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Bahá’í Faith in Russia: History and Current Developments

Jul 30, 2023
Flyer for webinar on The Baha'i Faith and Russia, featuring a colorized image of the first Baha'i Temple in Ashkhabad, Russia, and a headshot of the presenter, Mikhail Sergeev

“In the history of the Bahá’í Faith, Russia played a remarkable role.

In 1852, the Russian government, the only one in the world, petitioned for the release of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Faith, when he was imprisoned on false charges, and offered him asylum.
In the 1880s, a Russian court recognized for the first time in history the independent character of the Bahá’í Faith and championed the rights of its followers.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Russian scholars and writers contributed with their writings to the spread of knowledge of the new religion not only in Russia but also in the West.
At the same time, one of the first and most famous Bahá’í communities outside Persia emerged and successfully developed in Turkestan, then part of the Russian Empire, and the world’s first House of Worship was built in Ashgabat.

The importance of these historical facts makes it possible to place Russia on a par with those lands that, in many respects, determined the destiny of the new religion – with Iran, its homeland, with North America, the cradle of its Administrative Order, and with the Holy Land (Israel), where the ashes of its founders rest and its supreme body, the Universal House of Justice, is situated.”

Source: Nancy Ackerman, Graham Hassal, “The Bahá’í Faith in Russia: A Historical Essay.”


Mikhail Yu. Sergeev, PhD

University of the Arts, Philadelphia

Mikhail Sergeev (Ph.D. in religious studies from Temple University, 1997) is a religion, philosophy, and modern art historian. He has served as an editor of the book series Contemporary Russian Philosophy at Brill Publishers in the Netherlands (2016–2019) and as chair of the Department of Religion, Philosophy, and Theology at the Wilmette Institute (2017–21). Sergeev teaches courses in humanities at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, California). He is also an Affiliate Professor at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minnesota. Sergeev has published more than two hundred scholarly, literary, and journalistic articles in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Slovakia, Russia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan. He is the author and contributing editor of fourteen books, including Russian Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century: An Anthology (Brill, 2020).  Web site: See Faculty Bio


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