The Lay Fraternity of Sofia (Bulgaria)

The Lay Fraternity of Sofia (Bulgaria)

What is a Dominican Lay Fraternity, what is its purpose, and what can such a small community accomplish? We are asked this very often – and we discuss this question ourselves time and again. Each fraternity in the world has its own answer.

The answer from Bulgaria – a country that is mentioned by our press organs, if at all, only as one of the poorest countries in the EU – is eminently impressive and will be presented here as the first in a series of possible answers throughout Europe.

May 2014, the European Assembly of Lay Fraternities in Bologna convened to deliberate upon their statutes and other urgent questions and to elect a new European Council (ECLDF). During one of the sessions a representative of the International Youth Movement (IDYM) spoke about his organisation’s work and provocatively asked what the traditional fraternities suggested doing in order to be attractive for young people. The assembly agreed pretty soon that the relatively high average age of most fraternities was an obstacle for attracting younger people to the Dominican Lay Fraternity.

In the midst of this general lamentation a young man rose from his back-row seat and contradicted calmly but clearly. He said that at 32 he was the only young member of his fraternity and all the others were the age of his parents or older; however, he owed those members, whose contemporaries had just been reviled as “whiteys” very much because it had been they who had initiated him to the faith and the Order after his conversion at 17 and ever since at a very high and challenging level. Henceforward it was obvious: the fraternity of Sofia is something special.


(14 September 2016)