A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

The Ascension of Baháʼu’lláh. Bahá’í Holy Day, on 13 ‘Aẓamat (عظمة, Grandeur) in the Badi calendar, commemorating the anniversary of the 1892 death of Baháʼu’lláh (Glory of God), at Bahjí (Delight), near Acre (Akko, עכו), in northern Israel to the south of Lebanon. He was the founder of the Baháʼí Faith, which advocates universal peace and unity among all races, nations and religions. His shrine is the holiest place on earth for Bahá’ís and is the focus (Qiblih) towards which they all face for obligatory daily prayers. Baháʼu’lláh was born Mírzá Ḥusayn-ʻAlí Núrí (میرزا حسین‌علی نوری‎) in Tehran, Persia in 1817, the son of a Shi’i Islam government minister, a member of the nobility and a descendant of Abraham and Zoroaster. At 27, Baháʼu’lláh converted to the Bábí faith after receiving a letter from the Báb (the Gate), co-founder of the Bahá’í faith and a Messenger of God. The Báb was a Persian merchant who heralded that God would soon send a new prophet similar to Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad (peace be upon him). This did not meet with the approval of the Shi’i religious officials and the Báb was charged with heresy and put to death by firing squad in 1850. As a group of Tehran Bábís planned to execute the Shah for this, Baháʼu’lláh went into self-exile to Baghdad in 1851 but returned before a failed 1852 assassination attempt and was unjustly imprisoned for 4 months in the Síyáh-Chál (Black Pit) underground dungeon in Tehran. There, he had several mystical experiences and received his mission as the Messenger of God, the prophet whose coming the Báb had prophesied. When Baháʼu’lláh was released on condition that he left Persia, he declined an offer of refugee status in Russia and chose exile in Baghdad in the Ottoman Empire in 1853. From 1854, he spent 2 years in Kurdistan before returning to Baghdad. In 1863, the Ottoman government chose to move Baháʼu’lláh to Constantinople and he declared in the Garden of Ridván his mission as the Messenger of God, based on his Síyáh-Chál vision, fulfilling the faith expectations of Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and other major religions and beginning a new era in the Bábí community that led to the emergence of the Baháʼí Faith as a distinctive movement separate from Bábísm. In 1868, Baháʼu’lláh faced further imprisonment under the Ottoman authorities, first in Edirne, the old capital of the Ottoman Empire, and ultimately in the prison city of Acre, where he spent his final 24 years. He died in the Mansion of Bahjí and his burial place is a destination of pilgrimage for his followers, as is the Baháʼí World Centre in nearby Haifa, which normally attracts about a million visitors annually. The Universal House of Justice, representing the supreme governing body of the Baháʼí Faith, is in Haifa and many of the locations at the Baháʼí World Centre, including the terraces and the Shrine of the Báb on the north slope of Mount Carmel, are on the 2008 World Heritage List. Bahá’í Holy Days are normally observed with community gatherings in large or small settings that open to those of all faiths and none. Image: bahaiblog.net.

San Bernardo di Mentone (St Bernard of Montjoux, Bernhard, Bernardus) (c1020-81). Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches’ Feast Day for rich and noble Italian canon regular born in a medieval castle in Menthon-Saint-Bernard, now France, who was the founder of the Great St Bernard Hospice and its associated Canons Regular of the Hospitaller Congregation of Great Saint Bernard. Educated in Paris, he refused marriage and devoted himself to the service of the Church. Bernard was ordained a priest and worked as a missionary in the mountain villages before being appointed Archdeacon of Aosta Cathedral. For 42 years, he continued to preach the Gospel, effecting numerous conversions and working many miracles. Since ancient times, there had been a pass through the Pennine Alps, used by French and German pilgrims on their way to Rome, from the Swiss canton of Valais to the Aosta Valley, with snowdrifts up to 40 feet deep. As Archdeacon, Bernard cared for the poor and travellers and in 1050 founded a canonry and hostel at the highest point of the great pass, at 8,000 feet, on the site that now bears his name, as does the Little St Bernard Pass where he established another hostel at over 7,000 feet. The canons were eventually accompanied by well-trained dogs, St Bernards, in their mission to search for victims of the severe weather and offer food, clothing and shelter to travellers, whilst burying the dead. There are now about 30 canons, who have some of the dogs as pets after the rest were sold. Helicopters and the tunnel have made most ground rescue operations at the passes unnecessary. Bernard died in the Imperial Free City of Novara (Nuàra) 50 km to the west of Milan and was interred in the monastery of St Lawrence. Venerated since the 12th century in northern Italy and in the Catholic Church (Canons Regular of St Augustine), Eastern Orthodox Church. Roman Martyrology Feast Day 15 June. Patron of the Alps, mountaineering, skiing, snowboarding, backpacking.

St Ignatius of Rostov (the Wonderworker) (d1288). Feast Day commemorating the death of cleric in Rostov, who laboured at the Theophany Monastery there. In 1261, when he was the Archimandrite of this monastery, he was appointed as the assistant to the Bishop of Rostov and then in 1262 Bishop of Rostov, ministering to the princely family there. In 1274 he was at a synod in the Vladimir Cathedral, assembled by the Metropolitan to eliminate unrest in the Church and clergy. In 1281, he helped reconcile the brother princes of Rostov, with the Grand Duke’s support. Ignatius guided the flock of Christ for 26 years with great love and compassion and when he died and his body was placed in the church, some of those present saw him leave his coffin and rise up in the air above the church. He blessed the people and the city from on high and then returned to his coffin. Those present were struck with horror and did not dare to commit his body to the earth, his relics now resting in the Dormition Cathedral in Rostov in a silver 1795 coffin. Many other miracles were wrought at his shrine.

Prayer O holy Bishop Ignatius, thy doctrine was a source of enlightenment, thou didst receive a flock as a Hierarch and wast an heir to the Apostles. Thy illustrious memory shines forth today, it illumines the world and reveals to all the radiance of divine glory. Thou who didst receive the gift of wonderworking we humbly ask that you to entreat Christ our God to save our souls. Amen