Allow me to announce the commencement of our Christmas Conference for the Founding of the General Anthroposophical Society. We shall in future always be of the heartfelt opinion — you will come to feel the definite rightness of this — that it will be significant for the development of the Anthroposophical Society to find its centre and its home here on Swiss soil in the manner expressed in the Statutes which I shall be suggesting to you.
The Society will in no way manifest any kind of a national character, but we shall always remain aware that we have been accepted here by our dear Swiss friends as a kind of guest in the realm of ideals, and we shall forever know how to respect this in a suitable way. Both privately and also in various public statements to our friends, I have often sought to show the importance of the fact that we have taken our place here on Swiss soil with our Goetheanum and with everything that seeks to be an Anthroposophical Society. This alone, my friends, is sufficient justification for the appearance of our dear friend Albert Steffen as the first speaker during our Christmas Foundation Conference. Of course he will speak here as a member and fellow founder of this Anthroposophical Society. But everything we feel especially in connection with the fact that the Goetheanum, as the central point of the Anthroposophical Society, stands here on Swiss soil, will be expressed symbolically when you now permit me to request Herr Albert Steffen — our dear and much respected friend, the distinguished poet whose presence among us may be counted as such great good fortune — to speak the first words of this our gathering.
Albert Steffen's lecture on the history and destiny of the Anthroposophical Society is published in the Supplement to Das Goetheanum 1924, Nos. 2, 3 and 6.
My dear Herr Steffen!
With your words that are so warm and so filled with beautiful love you have given us a wonderful prelude to our gathering here. We could not have had a more beautiful prelude than the words you have spoken to us out of an anthroposophical heart of such warmth. I am quite sure that your kind words will shine over all our gatherings and meetings like a radiant star, and that we shall owe you most cordial gratitude for the feeling in our hearts which will endure throughout the period of our gathering, engendered by the words you have spoken to us on this first morning. We may be certain of ever feeling warmly enveloped within the marvellous land of Switzerland if an attitude of mind so truly Swiss continues to surround us with an atmosphere as beautiful as that now moving among us. Your words are founded indeed on a truly Swiss attitude of mind. I know that I speak from the bottom of every heart, now that our discussions are about to begin, when I offer you, dear friend Steffen, the most cordial thanks for the wonderful way in which you have provided the prelude for what is to take place over the next few days. To you come the warmest thanks from the heart of every one here present.