Born in 1817, Bahá'u'lláh was a member of one of the great patrician families of Persia. The family could trace its lineage to the ruling dynasties of Persia's imperial past, and was endowed with wealth and vast estates. Bahá'u'lláh was known among his countrymen for His generosity and kindliness and was deeply loved and respected by all who knew Him. Based on His nobility and stature, Bahá'u'lláh was offered a position in the royal court which He did not accept.

This privileged position did not long survive Bahá'u'lláh's announcement of support for the message of the Báb. Engulfed in waves of violence unleashed upon the Bábís after the Báb's execution, Bahá'u'lláh suffered not only the loss of His worldly possessions, but was also subjected to imprisonment, torture, and a series of banishments. The first was to Baghdad where, in 1863, He announced Himself as the One promised by the Báb. From Baghdad, Bahá'u'lláh was sent to Constantinople, to Adrianople, and finally to Acre, in the Holy Land, where He arrived as a prisoner in 1868.

From Adrianople and later from Acre, Bahá'u'lláh addressed a series of letters to the rulers of His day that are among the most remarkable documents in religious history. They proclaimed the coming unification of humanity and the emergence of a world civilization.

The kings, emperors, and presidents of the nineteenth century were called upon to reconcile their differences, curtail their armaments, and devote their energies to the establishment of universal peace.

Bahá'u'lláh passed away at Bahjí, just north of Acre, and is buried there. At the time of His passing, His teachings had already begun to spread beyond the boundaries of the Middle East. His Shrine is today the focal point of a world community which His teachings have brought into being.

Photos: Entrance to the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahjí near Acre ('Akka), Israel; Seat of the Universal House of Justice at the Bahá'í World Center on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel; Gardens surrounding the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahjí.