Journey to Jordan: witnessing a Melkite wedding

Journey to Jordan: witnessing a Melkite wedding April 16, 2015

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After leaving Petra this morning, bound for The Dead Sea, we stopped at a Greek Melkite Catholic Church, St. George, and caught part of a traditional wedding ceremony.

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This was something to see. And it was, literally, a shotgun wedding: someone in the wedding party fired a pistol into the air as the bride and her family pulled up in her car.

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The entire village turned out—not only invited guests—and throughout the 20-minute wedding, people wandered around, children explored the aisles, guests left to make phone calls or smoke, and a team of videographers and photographers captured every moment. It was wild.

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A deacon was there, too; I got to meet him briefly before the ceremony.

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He chanted the Kyrie. Interestingly, he wasn’t vested.

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In fact, the whole event had a casual, improvisational spirit to it; a lot of the men didn’t wear jackets or ties, and kids frolicked freely throughout. A high point was the “crowning.”

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This was followed by a parade around the altar. Check out the video below.

It was wonderful to be able to witness this ceremony—and I can report it’s unlike anything we would have had at my parish back in Queens. All this is further evidence, if any were needed, that the Catholic Church is bigger, wider, and more adaptable than many people realize. It’s a beautiful thing to remember.

God bless this happy young couple.

My only regret is that we had to leave before I could have some cake.

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