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from the Chronology

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1953. (In the year) Marthe Molitor, a Belgian from Rwanda, began to teach the Bahá'í Faith in Kalina (now Gombe), a district in Léopoldville (now Kinshasa). [] Kinshasa,DRC Marthe Molitor
1967. Ridván The formation of the first Spiritual Assembly in Kinshasa, DRC. [A Remarkable Response Film 31:20] Kinshasa; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) Local Spiritual Assembly, formation
1972. 9 Jun A National Spiritual Assembly had been formed in Zaire at Ridván 1970 but the Faith did not receive the required official recognition to function in the country. Dr Navidi spent one year in Kinshasa preparing the file for presentation to the government but in March 1972 when the names of the officially recognized religions were announced, the Bahá’í Faith was not among them. Through the intervention of Dr Amin’u’lláh Jazab, President Mobutu’s personal physician, official recognition of the Faith was approved. [A Remarkable Response Film 33:50-35:50] Kinshasa; Congo,Democratic Republic of (DRC)
2003 6 - 7 Sep The celebration of the Jubilee of the opening of the Faith in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was commemorated in Kinshasa by some 600 participants.
  • Among those at the celebrations in the capital were three of the first Congolese Bahá'ís: Louis Selemani, 81, Remy Kalonji, 83, and Valerien Mukendi, 83. One invited guest who could not make it was Ola Pawlowska, 93, though she participated in the celebrations by sending a message of congratulations and love to a community to which she devoted three decades of her life from her home in Canada.
  • Guests of honour at the jubilee included Mr. Nakhjavani, former member of the Universal House of Justice, and Mrs. Nakhjavani, as well as Joan Lincoln, counsellor member of the International Teaching Centre, and Albert Lincoln, secretary-general of the Bahá'í International Community. All four had spent many years as pioneers in Africa.
  • Active teaching in the area began in 1953. Before that time, colonial authorities did not permit the promotion of the Faith and that is when Ali Nakhjavani and his wife, Violette, driving across Africa from Uganda, took Ugandan Baha'i Samson Mungongo to the city of Kamina.
  • The first local assembly was formed in 1957 and the National Assembly was inaugurated in 1970. This event also marked the first time the National Spiritual Assembly had been able to meet in Kinshasa since 1998 because of the war. [BWNS248]
  • For further details on the development of the Faith in the DRC see Legacy of Courage: The Life of Ola Pawlowska, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh by Suzanne Schuurman.
  • Kinshasa; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) Jubilee; BWNS
    2020. 12 Jun In Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the temple site was being prepared for the construction phase while they waited in anticipation of the unveiling of the design. [BWNS1434] Kinshasa; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kinshasa
    2020. 2 Jul The design for the national Bahá'í House of Worship to be built in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was unveiled through an online announcement by the National Spiritual Assembly.

    The design, created by Wolff Architects in Cape Town, South Africa, was inspired by traditional artworks, structures and natural features of the DRC, as well as by the Bahá'í sacred teachings, particularly by the spiritual concept that God’s bounty is unceasingly flowing over all people. The patterns that will adorn the outside of the dome of the central edifice will express this idea in a style reminiscent of the artwork of various Congolese peoples.

    Commenting on the design, the architects stated: “We were inspired by an image of 19th century Congolese architecture which showed the most beautiful structures that appear to have finely woven bamboo facades with a parabolic roof made of palm leaves. These houses were located amongst giant baobab trees. ... The undulating roof of the temple makes reference to this history.” [BWNS1438; BWNS1649]

    A section drawing showing the temple’s interior (top) and an elevation drawing of the temple’s exterior (bottom).

    Some team members of the firm Wolff Architects Nokubekezela Mchunu, Alexandra Böhmer, Bayo Windapo, Takalani Mbadi, Paul Munting, Temba Jauch, Matthew Eberhard, and Alex Coetzee.

    Kinshasa; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Congo DR; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; Architects; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kinshasa
    2020. 18 Oct The groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the future national Mashriqul-Adhkar was held at the temple site near Kinshasa. The event, which coincided with the celebration of the Birth of Báb, was broadcast on national television and was host to government officials, representatives of religious communities and traditional chiefs. [BWNS1460]
  • Photos of the event. [BWNS]
  • The design of the national Bahá'í House of Worship of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[BWNS1438]
  • Kinshasa; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kinshasa
    2021. 28 Feb The Bahá'í World News Service provided an update on the construction of the National Temple in Kinshasa. [BWNS1493]
  • The reinforced concrete slab that will form the floor of the central edifice has been finished and the moisture barrier has been laid.
  • Work on additional buildings on the site was steadily advancing.
  • Earthworks were being prepared for the grounds outside the central area.
  • A visitors’ center was being built near the entrance to the site.
  • Elsewhere on the site, several existing buildings were being renovated. One building was being used as a construction office. In the future, these buildings will be used as educational facilities and as offices for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Kinshasa; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kinshasa
    2021. 29 Jul A report on the progress of the construction of the National Mashriqul-Adhkar was provided.
  • The concrete structural elements that make up the lower portion of the edifice and will support the steel superstructure of the dome and surrounding canopies was being completed. Work on the upper gallery was progressing.
  • The two ring beams that support the dome had been completed.
  • More than 90% of the concrete for the building had been poured.
  • Work on the grounds and on the auxiliary structures was continuing. The walls and the roof of the visitor's centre had been completed.
  • The secretary of the country’s Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly, Lavoisier Mutombo Tshiongo, reported that, “At the same time, we are seeing an intensification of action inspired by what the temple represents. Everything is increasing, from devotional gatherings, educational efforts, and other initiatives taken by families and youth, such as cleaning rivers and water sources, to formal activities in the areas of food security and agriculture, education, health and empowerment of women.” He attributed the increasing pace of activity to a growing appreciation of the relationship between worship of God and service to humanity that is being cultivated through conversations about the national House of Worship. [BWNS1521]
  • Kinshasa; Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC) BWNS; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, National; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kinshasa
    2022. 26 Jan The BWC released a progress report on the construction of the national Bahá'í House of Worship in Kinshasa, DRC. [BWNS1579] Kinshasa; DRC Mashriqul-Adhkar, Kinshasa; Mashriqul-Adhkar; House of Worship; Mashriqul-Adhkar, national; BWNS

    from the Chronology Canada

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    from the Main Catalogue

    1. Baháʼí Houses of Worship: A Visual Overview (2020). A collection of collages, exterior and interior images of Baháʼí Houses of Worship constructed, under construction, or planned worldwide. [about]
    2. Singular Room, A: An Exploration of Bahá'í Houses of Worship, by Sama Shodjai (2023-12). Overview of the design principles followed in building the Bahá'í temples, and the intricacies and considerations involved in their design, using Canada as a case study. (Link to document, offsite). [about]
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