Petar Kostadinov Dunov was born on the 11th of June (29th of June Julian calendar, St. Peter’s Day) 1864 in the village of Hadurcha, today called Nikolaevka, near Varna. He is the third child of Kostadin Dunovsky and Dobra Georgieva. His grandfather (on his mother’s side), was a wealthy man named Atanas Georgiev, who took active part in the Bulgarian national revival movement in the late 1800s, working for ecclesiastical independence, having been a mayor of the village and a representative in Istanbul with respect to the public affairs for the Varna region. The father of Konstantin Dunovsky is the first Bulgarian teacher and priest in Varna. (1)
Petar Dunov studies in the elementary school in the village of Hadurcha, and after that in a five-grade secondary school for boys in Varna. Meanwhile Bulgaria obtains independence in 1878. In 1886 he graduates from the American Theological College in Svishtov, after which he spends a year teaching in the village of Hotantsa, near Ruse.
In 1888 he leaves for the United States in order to enroll in the Drew Theological Seminary, in Madison, New Jersey. After completing the required course of study, he takes extra courses in world literature and general history. He is taught by five professors, known in the theological circles as the. "Great Five". They are remarkable clergymen, scientists and admirers of nature. In 1888 the seminary’s academic library is opened.
It is built according to the most recent requirements for academic research and contains 40, 000 volumes and 8 medieval manuscripts. The seminary is situated in the "Drew Forest".
Petar Dunov is inspired by the ideas Professor Miley, that knowledge and science do not estrange Christians from their beliefs, because they form part of the Divine Providence. He graduates in May 1892.
In October 1892 he is accepted in the Theological Department of the Boston University. This is the most prestigious university in the most culturally developed city in the United States in that period. He arrives when a new and modern building for the Institute of Theology is opened in the aristocratic suburb Beacon Hill.
The students have free access to the library of the Institute, the exceptional theological collection of James Latimer, the common theological library with 20,000 volumes and the Boston Public Library, which is the largest in the country with its half a million volumes and over 400 periodicals from the US and Europe. The methods of teaching are Socratic: Verbal teaching with optimal and spontaneous participation of the students. Books, textbooks and teachers’ lectures are accessible, but the most important goal is "for the teacher to spin the mind of the student in the rhythm of his own mind, before letting it continue ahead." Students are engaged with debates, lecturing, discussions and dialogues. (2, pp. 268-270)
Petar Dunov writes a scientific thesis paper named: "The Migration of the Germanic Tribes and Their Acceptance of Christianity" with the practical theology Professor Luther Taunsend. He graduates on the 4th of June 1894.
Talented students are given the opportunity to enroll in a free additional course in medicine or music, and Petar Dunov enrolls in the Medical Department on the Boston University in 1893-94.
These are some of the most interesting years in the intellectual life of Boston, on the edge of modern times. Petar Dunov comes in contact with the personalistic philosophy, Toro`s transcendentalism, Emerson`s poetry, Hotorn`s protests against the dogmatism of the church, Olcott’s defense of women’s rights, Whitman’s defense for "the natural in man", spiritualism, theosophical teachings, astrology, the discussion for Russia’s place, her connection with the US and the ideas of the panslavism.
In 1895, being 31 years old, Petar Dunov returns in Bulgariasettles in the home of his sister Maria in Varna and rejects the offers to become a Methodist preacher.
In 1896 he writes and publishes the book "Science and Upbringing" reasoning that science and upbringing are the two supporting pillars of modern culture.
In 1897 Petar Dunov, together with some followers, establishes in Varna the "Society for Raising the Religious Morale of the Bulgaria People", which later develops into an organization called by him "Chain", later know as the "White Brotherhood" fellowship.
Starting 1901, for 12 years he travels around the country, gives scientific lectures and makes over 40 thousand phrenological measurements based on the scheme of Dr. Gaul and Dr. Spurseum. He publishes 5 articles, in which he examines the human face as a mirror, in which the human emotions are reflected, and the head in relation with the development of the brain and the mental abilities. (3)
In 1912, in the village of Arbanasi, near Veliko Turnovo, he works on the Bible and compiles the book "The Covenant of the Color Rays of Light", published in September that same year. The research connects verses from the Bible with virtues, conditions, and their respective color.
Starting 1914, he begins to give Sunday lectures to the public, and starting 1922, he organizes a Spiritual School, near Sofia - the community "Izgreva" ("the sunrise"), which becomes a center of intensive spiritual life. There, until the end of 1944, he speaks before two classes of students.
After the end of WWI the number of his followers quickly increases throughout the country and during the 30ies of 20th century reaches about 40,000. He is gradually established as a most respected figure, also called the Teacher (also the Teacher Beinsa Duno).
In 1922 Petar Dunov writes his first musical compositions. Music is of major importance in the School. Being a very good musician, who plays the piano and the violin, he is also a composer, who leaves us with 150 original musical compositions with spiritual, folklore and dancing elements. (3)
In the period 1927--1942 Petar Dunov creates Paneurhythmy: a system of exercises, in which every exercise combines in one movement and song. Paneurhythmy reflects the themes which have priority for him: on one hand -- health (which is connected with nature, physical exercise, music, and positive thought and emotions), and on the other -- upbringing and self education.
After his death on the 27th of December 1944, the communist regime (which was established in 1944) persecutes his followers and burns his books. With few losses his heritage was preserved: almost 4,000 lectures and over 300 books.
(1) Petar Dunov. The Rational Heart. Compiled by D. Kalev, editors I. Granitski and P. Panchev, © "Zaharii Stoyanov": 2003 ("The Publishing House "Zaharii Stoyanov" offers a special series - the best of Bulgarian classics. Every volume is accompanied by articles, which analyze different viewpoints on the work of the Bulgarian classical writers. Every issue is prepared for high school and university students, and also for the general public." The series "Bulgarian Classics" is published with the kind assistance of the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Palace of Culture.)
(2) Atanas Slavov. Way and time: Secular Biography of Petar Dunov. Vol. 1: The beginning © 1998
(3) Dr. Ilian Stratev. Life and Work of the Teacher Petar Dunov (Beinsa Duno). Sofia: 1997
(4) Petar K. Dunov. Science and Upbringing. P.H. "K. Nikolov": 1896