BY ANTHONY HILL
SANTIAGO, Chile – Santiaguinos now have another place where they can go and worship.
The very first Bahá’í House of Worship in South America opened it’s doors to the public in Santiago, Chile Wednesday, October 19.
A Bahá’í House of Worship is a temple where people of all religions can gather to worship God. The Bahá’í House of Worship of South America, which is located at Diagonal Las Torres 2000 in the Peñalolén commune, cost $30-million to build. The construction phase of the temple was started in 2010.
There was a dedication ceremony held in the Movistar Arena this week where 5,000 Bahá’ís from 110 countries were present. The former mayor of Peñalolén, Claudio Orrego, lead the ceremony.
Orrego said this new temple is a architectural and spiritual gift to the people of Santiago. “Cities are not just made of cement and iron, they’re also made of values and spirit,” said Orrego.
The first Bahá’í House of Worship was built in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in the early 1900s. Since then, temples have been built around the world including countries such as Australia, India, Panama and the United States to name a few.
There are also social components to the Bahá’í religion. According Bahá’í literature, Houses of Worship are supposed to be surrounded by hospitals, senior citizen homes and educational and charitable institutions. The idea is to be as involved as possible in the communities they serve.
The Bahá’í House of Worship of South America will be open to the public seven days a week.