Operation Library!

By Ken and Sandy Sivulic

“Go out and teach all nations.” Somehow that message doesn’t motivate too many Orthodox Christians. “We aren’t door bell ringers.” “Let the priest do the preaching and teaching.” - is more the mentality we find. But there are ways that the laity can make the faith known to the non-Orthodox without being “pushy.”

One effective way is to see that the local libraries, public and college, have Orthodox reading material on their shelves. For someone who is independently seeking a religion, or comparing religions, the only objective place information can be obtained is a library. But if Orthodox books are not available next to the books about other denominations, this person will never have the opportunity to know Orthodoxy. One way, then, to “witness” to the community about our faith is to insure that our local libraries have quality Orthodox books.

Library books are purchased with tax dollars or college funds. These books are selected by librarians who read reviews of recent books in various library journals, publishers’ ads, and standard book purchasing lists. Until recently very few Orthodox books were included in these ads and reviews. They weren’t purchased simply because no one even knew they existed!

However, libraries also add to their book collection through gift books and memorial book donations. When donating a gift book you actually purchase the book and take it to the library. Donating memorial books usually requires giving a donation of money, and filling out a library form stating the name of the deceased to be remembered and what specific book or what subject area would be suitable for purchase. A book plate in memory of the deceased as well as the name of the donor is placed in the front of the book. The family of the deceased is usually notified when the book is ready for circulation.

Memorial books should reflect the interests and loves of the deceased: i.e., a gardener, garden books; a golfer, golf books. By adding Orthodox books, you are honoring and respecting your deceased parish member’s love and interest in his religion.

Libraries add books in subject areas where book circulation is highest; therefore be sure to let fellow parishioners know what books have been added and encourage them to use those books. If a library is reluctant to accept books on Orthodoxy, saying they have had no requests for such books, again, encourage parishioners to start asking at the library for the books.

To make book selection easier, the Lay Ministries sub-committee, “Witness to the Community,” with the cooperation of the seminary bookstores, has made available two sets of basic Orthodox books at reduced rates for this special project hereby entitled Operation Library! How and what your parish can order are found on page 4.

If your parish can’t purchase an entire set of books at the present time, using this list of basic books when ordering a memorial book will insure the start of a quality collection. Your parish library committee should keep track of what books have been added to avoid duplication of orders. Many times we go to funeral parlors and see an overabundance of bouquets and flower arrangements. The flowers do console the family of the deceased, of course. They are beautiful, concrete evidence that the community is sharing in the family’s sorrow and loss. However, once they wilt, they are gone. But, a book doesn’t wilt!

“God gave us memory so that we can have roses in December” is an appropriate quotation to mention. Certainly our memories are precious and comforting when we remember our departed. One way to take those memories of love and turn them into something positive and living would be to organize and support an Operation Library in your parish, or to simply donate memorial books as individuals. Those December roses will bloom again each time those books are taken out and truly establish an eternal memory of your departed.

Check List - To Donate Orthodox Books to a Library

(Local public, college, school or parish libraries are all possibilities.)

Gift Books

1. Select one or two people to undertake the project.

2. Visit libraries in your area to determine if any Orthodox material is available. (Notice what other religious books are on the shelves.)

3. Discuss with the librarian a donation of the book/books listed on pg. H from your parish. (Do not just send the books to a library without talking with them first.)

4. Once the library accepts the donation, order the books from either seminary bookstore. Have them mailed to the library or to your parish, to then be personally delivered.

5. Check back a few weeks later to see if the books are on the shelves.

6. Notify parishioners of the books donated to a given library. Encourage their use and circulation.

Memorial Books

1. Individually or as a committee, visit the library and discuss with the librarian a memorial donation.

2. Take with you the following information:

Name of deceased

Name and address of deceased’s family

Name of book/books you would like purchased including author, publisher, year, address of bookstore, price

Name of donor

You will probably be asked to fill out a form giving this information. (The book/books will be purchased directly by the librarian unless otherwise specified.)

3. Check with the librarian that a book plate in memory of the deceased will be placed in the front of the book.

4. Ask the library to notify you and the deceased’s family when the book is ready to be placed in circulation.

5. Notify parishioners of the book donation, encouraging them to ask for the books.

In both instances, the parish library committee should keep a record of the books donated and to which libraries to avoid duplication.


St. Vladimir’s Seminary Bookstore
575 Scarsdale Road
Crestwood. N.Y. 10707

St. Tikhon’s Seminary Bookstore
South Canaan, PA 18459


The Orthodox Church, Ware
For the Life of the World, Schmemann Price $23.00
The Faith We Hold, Archbishop Paul Postage & Handling $2.00
The Life of Fr. John of Kronstadt, Bp. Alexander Total per set $25.00
The First Day of the New Creation, Kesich
The Orthodox Way, Ware


St. Innocent, Apostle to America, Garrett
Great Lent, Schmemann
The Theology of Icons, Ouspensky Price $32.00
The Message of the Bible: Postage & Handling $2.00
An Orthodox Perspective, Cronk Total per set $34.00
Our Hope, Dudko
St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox
Spirituality, Meyendorff


Price . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $50.00
Postage & Handling . . . . . 2.00
Total each combo . . . . .$52.00

Note: These prices will apply until September 1983!


SET A. . . . . . . . . . $23.00
SET B . . . . . . . . . .$32.00
SETS A & B . . . . . . $50.00


Postage & hand. $2.00
Grand total

Make checks payable to:

St. Vladimir’s Seminary Bookstore or
St. Tikhon’s Seminary Bookstore



Ken and Sandy Silvulich are both librarians who live in Crestwood, New York and are active in the Department of Stewardship and Lay Ministries.