Stella Bellemin around the time she met Mikhaël
In dusty old bookshops in the Latin Quarter, Mikhaël browsed through rare texts on alchemy. He also spent many fascinating hours at the Palais des Découvertes, where visitors can observe demonstrations of scientific experiments. He also used this time to improve his rudimentary French by frequenting the cinema, the theater and the opera. During the performances he continued as in the past to note the effect of the instruments and voices on himself and others, attempting to ‘understand how the different sounds activated the spiritual energy centres within’.
During this time he was introduced to Stella Bellemin, a woman in her fifties who was to be one of the most faithful disciples of the new teaching he had brought to France. Stella had just returned from a vacation. She had been to Bulgaria and spent a few days at the Seven Lakes of Rila where she had met Peter Deunov.
After about ten days with the Bulgarian brotherhood, she had asked Peter Deunov, in the presence of his secretary, Brother Boëv, how she could help to make his teaching known in France. His reply was: ‘When you meet the person you are destined to work with, you will recognize him immediately.’
On her return, when she learned of a Mikhaël who had come to France to make known the teaching of Peter Deunov, her decision was immediate: she would collaborate in his work by putting all her resources at his disposal. Stella was an astronomer, attached to the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris. Drawn to the spiritual life since childhood, she was also an intellectual who had gained considerable authority in her field.
Before long many of her friends heard that one of Peter Deunov’s disciples was staying in her apartment and came to make his acquaintance. With attention and the utmost patience, ‘Brother Mikhaël’, as he began to be called, listened to his visitors and responded to their questions. And as they came in increasing numbers, seeking advice, instruction and consolation, there were days when the apartment hummed like a beehive.
But toward the end of 1937 the social and political situation in France was deeply troubled. The threat of war hung over Europe and dominated every conversation. That autumn the French government passed a law severely restricting the right of foreign visitors to the World’s Fair to remain in the country, and Mikhaël, who had left Bulgaria with only a temporary permit to visit the Fair, was now faced with the necessity of renewing it every week.
One day, an official warned Stella that Mikhaël was a spy in the pay of the Soviet Union. She defended him vigorously, but each week, because of misunderstandings of this kind, he had to find additional people of influence to back his request for an extension of his permit. One day, just two hours before his visa expired, the French police demanded that his application be countersigned by ten French male citizens with substantial financial means.
Half an hour later, ten ‘solid citizens’ arrived almost simultaneously at the apartment. All were among his regular visitors and all, without a word to the others, had decided to leave work earlier than usual and go to see Brother Mikhaël. Together they accompanied him to police headquarters. His friends were constantly astonished by the unusual events they witnessed, and even the most skeptical were impressed.