Participants gather at the Seat of the Universal House of Justice for the opening of the event marking the centenary commemoration of the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the Holy Land.

Participants gather at the Seat of the Universal House of Justice for the opening of the event marking the centenary commemoration of the ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the Holy Land.

Centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing: Formal program begins after days of spiritual preparation

November 25, 2021

BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE — With great anticipation and reverence, participants from around the world assembled this morning at the concourse of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice for the start of the formal program.

A message of the Universal House of Justice addressed to the gathering was read by one of its members. The message reads, in part: “In these uncertain times, the friends turn with hope and longing to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that ‘shelter for all mankind’, ‘a shield unto all who are in heaven and on earth’, beseeching His assistance from the realms above as they endeavour to follow His example in the path of service.”

The program included a keynote address by a member of the International Teaching Centre, prayers in different languages, musical performances honoring this historic moment, and a screening of a short film about the construction of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

The images below show some of the moments from today’s program.

Participants walking through the Monument Gardens toward the concourse of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, where the program was held.

Participants walking through the Monument Gardens toward the concourse of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, where the program was held.

Pictured here are participants walking past the Centre for the Study of the Texts, on their way to the formal program.

Pictured here are participants walking past the Centre for the Study of the Texts, on their way to the formal program.

Another group of attendees from this morning.

Another group of attendees from this morning.

Attendees include people from many different countries throughout the world.

Attendees include people from many different countries throughout the world.

Another image of participants, moments before the start of the today’s program.

Another image of participants, moments before the start of the today’s program.

An aerial view of participants arriving at the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.

An aerial view of participants arriving at the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.

Participants assembled on the steps of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice prior to entering the concourse for the start of the program.

Participants assembled on the steps of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice prior to entering the concourse for the start of the program.

Another view of attendees in front of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.

Another view of attendees in front of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.

A group of attendees from different countries waiting with anticipation for the start of the program.

A group of attendees from different countries waiting with anticipation for the start of the program.

Participants entering the Seat of the Universal House of Justice after the doors to the concourse were opened.

Participants entering the Seat of the Universal House of Justice after the doors to the concourse were opened.

Participants welcomed into the concourse of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.

Participants welcomed into the concourse of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.

Inside the concourse hall, moments before the program began.

Inside the concourse hall, moments before the program began.

Another view of the concourse before the start of the program.

Another view of the concourse before the start of the program.

Participants take their seats and prepare for the start of the program.

Participants take their seats and prepare for the start of the program.

Another view of the concourse hall.

Another view of the concourse hall.

The program included prayers chanted and read in different languages.

The program included prayers chanted and read in different languages.

The devotional program contributed to the spiritual atmosphere of the gathering.

The devotional program contributed to the spiritual atmosphere of the gathering.

The program included remarks by a member of the International Teaching Centre, Muna Tehrani. Mrs. Tehrani stated: “Those of us gathered here are representing millions more from all corners of the world who are turning their gaze to this sacred mountain to commemorate ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ascension and to pay tribute to Him.”

The program included remarks by a member of the International Teaching Centre, Muna Tehrani. Mrs. Tehrani stated: “Those of us gathered here are representing millions more from all corners of the world who are turning their gaze to this sacred mountain to commemorate ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ascension and to pay tribute to Him.”

A message of the Universal House of Justice addressed to the gathering was read by one of its members. The message states, in part: “In these uncertain times, the friends turn with hope and longing to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that ‘shelter for all mankind’, ‘a shield unto all who are in heaven and on earth’, beseeching His assistance from the realms above as they endeavour to follow His example in the path of service.”

A message of the Universal House of Justice addressed to the gathering was read by one of its members. The message states, in part: “In these uncertain times, the friends turn with hope and longing to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that ‘shelter for all mankind’, ‘a shield unto all who are in heaven and on earth’, beseeching His assistance from the realms above as they endeavour to follow His example in the path of service.”

The keynote address was given by a member of the International Teaching Centre, Gloria Javid. Mrs. Javid spoke about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacrificial and selfless nature. She ended her address with a quote from a message of the Universal House of Justice, which reads in part: “…see no strangers but regard all as members of one family…”

The keynote address was given by a member of the International Teaching Centre, Gloria Javid. Mrs. Javid spoke about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacrificial and selfless nature. She ended her address with a quote from a message of the Universal House of Justice, which reads in part: “…see no strangers but regard all as members of one family…”

Some participants taking notes as they listen to the keynote address.

Some participants taking notes as they listen to the keynote address.

Participants listening intently to the keynote address.

Participants listening intently to the keynote address.

Simultaneous translation of the program was available in seven languages.

Simultaneous translation of the program was available in seven languages.

The program included musical interludes reflective of different cultures around the world. Seen here is a participant from Chile playing an instrumental guitar piece.

The program included musical interludes reflective of different cultures around the world. Seen here is a participant from Chile playing an instrumental guitar piece.

Participants viewing a short film about the construction of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which will soon be released on the News Service.

Participants viewing a short film about the construction of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which will soon be released on the News Service.

The program closed with passages from the Baha’i writings put to music, sung by choirs at the Baha’i World Centre. The choir in this picture sung two passages in Bislama and Fijian.

The program closed with passages from the Baha’i writings put to music, sung by choirs at the Baha’i World Centre. The choir in this picture sung two passages in Bislama and Fijian, including the following excerpt from the writings of Baha’u’llah:

“This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favors have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness.”

Another choir sung Bahá’í writings in French and Swahili, including the following quotation: “O friend! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold.”

Another choir sung Bahá’í writings in French and Swahili, including the following quotation: “O friend! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold.”

The program was closed with a prayer recited in Spanish.

The program was closed with a prayer recited in Spanish.

Some representatives at the gathering have been wearing traditional dress, celebrating the diversity of humanity.

Some representatives at the gathering have been wearing traditional dress, celebrating the diversity of humanity.

Participants leaving the Seat of the Universal House of Justice following the close of the morning’s program.

Participants leaving the Seat of the Universal House of Justice following the close of the morning’s program.