Along with rose oil and yoghurt, parachristian spiritualism should be one of Bulgaria’s most prominent exports. From Bogomilism in the Middle Ages to Baba Vanga, the religious clairvoyant of Socialist heads, certain practices have achieved a surprising international outreach.
Deunovism, internationally known as the White Brotherhood, is another one, whose foreign followers arguably outnumber the local. It was founded in 1900 by Petar Deunov and combines Christianity with new age sensibility – appreciation of nature and physical exercise. The custom is to dress in white and greet the sun every morning with a special group dance called Paneurhythmy. In the 1920s the Brotherhood built a settlement of wooden sheds east of Sofia, which developed into one of the nicest neighborhoods in town – “Sunrise”, taking the name after them.
Nowadays there’s a small, well-kept garden there where Petar Deunov lies buried, adorned with many flowers and a fountain. It is an unusual place of worship where you really can sit in peace for a while, whoever you are. Last time, in less than 30 minutes, I was joined for quiet contemplation by two policemen, a military man and a control officer from the public transportation. And if you’ve ever been in a brawl with any of the former, you’ll believe me the place has a special vibe. It’s open to public and you can ask about the Brotherhood, if you are interested. Every August Deunovists from everywhere gather at the Seven Rila Lakes to perform their really impressive annual ceremonial Paneurhythmy.
The Deunovists’ Garden | Art & culture, Relaxing
Corner of Latinka/Nikola Mirtchev Str.
09:00 – 20:00 daily