Plus, It’s Better Than Burning

I came across this recently while cataloging some bound periodicals in the seminary library. At first, I thought it ought to go on my other blog, Stuff Found in Library Books, because it is found in a library book. But this is actual content, not something that fell out when shaking to book or popped out when flipping pages. So, it goes here.

The Word is the magazine (now) of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, the Arabic-speaking flavor of orthodoxy in the United States. (Jennifer and I have worshiped at St. George’s in Cicero, and I love the liturgy in Arabic!) Once upon a time, it was published by the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese, before some mergers created a bigger church. We have copies of The Word bound going back to 1957 or 1958, and I spent a little time wandering through them (I work too fast, my boss keeps telling me, and she trouble keeping up with me, even when I plow through 90 volumes of Roman Catholic periodicals). And I found this somewhat strange yet charming item in Father Buben’s Question Box, an advice column, from February 1964:

What starts out as promising something a bit dour ends up as a charming invitation to the joys of married life. “[B]y all means, don’t let her escape.” This sounds like advice from a man who knows the joys of which he speaks.
Something else of note. It is interesting how important cotillions — debutante balls — were in Arab-American Christian communities in the 1950s and 1960s. Late spring was full of photos from Syriac churches across the country, from San Francisco to Brooklyn, featuring comely young dark-eyed lasses in their finery. Sometimes with an aged (but strangely smiling) orthodox bishop in his finery (which was usually more ornate than anything the women wore). By the early 1970s, however, the cotillion photos were gone. They still had lots of pictures of bishops and archbishops, however, and nary a one in a strapless cossack.