain of memorable circumstances which, a little over a century ago, accompanied the introduction of the Faith into, and marked the inception of its nascent institutions within, a continent which, in the course of the last two thousand years, has exercised on the destiny of the human race a pervasive influence unequaled by that of any other continent of the globe.
I feel impelled, on this historic occasion, when the members of the American, the British, the German and the newly formed Italo-Swiss National Spiritual Assemblies, as well as representatives of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom, of Eire, of Germany, of Austria, of the Scandinavian and Benelux countries, of the Iberian Peninsula, of Italy, of Switzerland, of France and of Finland are assembled, to pay a warm tribute to the valiant labors of the early British and French Bahá'í pioneers, who at the very dawn of the Faith in Europe, strove with such diligence, consecration and resolution, to fan into flame that holy fire which the hand of the appointed Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant had kindled in the northwest extremity of that continent on the morrow of His Father's ascension. I recall the slow eastward spread of that infant light which led to the gradual emergence of the German and Austrian Bahá'í Communities, during the darkest period of `Abdu'l-Bahá's incarceration in the prison-fortress of `Akká. I am reminded of His subsequent epoch-making visit, soon after His providential release from His forty-year confinement in the Most Great Prison, to these newly fledged struggling communities, of His patient seed-sowing destined to yield at a later age its first fruits, and constituting a landmark of the utmost significance in the rise and establishment of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in that continent.
EMERGENCE OF FAITH'S EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS
I, moreover, call to mind, on this occasion, the successive episodes which, on the morrow of `Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension, in the course of the initial epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, signalized the emergence of those administrative institutions, both local and national, which proclaimed the germination of those potent seeds which had lain dormant for more than a decade in these newly opened European territories, and which culminated in the construction of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and the erection of the first two pillars destined to sustain in that continent the weight of the final unit of that Order.
Nor can I fail to acclaim, as a further milestone in the irresistible evolution of that Faith, the launching, following the creation of the administrative agencies designed to provide the effectual instruments for its propagation, of the Six-Year Plan of the British Bahá'í Community followed successively by the European Teaching Campaign, inaugurated in accordance with the provisions of the Second Seven-Year Plan of the American Bahá'í Community, the Five-Year Plan conceived by the German and Austrian Bahá'í Communities and the Two-Year Plan later initiated by the British Bahá'í Community-- Plans which, within less than a decade, succeeded in laying the structural basis of the Administrative Order of the Faith in Wales, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland and in Eire, in multiplying and consolidating Bahá'í institutions throughout the British Isles, in broadening and strengthening the foundations of that same Order in Germany and Austria, in erecting the National Administrative Headquarters of the Faith in the city of Frankfurt, in establishing spiritual assemblies in the capital cities of no less than ten sovereign states in Europe, in reinforcing the administrative foundations of that Faith in those territories, in providing the means for the convocation of five European, and a series of regional, teaching conferences, and above all, in the convocation of the historic convention in Florence culminating in the emergence of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Italy and Switzerland, the third in a series of institutions destined to play their part in the eventual establishment of the supreme legislative body of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.
The hour is now ripe for these communities whether new or old, local or national, already functioning on the northern, the western and the southern fringes of that continent, as well as those situated in its very heart, to initiate befittingly and prosecute energetically the European campaign of a global Crusade which will not only contribute, to an unprecedented degree, to the broadening and the consolidation of the foundations of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh on the continent of Europe, but will also diffuse its light over the neighboring islands, and will, God willing, carry its radiance to the eastern territories of that continent, and beyond them as far as the heart of Asia.
CRUSADE PROJECTS TO BE UNDERTAKEN
The privileged prosecutors of so revolutionizing, so gigantic, so sacred and beneficent a campaign, are, on the morrow of its launching, and, at such a crucial hour in the destinies of the European continent, summoned to undertake:
First, the formation, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, of one national spiritual assembly in each one of the Scandinavian and Benelux countries, and those of the Iberian Peninsula, and one in Finland, as well as the establishment, in collaboration with the Paris Spiritual Assembly, of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of France; the establishment, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Germany and Austria, of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Austria; and the establishment, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, and in association with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Italy and Switzerland, of independent National Spiritual Assemblies in Italy and Switzerland.
Second, the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of Europe in the city of Frankfurt, the heart of Germany, which occupies such a central position in the continent of Europe.
Third, the purchase of land for the future construction of two &Mashriqu'l-Adhkars, one in the north in the city of Stockholm, and one in the south in the city of Rome, the seat and stronghold of the most powerful church in Christendom.
Fourth, the opening of the following thirty virgin territories and islands: Albania, Crete, Estonia, Finno-Karelia, Frisian Islands, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Rumania, White Russia, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Germany and Austria; Channel Islands, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Hebrides Islands, Malta, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles; Andorra, Azores, Balearic Islands, Lofoten Islands, Spitzbergen, Ukraine, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America; Liechtenstein, Monaco, Rhodes, San Marino, Sardinia, Sicily, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Italy and Switzerland.
Fifth, the translation and publication of Bahá'í literature in the following ten languages to be undertaken by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America, through its European Teaching Committee: Basque, Estonian, Flemish, Lapp, Maltese, Piedmontese, Romani, Romansch, Yiddish, Ziryen.
Sixth, the consolidation of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America; of Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Russian S.F.S., Yugoslavia, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Germany and Austria; of Eire, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles; of Iceland, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada; and of Corsica, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Italy and Switzerland.
Seventh, the incorporation of the thirteen above-mentioned national spiritual assemblies.
Eighth, the establishment by these same national spiritual assemblies of national Bahá'í endowments.
Ninth, the establishment of a national Haziratu'l-Quds in the capital city of each of the countries where national spiritual assemblies are to be established, as well as one in London and one in Paris.
Tenth, the formation of a national Bahá'í Publishing Trust in Frankfurt, Germany.
Eleventh, the formation of Israel branches of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles and of Germany and Austria, authorized to hold, on behalf of their parent institutions, property dedicated to the holy shrines at the World Center of the Faith in the state of Israel.
Twelfth, the conversion to the Faith of representatives of the Basque and Gypsy races.
Thirteenth, the appointment, during Ridván 1954, by the Hands of the Cause in Europe, of an Auxiliary Board of nine members who will, in conjunction with the four national spiritual assemblies participating in the European campaign, assist, through periodic and systematic visits to Bahá'í centers, in the efficient and prompt execution of the plans formulated for the prosecution of the teaching campaign in the European continent.
OPENING OF A GREAT SPIRITUAL REVIVAL
A continent, occupying such a central and strategic position on the entire planet; so rich and eventful in its history, so diversified in its culture; from whose soil sprang both the Hellenic and Roman civilizations; the mainspring of a civilization to some of whose features Bahá'u'lláh Himself paid tribute; on whose southern shores Christendom first established its home; along whose eastern marches the mighty forces of the Cross and the Crescent so frequently clashed; on whose southwestern extremity a fast evolving Islamic culture yielded its fairest fruit; in whose heart the light of the Reformation shone so brightly, shedding its rays as far as the outlying regions of the globe; the wellspring of American culture; whose northern and western fringes were first warmed and illuminated, less than a century ago, by the dawning light of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh; in whose heart a community, so rich in promise, was subsequently established; whose soil was later sanctified by the twice-repeated visit of the appointed Center of His Covenant; which witnessed, in consequence of the rise and establishment of the Administrative Order of His Faith, the erection of two of the foremost pillars of the future Universal House of Justice; which, in recent years, sustained the dynamic impact of a series of national plans preparatory to the launching of a World Spiritual Crusade-- such a continent has at last at this critical hour--this great turning-point in its fortunes--entered upon what may well be regarded as the opening phase of a great spiritual revival that bids fair to eclipse any period in its spiritual history.
May the elected representatives of the national Bahá'í communities entrusted with the conduct of this momentous undertaking launched on the soil of this continent, aided by the Hands of the Cause and their Auxiliary Board, reinforced by the local communities, the groups and isolated believers sharing in this massive and collective enterprise, and supported by the subsidiary agencies to be appointed for its efficient prosecution, be graciously assisted by the Lord of Hosts to contribute, in the years immediately ahead, through their concerted efforts and collective achievements, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í activity, to the success of this glorious Crusade, and lend a tremendous impetus to the conversion, the reconciliation and the ultimate unification of the divers and conflicting peoples, races and classes dwelling within the borders of a travailing, a sorely agitated, and spiritually famished continent.
May all the privileged participators, enlisting under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh for the promotion of so preeminent and meritorious a Cause, be they from the Eastern or Western Hemisphere, of either sex, white or colored, young or old, neophyte or veteran, whether serving in their capacity as expounders of the teachings, or administrators, of His Faith, as settlers or itinerant teachers, distinguish themselves by such deeds of heroism as will rival, nay outshine, the feats accomplished nineteen hundred years ago, by that little band of God-intoxicated disciples who, fearlessly preaching the Gospel of a newly arisen Messiah, contributed so decisively to the illumination, the regeneration and the advancement of the entire European continent.