St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, February 12, through Thursday, February 18, 2010



PARAKLESIS AND LECTURE – This Friday, February 12, there will be a Paraklesis service at 7:00, followed by the first in a series of Learning in Lent lectures ("Orthodoxy 102") presented by David Vermette. This week’s topic will be "Is Orthodox Christianity a Religion?" 




CHINESE NEW YEAR BREAKFAST – The annual Chinese New Year Missions Breakfast, sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine (FSJD),  will be this  Sunday, February 14, 2010 (Cheesefare Sunday).  Please let Nelson Mitrophan Chin know at if you are coming, if you can help with any food donations, or if you can help with serving.

LENTEN FOOD SALE – If you placed an order with the Women's Club for Hoomos or Mjadara, please pick it up this Sunday, February 14, after Liturgy.  Any orders not picked up will be frozen. Note that Spinach Triangles will not be ready next Sunday – see New Announcements, below.

FORGIVENESS VESPERS – The last thing we do before beginning the Lenten fast is forgive each other, and ask everyone to forgive us.  Join us Sunday evening, February 14, at 5:30 pm for Forgiveness Vespers.  Lent begins Monday, February 15.


AKATHIST and LEARNING IN LENT – Every Friday during Lent there will be an Akathist service at 7:00, followed by the FSJD’s annual lecture series, Learning in Lent.  After Akathist we’ll meet in the Church hall for refreshments and a presentation (approximately 8-9:30 pm).  The speaker for this year’s series will be David Vermette, who leads the Inquirers’ class at St. Mary.  Some people who attended that class in the past have asked for a “102” level of the class, and others have wanted something that is not only for inquirers.  This series is intended to meet those needs.

The first talk, entitled  "Is Orthodox Christianity a Religion?," is this Friday, February 12 (the Friday before Lent begins), and will follow the Paraklesis service beginning at 7:00.  Next Friday, February 19, the topic will be "The Problem of Evil" and the Orthodox Tradition.  Future talks in this Learning in Lent series will be every Friday through March 19, after the weekly Akathist service.

PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY and LENTEN POTLUCKS – Every Wednesday during Lent there will be a Presanctified Liturgy at 6:30 pm, followed by a Potluck Supper sponsored by the FSJD.  Do plan to come and bring something to share.  Any Lenten fare is welcome:  main courses, sides, salads, desserts, as well as beverages and snacks.  This is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship during Lent, plus we get to sample each other's Lenten recipes.  Please stay for supper even if you can't bring food--there's room at the table for everyone. 

LENTEN FOOD SALE CHANGE -  Because of conflicts with the blood drive for Jamil Samara and the retreat with Fr. Michael Nasser next Saturday (see Reminders, below),   the Women’s Club will NOT be baking Spinach Triangles next Saturday, February 20,  as previously announced, and they will NOT be ready for pickup next Sunday, February 21.  Revised baking date is  Saturday, April 24,  at 9:30 am; pickup will be Sunday, April 25.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council (rescheduled) will be Tuesday, March 9, at 7:30

LENTEN RETREAT – St. Michael Church in Cotuit invites all adults to a Lenten Retreat on Saturday, March 13, with Fr. Kyriakos (Kerry) V. Saravelas, Orthodox priest, radio host and popular lecturer.  His topic will be  “Calling All Cradles & Converts! Our Wonderful Journey to Pascha With A Forgiving Jesus.”  Registration  8:30 am;  Liturgy 9:00 am;  Coffee 10:15 am; Presentation #1  10:45 am; Lunch  at noon;  Presentation #2  12:45 pm; closing 2:30 – 3:00 pm.  Cost for Retreat & Lunch: $20  Pre-registration is encouraged.  For more information, contact Lorraine Reiley 508-240-2412.  Registration forms are available on the Bulletin Board downstairs.

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE –You are urged during this season of prayer, self-discipline and fasting, to be very generous in your contribution to the Food for Hungry People program of our Archdiocese . Money Boxes for collecting alms at home are on the Bengarri; please pick one or two up and place them throughout your home. Our Church School Students will also be given their own boxes to fill. Please be generous – and use the Food For Hungry People 2010 Calendar in this week’s Bulletin to help give you ideas!


BLOOD DRIVE TO HONOR JAMIL – There will be a blood drive in honor of Jamil Samara at St. George Church, 55 Emmonsdale Road, West Roxbury, next  Saturday, February 20, from 9:00 to 3:00.  The blood drive will support transfusion needs at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute  All donors must be scheduled ahead of time - call the church office at  617-323-0323 or Sean Santry  617-517-4866 For eligibility and donation questions, please contact  Dylan MacDonagh 617-732-6286  or e-mail

KEEPING YOUR FAITH IN A CHAOTIC WORLD - The Diocese of Worcester Fellowship of St. John the Divine announces a one-day retreat featuring Fr. Michael Nasser, next  Saturday, February 20, at St. Mary’s Church, 1 St. Mary Way,  Pawtucket, RI. The schedule will include worship, lunch and fellowship:  9:00 am Matins, 9:45 coffee, 10:00 Session 1, 11:45 lunch, 12:45 Session 2, 2:30 closing. A donation of $10 is requested for attendance, and includes lunch.  For further information contact Joe Samra at

RUSSIAN ICON MUSEUM  - Join a Pilgrimage to the Russian Icon Museum in Clinton, MA  next Saturday February 20 (1st Saturday of Lent).  Meet at St. Mary Russian Orthodox Church, 8 Addison St, Chelsea by 10:00 am (or plan to be at Museum by 11:00 am if you want to go on your own).  Contact Anthony Bernardi for info, and to RSVP, at 617-595-1165.   If you need a ride or can drive others, please let Anthony know how many. 

SUMMER CAMP AT ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE - Registration has begun. Camp serves young people ages 9 – 17.  Take advantage of Early-Bird Registration by paying in full before March 1.   Camp Dates :  Session 1: June 20 – July 2 or June 20 – 27 (one week);  Session 2: July 4 – 16; Session 3: July 18 – 30; and Session 4: Aug. 1 – 13.  See for details.

CROSSROADS - CrossRoad Summer Institute is an exciting summer vocation exploration program designed to help students  (high school Juniors & Seniors) discern their life callings and match their God-given gifts with the needs of the world.  Applications are now being accepted for two sessions – due to space limitations, apply by March 1 for first consideration.  Download application and  view video clip at:

LENTEN RETREAT AT NEW SKETE – New Skete Monastery is offering a one-day Lenten retreat on Saturday, March 6, entitled, "Lent as Healing."  The day will consist of presentations on the healing potential of the lenten period and include time for discussions, meditation, and reflection.  An opportunity for spiritual direction and sacramental confession will also be available.  A donation of $15 is asked to help cover the expenses for the day.  The number of retreatants is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.  To register for the retreat, contact Robin Hetko at  In addition, the monastery will celebrate the Liturgy of St. James (the ancient rite of Jerusalem) on  that Sunday (March 7).  Those wishing to visit the monastery for the weekend (to take advantage of both opportunities), please contact Teva Regule ( for housing arrangements.

OCF REAL BREAK – This spring break, change lives! Orthodox Christian Fellowship sponsors projects in many countries during college spring break – see

PRAY FOR JAMIL  SAMARA- To keep up with the progress of Jamil’s recovery from Necrotizing Fasciitis, you can visit the Facebook page that has been created for this purpose and is being updated regularly. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view it:  Cards and notes can be sent to his house at 34 Bradwood Street, Apt 2; Roslindale MA 02131.

WELCOME TO  E-GIVING! - St. Mary’s is pleased to announce that in 2010, parishioners have the option to fulfill their pledge through electronic funds transfer (EFT).  No more envelopes, remembering to write checks, etc.   If you are interested in learning more about this program, please e-mail Charlie Marge ( If you are signing up for e-Giving, please return your unused 2010 envelopes. 

ENVELOPES AND CALENDARS – Please pick up your 2010  Offering Envelopes, which are  in alphabetical order  on a table outside the Church Office.  Remember:  if you have chosen to pay periodically, you have not been assigned weekly envelopes.  If you wish to change your payment arrangements, call Marilyn Robbat in the Church Office at 617-547-1234 Tuesday - Friday.   Church Calendars are also available for pickup – one per family, please.

CHURCH RESTORATION PROJECT - We are about to embark on another phase of restoration of the church.  This next phase, which will focus on the exterior of the church including work on the foundation,  roofing, siding, and exterior trim, will begin in Spring 2010.  More details to follow – please see Raymond Sayeg or Mary Winstanley O’Connor about contributing to this restoration project.

FIRST IN, LAST OUT – Please do not park in the small lot behind the church unless you intend to stay through the end of coffee hour. The only way out is the single lane driveway.  Please pull all the way in to the parking space, and please do not block the driveway – if the lot is full, please park on the street or in the lot at the corner of Prospect Street and Bishop Allen Drive.


There are a number of ways you can help the Church, your fellow worshippers and those in need.  Consider serving in one of these ways:


Liturgical Service - Each Sunday, members of the congregation are needed to read the Epistle and assist during Communion by holding the Communion Cloths and Holy Bread Baskets.  All Orthodox Christians in the Parish are welcome and encouraged to participate. We usually need one Epistle reader and six people to hold cloths and baskets.  If you would like to read the Epistle or assist during Communion, please contact Jeff Wasilko, 781-820-0882,

Coffee Hour – People are needed every week to provide coffee, juice and cookies, or more if desired, and set it up Sunday morning. To sign up for an available Sunday, please put your name on the signup sheet on the bulletin board outside the Hall or call Marilyn Robbat in the Parish Office and she will write your name in. If you need any help with figuring out what to bring or do, check the list below the signup sheet (also printed in the Bulletin), or ask Marilyn at or 617-547-1234.


Holy Resurrection Open Doors - The Holy Resurrection Open Door Meal Ministry in Allston needs volunteers every Monday evening (there is a special need in the summer).  The official hours of the project are 4:30 pm-7:30 pm, but it is fine to come anytime and leave any time.  Best times would be 5:30-5:45 to 7:15-7:30 pm.  You can serve meals, coffee and tea to the people who arrive for dinner (6-7 pm) or just stay behind the scenes doing set-up and clean-up.  It is a very rewarding, hands-on, face-to-face way to serve the community with (mostly) other Orthodox Christians—we even chant the Our Father together before the meal begins. Church info can be found at    Questions? Please contact Liz Straghalis at  phone 617-974-5005,  or Tiffany Conroy at

St Paul’s Food Pantry - Two to four volunteers help each week in the food pantry at St Paul 's Roman Catholic Church in Harvard Square , Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:45.  If you are interested in helping, please contact Christian Alcala at, or (617) 876-5684.


Food and Clothing – The Food for Hungry People canned food drive continues through December 27, 2009 – see Reminders, above.  Bring  in canned goods to the Church and place them in the large, blue plastic containers outside the Church Office. 

- Holy Resurrection in Allston takes donations of non-perishable food items and clothing to distribute at the Open Door Ministry on Monday evenings.  You can bring your donations by on Monday nights between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm or contact Tiffany Conroy,, for more information.

- St. Paul ’s Food Pantry in Harvard Square , where volunteers from St. Mary help every Saturday, depends upon regular donations of canned and packaged foods.  To help, contact Christian Alcala at, or (617) 876-5684.

"As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me," says our Lord.



Sunday, February 14:   Epistle: TBD;  Left Cloth: Trish and Elias Orlovsky;  Center Cloth: Linda Arnold and James Wilcox;  Right Cloth: Rose Njuguna and Maggie Arnold;  Left Bread: Sarah Jabbour;  Right Bread: TBD


Sunday, February 14:  Chinese New Year Missions breakfast


Friday, February 12:  Paraklesis 7:00 pm,  followed by Learning in Lent ("Orthodoxy 102") -  "Is Orthodox Christianity a Religion?" with David Vermette

Saturday, February 13:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, February 14,  Cheesefare Sunday:   Orthros 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;   no Church School; Chinese New Year Missions Breakfast


Epistle:  St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 13:11-14; 14:1-4

One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for God is able to make him stand.

Gospel:  Matthew 6:14-21

The Lord said, "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. "

Sunday, February 14:  Forgiveness Vespers 5:30 pm

Monday, February 15:  Great Lent begins;  Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm

Tuesday, February 16:  Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm

Wednesday, February 17:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 pm,  followed by Potluck Supper

Thursday, February 18:  Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm


Friday, February 19:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 pm,  followed by Learning in Lent ("Orthodoxy 102")  -  "The Problem of Evil" and the Orthodox Tradition with David Vermette

Sunday, February 21:  Orthodoxy Sunday – bring your icons for the procession.  Orthros 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;   Church School music lesson

Monday, February 22: Diocesan Lenten Compline service at St. George, Norwood  7:00 pm

Wednesday, February 24:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 pm,  followed by Potluck Supper

Friday, February 26:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 pm,  followed by Learning in Lent ("Orthodoxy 102")  with David Vermette

Sunday, April 4:  Pascha



40 Maxims for Christian Living

1.    Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.

2.   Go to Church, confession and communion regularly.

3.   Read the Scriptures regularly.

4.   Spend some time in silence each day.

5.   Pray as you can and not as you want.

6.   Keep a rule of prayer.

7.   Say the Lord's Prayer several times a day.

8.   Do some prostrations when you pray.

9.   Have a short prayer (like the Jesus Prayer) that you constantly repeat when your mind is not occupied with other things.

10.  Cultivate communion with the saints.

11.  Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.

12.  Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.

13.  Eat good foods in moderation. Fast as the Church teaches.

14.  Exercise regularly.

15.  Read good books a little at a time.

16.  Face reality. Don't get lost in imagination and fantasy.

17.  Be totally honest, first of all with yourself.

18.  Do your work.

19.  Do the most difficult and painful things first.

20.  Be faithful in little things.

21.  Do acts of mercy and compassion secretly.

22.  Be grateful in all things.

23.  Be cheerful.

24.  Be simple, hidden and quiet. Never draw attention to yourself.

25.  Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.

26.  Be polite with everyone.

27.  Listen carefully when people speak to you.

28.  When speaking, speak simply, clearly, firmly and directly.

29.  Don't complain, grumble, murmur or whine.

30.  Accept criticism gratefully and test it carefully.

31.  Don't defend or justify yourself.

32.  Don't seek or expect either pity or praise from others.

33.  Be strict with yourself and merciful with others.

34.  Don't compare yourself with anyone else.

35.  Don't judge anyone for anything.

36.  Give advice only when asked or obligated to do so.

37.  Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.

38.  Endure the trial of yourself and your own faults and sins serenely, knowing that God's mercy is greater than your wretchedness.

39.  Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.

40.  When you fall, get up immediately and start over.

   - Father Thomas Hopko