Bahai News -- Bahá’i community celebrates new center December 5, 2002 - Volume X, Issue 49

Bahá’i community celebrates new center

By Lucy Mallows

The Bahá’i community of Budapest celebrated the opening of a new center on Ferenciek tere with a ceremony during which a letter of friendship and congratulation from former President of Hungary Árpád Göncz was read out.

"An occasion of settling is important in the Hungarian community," said Dr István Szalay, Secretary of State for Religious Matters in the Prime Minister’s Office.

He remarked on the title of the opening celebrations, "Hungary - Where East and West meet," adding that Hungary was indeed on the border of East and West.

Following some music from the Bahá’i Community Band, Dr László Farkas gave a brief summary of the history of the Bahá’i community in Hungary.

The Bahá’i faith centers around the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Born in Persia in the mid-1800s, Bahá’u’lláh is regarded by Bahá’is as the Manifestation of God for the present age, which is viewed as a time of maturation for the world.

`Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of Bahá’u’lláh visited Hungary and the traveler and orientalist Ármin Vámbéry is considered the first Hungarian Bahá’i. "The Bahá’i religion has no priests and no temples and was considered suspicious in Hungary in the 1930s, thus Bahá’i disappeared. It reappeared after World War Two and the community established itself in Budapest in 1989 and now there are 65 settlements throughout the country, explained Farkas.

It is estimated that there are between 1100 and 1200 Bahá’i believers in Hungary, many are Roma.

Basic Bahá’i tenets include the recognition of basic unity among all world religions, races and peoples, equality of men and women, and a spiritual system of belief for harmonious, peaceful co-existence on a global scale. Coming in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic lineage, the Bahá’i faith nonetheless acknowledges and exalts the prophets and the teachings of other religions as well.

Hungarian Bahá’is are part of an international Bahá’i community, with an administrative center in Haifa. The Bahá’i faith also maintains a consultative status at the United Nations and is involved in projects around the globe. Donations are accepted only from its own members.

Two social projects are currently run through the Hungarian Bahá’i Center. The first is for Budapest youth who, through group dance workshops and performances, can explore community problems such as drug abuse, violence, and racism. The second is the Mesélô Anyák (Storytelling Mothers) program for Roma mothers countrywide, to help them better understand and navigate disadvantages from a spiritually-informed perspective.

The Bahá’i Center is located at 1053 Budapest, Ferenciek tere 3. II em. 4. For more information about the Bahá’i Center, the Bahá’i faith, or any upcoming activities, contact Éva at 266-4004, email nsabahai@elender.hu, or visit the Bahá’i website, www.bahai.hu for Hungary, or www.bahai.org

©Copyright 2002, The Budapest Sun (Hungary)

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