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from the Chronology

date event locations tags see also
1913. 16 Jun The Second Balkan War broke out on 16 June 1913 when Bulgaria, dissatisfied with the territorial gains it had made in the Treaty of London (1913), attacked its former allies, Serbia and Greece. Those armies repulsed the Bulgarian offensive and then attacked, penetrating into Bulgaria. Romania and the Ottomans used the opportunity to intervene against Bulgaria to make territorial gains. In the resulting Treaty of Constantinople (29 September 1913) with a redrawing of borders on ethnical lines they recovered Adrianople. [Colonialism, Nationalism and Jewish Immigration to Palestine: Abdu´l-Baha's Viewpoints Regarding the Middle East by Kamran Ekbal p6] Bulgaria; Romania; Serbia; Greece; Constantinople; Adrianople; Turkey
1926. 28 Oct One again Louise Gregory embarked from Boston to Liverpool on the SS Winifredian of the Leyland Line where she arrived on the 28th of October. After spending some time in Liverpool and York she stayed for a while in Bruessels and then went to Graz in Austria where she reconnected with the active Bahá'í group there. Her next stop was Vienna and then on to her destination, Budapest.

In the spring of 1927 she went to Sofia, Bulgaria.where Martha Root had visited for 12 days in February.

In June of 1927 Louise returned to New York in the United States from Boulongne-sur-Mer, France. During this trip she had visited Liverpool, York and London in England, Brussels in Belgium, Graz and Vienna in Austria, Budapest, Hungary and Sofia in Bulgaria. [SYH140-145, 240]

Liverpool; United Kingdom; Brussels; Belgium; Graz; Austria; Vienna; Austria; Budapest; Hungary; Sofia; Bulgaria Louise Gregory; Teaching
1926 First week in Feb Martha Root arrived in Bulgaria, the earliest documented visit to that country by a Bahá'í. [MR247]
  • She stayed 12 days. [MR247]
  • Bahá'ís had passed through Bulgaria on their way to Turkey, but Martha Root's visit was the first one documented.
  • Bulgaria Martha Root
    1928. Mar (date approximate) In early Spring Louise Gregory sailed for Dresden, Germany where she spent 11 days renewing old acquaintances. [SYH149]
  • Around the beginning of April she went to Prague were she met with Martha Root and spent about 2 weeks. [SYH149]
  • By March or perhaps mid April she was in Sofia installed at the Hotel Union Palace and nourishing her group of about 5 interested persons. Her knowledge of Esperanto was link to her contacts. On the 14th and the 18th of the month there were severe earthquakes near Bulgaria's second city, Plovdiv. The shocks were felt in Sofia so normal activity was suspended temporarily. [SYH149-150]
  • In May, to escape the heat of the summer in Sofia she took refuge the Villa Viktoria in Trenčianske Teplice, a spa town situated in the Carpathian mountains of Slovakia. She stayed there in June, July and most of August. Here she received a great deal of assistance from an attracted soul, Dr Binder and his friend, Mr Schapira. An earthquake in Bulgaria's second city, Plovdiv, upset the country and the teaching work [SYH150-152]
  • On about the 20th of August she made her way to Vienna and spent time with a previous contact. From there she took boat down the Danube on August 26th and arrived in Ruse, Bulgaria on the 30th of August and travelled overland to Sofia where she resumed her work with her study group in mid-September. One of her contacts translated Dr Esslemont's pamphlet "What is the Bahá'í Movement" into Bulgarian and 2000 copies were printed. She held study classes, taught languages, held public meeting and put articles in the local paper to attract interested persons. [SYH155; BN No 31 April 1929 p4]
  • On the 19th of March 1929 she departed Sofia en route to Haifa and her second pilgrimage. It is likely that she took the Simplon Orient Express to Tripoli, Lebanon and then by autobus to Beirut and Haifa. The latter part of the journey was completed by the Nairn Transport Company. [SYH161-165]
  • After her pilgrimage she sailed from Haifa on the SS Asia of the French Fabre Line to Providence, Rhode Island where she arrived on the 13th of May 1929. From their she travelled home to their cottage at Green Acre. During this trip to Europe she had visited Dresden in Germany, had accompanied Martha Root in Prague, Czechoslovakia, spent the summer in Teplice, Czechoslovakia and went back to Sofia before embarking on pilgrimage. [SYH165-166, 241]
  • Desden; Germany; Prague; Czechoslovakia; Sofia; Bulgaria; Trenčianske Teplice; Slovakia; Vienna; Austria; Haifa Louise Gregory; Louise Gregory, pilgrimage
    1930 Nov Louise Gregory sailed on the SS Sinaia from Providence, Rhode Island with a destination of Constanta in Romania. The ship carried her via the Azores, Algiers and Istanbul. In all possibility she visited Bucharest and Poland before arriving at her destination of Sofia some time in January. [SYH169]
  • Marion Jack had been on pilgrimage and Shoghi Effendi suggested she might go to Sofia to help Louise. She left Haifa near the end of March, stopped over briefly in Cyprus then on to Trieste and then to Sofia. Meanwhile Louise had been informed by the American Legation that the police had become suspicious of her "non-Christian" work and she had to vacate the country before the expiration of her visa. [SYH172, NBAD122, 143-144]
  • Louise left Sofia on the 8th of April. She stopped in Geneva, Switzerland to visit her friends at the international Bahá'í Bureau. After making her way to England she departed from Liverpool on the SS Britannic on the 24th of April arriving in Boston on the 2nd of May. [SYH241]
  • Marion had arrived in Sofia on the 9th of April 1931. [SYH172]
  • Sofia; Bulgaria; Geneva, Switzerland Louise Gregory; Marion Jack; Pilgrimage; International Bahai Bureau
    1931 Apr Marion Jack arrived in Sofia, Bulgaria, to begin her pioneering service. Sofia; Bulgaria Marion Jack
    1931 Oct Notwithstanding the fact that her visa had not been renewed the previous year, Louise Gregory returned to Bulgaria, this time to Varna, a resort on the Black Sea. Marion Jack was able to join her from Sofia and their teaching efforts met with some success. Marion had not only continued Louise's work in Sofia but started a group in Turnova. Much credit is due to George Adam Benke for his part in her success. [SYH173; NBAD137] Varna, Bulgaria; Turnova, Bulgaria; Sofia Louise Gregory; Marion Jack; George Adam Benke
    1932 (Spring) Louise Gregory left Varna in the early Spring to go first to Prague Brno and, then to Budapest. She continued her tour around Europe and by July she was in Salzburg, Austria. She spent the summer in the coolness of the mountains of Germany and Austria. By the autumn of 1932 she was back in Varna once again having visited Hamburg, Leipzig, Vienna, Salzburg and Budapest. [NBAD176; SYH177]
  • Marion Jack was based in Varna at this time.
  • In May, 1933 she left Varna for Salzburg, Austria where she spent four days before moving on to Hamburg, Germany to depart for New York. She arrived on the 26th of May 1933 on the SS Hamburg of the Hamburg-American Line. During this trip she had visited Varna, Bulgaria and Brno in Czechoslovakia, Budapest in Hungary, Salzburg in Austria, Berchtesgaden and Stuttgart in Germany. [SYH178, 241]
  • Varna, Bulgaria Louise Gregory
    1932. May or Jun Two Bahá'ís from Germany settled in Sofia, Bulgaria to assist Marion Jack. Lina and George Benke had become Bahá'ís in Leipzig after hearing of the Faith from Harlan and Grace Ober and Alma Knobloch. From June 1931 and later in May 1932 the couple travelled to Sofia and settled there as pioneers where their contacts were mostly in the Esperanto community. In the few months they were there George travelled to Stara Zagora, Varna and Plovdiv, all towns some distance from Sofia. He was elderly and in frail health and passed away in November, 1932. [SYH176] Sofia; Stara Zagora; Varna; Plovdiv; Bulgaria George Benke; Lina Benke
    1932. 23 Nov The passing of George Adam Benke (b. Fredericksfelt, south Russia in 1878) in Sofia, Bulgaria. Shoghi Effendi declared him to be "the first European martyr. [BW5:416–418, LDG1p263]
  • He had become a Bahá'í as a result of the visit of Harlan and Grace Ober to Leipzig in 1920 and the further efforts of Miss Alma Knoblock. [BW5p416]
  • He translated the works of Bahálláh that had been translated into Russian by Thomansky and Rosenberg.
  • In June of 1931 he was called upon to help Marion Jack in Sofia where is knowledge of Russian facilitated his efforts. He stayed for three months.
  • Again in 1932 he was asked to go to Sofia where he passed away after a very short period of discomfort.
  • Shoghi Effendi called him the first European martyr. [LDG1:263; MC359]
  • Photo 1 of his gravesite in Sofia.
  • Photo 2 of his headstone.
  • Fredericksfelt(Russia); Russia; Sofia; Bulgaria George Benke; In Memoriam; George Adam Benke; Names and titles; Martyrs; Firsts, Other
    1933. 9 or 13 Sep (or possibly mid-November) Louise Gregory sailed from Boston to Europe on the SS Sinai. She spent some time in Salzburg and met with Miss Steffi Fürth whom she had met a year earlier. She had become, perhaps, the first believer in Salzburg [SYH180-181]
  • By October she was settled in Varna, Bulgaria where there was a small group of active believers. [SYG181]
  • On the instructions of the Guardian she left Varna for Belgrade to help Martha Root with the teaching work. Louise arrived on the 14th of March 1934. [SYH186]
  • Salzburg, Germany; Varna, Bulgaria; Belgrade; Yugoslavia Louise Gregory; Steffi Fürth; Martha Root
    1934. Jul The formation of a Spiritual Assembly, the first in the Balkans, elected in Sofia in July, 1934 by a community of thirty or more. [BW6p133 NBAD138] Sofia; Bulgaria Local Spiritual Assembly, formation
    1935. 24 Nov The passing of Dr. Howard Luxmoore Carpenter (b. 1906, d. 24 November 1935). He was buried at the Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito, California. [Find a grave]
  • A graduate of the Stanford Medical School in 1932.
  • He married Mardiyyih Nabil (later Marzieh Gail) in 1929, and in 1932 he and his wife left San Francisco for Vienna, where he took a medical course, and afterward at the Guardian's direction traveled through Central Europe and the Balkans. With Martha Root in Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade, he then spent five weeks in Sofia, Bulgaria, assisting Miss Marion Jack, after which he stopped briefly in Saloniki and went on to Tirana, Albania, to visit Refo Chapary. He then left for Haifa, where he stayed three weeks on his way to Tihran.
  • In Iran, notwithstanding the efforts of the Assembly, he was prevented for more than one year from obtaining a medical license. His health failed, and he was bedridden for many months. At last his physical condition improved, he resumed activities as a member of the Unity of the East and West Committee, and the authorities granted him a license to practise medicine. At this time he was stricken with paralysis. He lay seven months in a hospital, after which Mr. and Mrs. Rahmat ‘Alá'í invited him to their home, surrounding him with the same loving care which they had given Keith Ransom-Kehler the year before. His doctors advised a return to the United States as his only hope for recovery; he braved the long journey across the desert by motor, the presence of the 'Ala'is, who escorted him to Haifa, helping him to survive it.
  • After nine days in Haifa, during which the Guardian visited him daily, he took a ship for New York where he was greeted by the National Spiritual Assembly, and then left by way of the Panama Canal for San Francisco. Here he had recourse to the best medical authorities, but was pronounced incurable. He passed away November 24, 1935 . He is buried at Sunset Memorial Park in Berkeley. The Bahá'í service held for him was conducted by Leroy Ioas of San Francisco; Bahá'ís of Berkeley, Oakland, Geyserville, San Francisco and Santa Paula were present, and the words of Bahá'u'lláh on immortality radiated such power as to efface all thought of death. [BW6 p491-493]
  • See Shoghi Effendi's tribute to him where he said:
      Next to the late Mrs. Ransom-Kehler he may, indeed, be well considered as the foremost American believer who has, in the last few years, been assisted in rendering invaluable help to the Persian believers in their efforts for the establishment of the Administration in their country… . ["Uncompiled Published Letters"]
  • Berkely; United States; Budapest; Hungary; Belgrade; Serbia; Sofia; Bulgaria; Tirana; Albania; Tihran; Iran In Memoriam; Howard Carpenter; Marzieh Gail; Marion Jack; Marion Jack; Refo Chapary; Keith Ransom-Kehler; Rahmat Alai
    1954 25 Mar The passing of Marion Jack (General Jack) (b. St. John, New Brunswick) at her pioneer post in Sofia, Bulgaria at the age of 87. She had been at her post since 1931. [BWNS385; Never be Afraid to Dare p. 227]
  • Shoghi Effendi called her ‘a shining example to pioneers of present and future generations of East and West'. [CF163]
  • For her obituary see BW12:674–7.
  • See also BFA2155; MC359.
  • For a photo of her gravestone see CBNOct1972p.10.
  • See Bahá'í Chronicles for a biography.
  • For a photo by the Bahá'ís of Sofia see BW5p464.
  • See also Marion Jack: Immortal Heroine by Jan Jasion
  • See CBN October1979 for tributes as well as a photo of her gravesite.
  • Sofia; Bulgaria Marion Jack; Pioneers; In memoriam; Births and deaths; Pioneers; BWNS
    1990 (In the year) The first Adam Benke Project was organized by the Bahá'í European Youth Council in Bulgaria.
  • The first semi-public talks and lectures in Bulgaria were given in restaurants, where people are invited to private meetings.
  • Eleven people become Bahá'ís.
  • Bulgaria European Bahai Youth Council; Youth; Firsts, Other Find ref
    1990 11 Nov For the first time in 45 years, a Bahá'í meeting was held in a public building in Bulgaria. [BINS236:2] Bulgaria
    1990. 12 Nov 12 November 1990:

    To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the World


    The Universal House of Justice [Mess86-01p178]

    USSR; Romania; Czechoslovakia; Hungary; Yugoslavia; Albania; Bulgaria; Mongolia; Poland Supplementary Two Year Plan; Plans
    1991 2 Jan The first local spiritual assembly in Bulgaria was formed in Plovdiv. [BINS239:2] Plovdiv; Bulgaria Local Spiritual Assembly
    1991. (In the year) The Bahá'ís of Bulgaria held their first National Conference in Plovdiv. Earlier that year they had elected local spiritual assemblies in Plovdiv, Sofia, Stara Zagora and Blagoevgrad.
  • In November the Bahá'í Faith was officially registered as a religion at the Directorate of Religions. They held their first National Convention in 1992. [Nation Website]
  • Plovdiv; Bulgaria; Sofia; Bulgaria; Stara Zagora; Bulgaria; Blagoevgrad; Bulgaria;
    1991 25 – 27 Oct The first National Teaching Conference of Bulgaria was held in Plovdiv. [BINS258:2–3] Plovdiv; Bulgaria Conferences, Bahai; Conferences, Teaching; Conferences, National
    1992 Ridván The National Spiritual Assembly of Bulgaria was formed with its seat in Sofia. [CBN Jan92 p2, BINS270:1; BW92–3:119; VV121; Nation Website]
  • The National Convention was attended by long-time pioneer to the country, Annemarie Kruger, the granddaughter of Dr August Forel.
  • For picture see BINS279:9.
  • Sofia; Bulgaria National Spiritual Assembly, formation
    1992 21 – 23 Aug The first National Summer School of Bulgaria was held in Stara Zagora, attended by 75 people. [BINS278:1–2] Stara Zagora; Bulgaria Summer schools; First summer and winter schools
    1992 26 – 30 Dec The first National Bahá'í Winter School of Bulgaria was held in Lovech, attended by 130 Bahá'ís. [BINS286:1–2] Lovech; Bulgaria Winter schools; First summer and winter schools
    1996 23 – 24 Mar The first National Women's Seminar of Bulgaria was held in Sofia, organized by the European Task Force for Women. [BINS365:8] Sofia; Bulgaria Conferences, Bahai; Conferences, Women; Women; First conferences
    2006. 12 Sep The passing of Annemarie Kruger, (b. 13 February 1918 Germany d. 12 September 2006 Plovdiv, Bulgaria) Knight of Bahá'u'lláh for Moldov and pioneer to Bulgaria from 1984 until the end of her life. [KoB397-399; Find a grave; Bulgarian Nation Website; the 9th candle]
  • Her autobiography, Life for the Faith is available on the Bulgarian national site. It comes in a zip file with a picture of the cover, all of the illustrations, and the text of the book in Word format.
  • Plovdiv; Bulgaria Knight of Bahaullah

    from the Chronology Canada

    date event locations tags see also
    1930 (In the year) Marion Jack departed Canada for pilgrimage in Haifa and then settled in Sofia, Bulgaria. [OBCC307] Sofia, Bulgaria Marion Jack; General Jack; Pioneering
    1931 Apr Marion Jack arrived in Sofia, Bulgaria, to begin her pioneering service. Sofia, Bulgaria Marion Jack; Pioneering
    1952 Dec Mr. Schopflocher wrote to the Hon. Lester B. Pearson, Minister of External Affairs in Ottawa, to assist us on behalf of Miss Marian Jack, the Canadian pioneer in Sofia, Bulgaria. She would have been 88 years old at this time. Canada did not have diplomatic representation in Bulgaria at this time so, as a Canadian citizen, she came under the responsibility of the British Delegation. NBAD227; [CBN No 36 December 1952 p2] Sofia; Bulgaria
    1954. 25 or 27 Mar The passing of Marion Jack (General Jack) at her pioneer post in Sofia, Bulgaria at the age of 87. She was born in Saint John, NB on December 1, 1866. [BWNS385, Never be Afraid to Dare p. 227; BW12p674-677]
  • She first learned of the Faith from Mason Remey while she was in Paris during her student days.
  • Marion Jack was one of the first to respond to the call of the Divine Plan performing pioneer service in Alaska and teaching in Toronto, Montreal and may other places. She also spent a good deal of time at Green Acre.
  • In 1930 or 1931 she returned to Haifa where she had been in 1908 and following the visit went to Sofia. During the early years there she attended the German summer school and made teaching trips to Vienna and Budapest.
  • She remained at her post until her passing encountering untold hardship due to poor health, the lack of money, the privations of the war and the subsequent communist rule.
  • See the Guardian's tribute dated the 29th of March. [CBN No52 May 1954 p1]
  • She was buried in the British Cemetery in Sofia. [CBN No 54 July 1954 p1]
  • A tribute to her was published as an insert to CBN No 63 April 1963.
  • See CBN October 1979 for tributes as well as a photo of her gravesite.
  • For her biography see Never Be Afraid to Dare by Jan Teofil Jasion published by George Ronald, 2001.
  • See also Marion Jack: Immortal Heroine by Jan Jasion.
  • See Bahá'í Chronicles.
  • Sofia, Bulgaria Marion Jack; General Jack; In Memoriam; Jan Teofil Jasion
    1957 Oct or Nov At the request of the National Spiritual Assembly, the Department of External Affairs arranged for the British Legation in Sofia, Bulgaria to have a monument erected over the grave of Marion Jack in the British Cemetery. A photo of the grave and Shoghi Effendi's tribute of 29 March, 1954 were printed in the Canadian Bahá'í News. [CBN No 96 January 1958 p5] Sofia, Bulgaria Marion Jack; In Memoriam

    from the Main Catalogue

    1. References to the Bahá'í Faith in the U.S. State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, by United States Department of State (1991-2001). Excerpts from the State Department's annual compilation of Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on discrimination against the Bahá'í Faith and persecution of its adherents in twenty countries. [about]
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