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Venerable Persian Arrives

Venerable Persian Arrives
The SFO Bulletin
October 2, 1912
San Francisco, CA


Chief of Movement for Universal Peace and the Brotherhood of Man Is San Francisco’s Guest.

ABDU’L-BAHA, head of the Bahá’í movement, arrived in San Francisco this afternoon, bringing with him the message of the unity of nations and universal peace. The venerable Persian, who is accompanied by his interpreter, was met upon his arrival at the ferry by a committee of the local Bahá’í assembly, headed by Mrs. Ella Goodall Cooper and Mrs. E.C. Getsinger, and escorted to the house at 1815 California street, in which he will reside during his stay in San Francisco.

The Bahá will remain in San Francisco for 15 days, in which time it is the plan of the local assembly, which numbers about 500 persons, to give every person an opportunity to see him and to hear him preach the oneness of humanity, the eradication of prejudices and peace among men. To this end the local assembly has already been notified by the Rev. Bradford Leavitt and the Rev. Dr. Meyer that their pulpits are at his disposal.


Mrs. Ella Goodall Cooper, discussing the mission of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, said:

He does not come to proselyte for any particular cult. He is preaching the doctrine of universal love, universal peace, the oneness of God and humanity. The adherents of any religion or the members of any denomination can be a Bahá’í. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá exhorts them to be better men and women and to act more conformably to their faith, no matter what it may be. His is a doctrine of love.”


Abdu’l-Bahá is the son of Bahá Ollat, the founder of the Bahá’í movement, which he originated in Persia in 1844, and which breathed the new spirit of liberty and peace. Because his teachings did not meet with the approval of the orthodox state religion, he was exiled. With his faithful little band of followers, he went, first to Baghdad, thence to Adrianople and finally to the prison city of Acca, at the foot of Mount Carmel, in Palestine, in 1868.

Abdu’l-Bahá was but 7 years old when he accompanied his noble father upon the memorable and strenuous journey in the dead of winter, leaving all their great wealth and property behind them; for when it was found that they preferred to give up all worldly possessions rather than their high principles of religious liberty and human equality, their estates were promptly confiscated by the government. There ‘Abdu’l-Bahá lived with his father till death took the founder of the movement in 1892. He then became the leader of the movement.


When the new constitution was declared in Turkey in 1908 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was freed with all the other prisoners, yet, when his release came, he still lingered. When asked why he did not leave that detestable spot he answered: “I have so many poor friends here who have no other place to go I cannot bear to go when they must be left behind; besides, I have become accustomed to the prison, as the bird becomes accustomed to the cage; the door is open but the bird is in no hurry to fly away.” However, after another year, he yielded to the urgent invitations and departed for Egypt, where he spent many months, speaking, writing and teaching. Last year he visited London and Paris and was given splendid receptions.

After his return to Egypt from Paris ‘Abdu’l-Bahá decided to visit America and arrived in New York City last April. Since then he has visited Washington, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburg, Green Acre (Me.) and Montreal, where he was most enthusiastically welcomed by his American friends, both old and new.

[picture caption: ‘ABDU’L-BAHA]