Turkey’s Historical Significance for the Bahá’í Faith

Posted on 04/02/2016

Turkey’s Historical Significance for the Bahá


The Bahá’í Faith has important historical links to present day Turkey. Exiled by the Ottoman Empire for forty years in the mid to late nineteenth century, Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, was sent to Constantinople, present day Istanbul and Adrianople, modern day Edirne.  These four and a half years in Turkey have special significance for Baha’is. Beginning in September 1863, Bahá’u’lláh wrote a series of letters to the world leaders of His time, addressing, among others, Emperor Napoleon III, Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm I, Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Emperor Franz Joseph, Pope Pius IX, Sultan Abdul-Aziz, and the Persian ruler, Nasiri’d-Din Shah. In these letters, Bahá’u’lláh openly proclaimed His station and spoke of the dawn of a new age.

Bahá’u’lláh’s reputation grew, attracting the ardent interest of scholars, government officials and diplomats.  It was during this time that the followers of Bahá’u’lláh’ began calling themselves Baha’is. The Turkish Baha’i community today, estimated to be between 10,000 and 20,000, is rooted from Persian Baha’is who settled in Istanbul as traders, refugees, and pilgrims.

The House pictured below is  Bahá’u’lláh’s residence in Adrianople (Edirne, Turkey), A Baha’i Holy Place.


Kate DeStefano Weisman has lived in Hong Kong since 1987 minus intermittent stays in Singapore and New York. A Social Worker by profession, she has worked in the NGO sector of the United Nations in New York, and in varying capacities in the adoption and refugee fields.

She helped establish the Adoptive Families of Hong Kong, a registered Hong Kong charity that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. She embraced the Baha’i Faith as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chile in 1980.

She currently facilitates an interfaith Spiritual Literacy Group with the American Women’s Association. She serves on the committee for the Hong Kong Network on Religions and Peace. Her passion lies in building cross-cultural and interfaith bridges within the community. Together with her husband Richard, they have raised a multicultural family of four children in Hong Kong.

Date: 23 April 2016
Time: 7-9 pm
Venue: 909 CCWU Building, 302-308 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai, HK
Admission: Free

Program Details:
7.00 Welcoming
7.10 Remarks by PI Ex. Dir.
7.15 Talk by Speaker
7.45 Q & A
8.00 Refreshment Service
8.45 Award Ceramony and Closing Remarks

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