St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, March 5, through Thursday, March 11, 2010



AKATHIST AND LECTURE – This Friday, March 5, there will be an Akathist service at 7:00, followed by the fourth in a series of Learning in Lent lectures ("Orthodoxy 102") presented by David Vermette and sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine. This week’s topic will be  "Why Do We Keep Doing Things We Know to Be Wrong?"


DIOCESAN MEETINGS – The Spring Delegates Meeting for FSJD, Antiochian Women, and Teen SOYO will be held at St. Mary, Pawtucket RI  on Saturday, March 6, beginning with Morning Prayers at 10:00  am. All meetings, including Morning Prayers, will be held in the Parish Center. Lunch will be served at 12:30 pm.

TEEN SOYO OUTING - Following lunch at the Spring Delegates Meeting in RI on Saturday, March 6, we will be going to North Smithfield Laser Tag in N. Smithfield, RI   Please RSVP to Greg Abdullah 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.


FEAST OF THE ADORATION OF THE HOLY CROSS -  There will be a procession with the cross at the end of Liturgy.

CHILEAN RELIEF - An Archdiocese Collection for Chilean Relief will be taken following services.


COFFEE HOUR – No one has signed up yet to provide the Coffee Hour on  Sunday,  March 15,  so please sign up for that date, individually or with friends.  Some do this to celebrate a special event or anniversary, others simply as an act of hospitality. It can be as simple as coffee, juice, and cookies.   Signup sheets are on the bulletin board downstairs outside the Hall.

FR. ANTONY AWAY – Fr. Antony will be away March 12 & 13. In case of emergency during this time please contact Fr. Timothy Ferguson at St. George Church, West Roxbury, at 617-323-0323.

PASCHA BAKE SALE – The Women’s Club will hold its annual Pascha Bake Sale Sunday, March 21, 2009 (The Sunday before Palm Sunday).  Plan on purchasing all your Pascha/Easter desserts, pastries and goodies!  If you can help bake or bring something for us to sell, please call MaryEllen Mabardy at 781-729-6303.

Remember that Spinach Triangles can still be ordered from the Women’s Club.  Now you can also order a new supply of Hummus. Ordering deadline is April 11.

HOLY FRIDAY VIGIL – On Friday-Saturday, April 2-3, the teens will keep watch at the tomb of Christ and prepare the bier and church for Saturday services.  Psalms are read throughout the night, into the morning until Vesperal Liturgy at 9:00 am. 

HOLY WEEK PARKING - The Church Parking Lot will be available for parking throughout Holy Week;  however it is not available for parishioner parking from 9:00 am. to 5:00 pm Mondays - Fridays at any other time.


ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN'S MONTH – March is Antiochian Women's Month throughout the Archdiocese. Women of the parish will be reading the Epistle, holding the Communion cloths and bread baskets, taking the collection, and delivering the homily. 

DIOCESAN SOYO RETREAT – On Friday - Sunday, March 19-21, Archdeacon Seraphim Solof will lead a retreat  for teens. This year's theme is "Lord I believe - help my unbelief: Our Personal Journey to Christ."   RSVP to Erick and Liz ASAP (by Monday, March 8th at the absolute latest) 

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

ADULT 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.

LENTEN RETREAT - Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Newburyport ( is hosting a Lenten retreat on Saturday, March 20, with our own Father Antony. The theme will be  Imitating the Mother of God: The Lives of Mary of Bethany, Mary of Egypt and Maria (Skobtsova) of Paris.  To RSVP or to obtain more information, please email or call Joanna Tsiantas at 978-465-1405.

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. 

AKATHIST and LEARNING IN LENT – Every Friday during Lent, through March 19, there will be an Akathist service at 7:00, followed by the FSJD’s annual lecture series, Learning in Lent, in the Church hall.  The speaker for this year’s series is 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. 

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE – Any high school senior graduating in the spring of 2010  may apply for a scholarship offered by the Diocesan Fellowship of St. John the Divine.   Inquiries and application requests may be addressed to Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617- 523-1010  or

Also, the Syrian-Lebanese Women’s Club of Greater Boston is offering $1,000 Scholarships to young women of Syrian and Lebanese origin, living in Massachusetts within a 50-miles radius of Boston , who plan to pursue a 4-year college education.  Awards are based on outstanding academic achievement, charitable and civic involvement and good character.  Each applicant must be in good academic standing in her school and possess those personal attributes which best serve the community.  Applications are available through our Church Office or call Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or e-mail at her  Completed application must be postmarked by April 7, 2010. 

FOOD SALE EXTENDED – The Women’s Club’s sale of Spinach Triangles (and now Hummus too) has been extended. You can still order them until Sunday, April 11 – please use the order form in the Sunday  Bulletin.  Baking will be Saturday, April 24; orders may be picked up  Sunday, April 25.

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 – He that feeds the hungry also feeds God.

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 home 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. 

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.

PLEASE UPDATE YOUR PROFILE – Sometimes we need to send information (such as snow closings, for example) only to people in the local area who attend St. Mary – without clogging the inbox of others, such as friends and alums of St. Mary, who aren’t affected.  Please take a moment to click the “Update your profile” link at the very bottom of this email and type “yes” or “no” in the new “Currently attend St. Mary?” box. And while you’re there, please make sure your name is shown correctly as well.  Thank you!


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, March 7:   Women of the parish 


Sunday, March 7:  Dino Takles, Bob Kowalik, Juliet Burch & David Vermette, and Trish & Nika Orlovsky


Friday, March 5:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 pm,  followed by Learning in Lent ("Orthodoxy 102")  with David Vermette:  "Why Do We Keep Doing Things We Know to Be Wrong?"

Saturday, March 6  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, March 7, Sunday of the Holy Cross:  Orthros 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;   Church School lesson 15


Epistle:  Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-6  Brethren, since we have a high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Gospel:  Mark 8:34-38; 9:1  The Lord said: "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. "

Monday, March 8:  Diocesan Lenten Compline service at St. George, Norwood  7:00 pm

Wednesday, March 10:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 pm,  followed by Potluck Supper


Friday, March 12:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 pm with Rev. Fr. Dionysios Wilhelm,  followed by Learning in Lent ("Orthodoxy 102")  with David Vermette: "Cures for the Illness of the Soul."

Saturday, March 13:  NO Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, March 14, Sunday of St. John Climacus :  Orthros 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;   Church School lesson 16

Monday, March 15:  Diocesan Lenten Compline service at St. George, Lawrence  7:00 pm

Wednesday, March 17:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 pm,  followed by the last Potluck Supper

Friday, March 19:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 pm,  followed by the last Learning in Lent ("Orthodoxy 102")  with David Vermette

Saturday, March 20  NO Vespers at St. Mary

Monday, March 22:  Diocesan Lenten Compline service at St. George, Worcester 7:00 pm

Wednesday, March 24: Evening Liturgy for the  feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos 6:30 pm

Saturday, March 27, Lazarus SaturdayMatins 8:00 am, Divine Liturgy 9:00 am, Communion Breakfast 10:15 am, followed by Church Cleanup (no choir rehearsal) ; Great Vespers 5:00 pm.

Sunday, March 28, Palm Sunday:  Orthros 8:45 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am with

Procession; followed by FSJD annual Fish Dinner.

Holy Monday, March 29: Presanctified Liturgy 7 :00 am; Bridegroom Matins 7:00 pm

Holy Tuesday, March 30: Presanctified Liturgy 7 :00 am; Bridegroom Matins 7:00 pm

Holy Wednesday, March 31: Presanctified Liturgy 7 :00 am; Holy Unction 7:00 pm

Holy Thursday, April 1:  Vesperal Liturgy 7 :00 am; Washing of the Feet 6:45 p.m. and Twelve Gospels 7:00 pm

Holy Friday, April 2: Children’s Retreat 9:30 am;  Royal Hours 1:00 pm;  Unnailing Vespers 3:00 pm; Lamentations 7:15 p.m. with Procession to Central Square; Teen Vigil overnight

Holy Saturday, April 3: Vesperal Liturgy 9 a.m.

Saturday-Sunday, April 3-4:  Vigil/Rush Service 10:00 pm; Resurrection Matins 11:00 pm; Great and Holy Pascha Divine Liturgy 12 midnightPaschal Festivities in the Church Hall following


   The Savior began the work of our salvation with fasting. In the same way all those who follow in the footsteps of the Savior build on this foundation the beginning of their endeavor, since fasting is a weapon established by God.   

   - St. Isaac the Syrian

   Beware of limiting the good of fasting to mere abstinence from meats. Real fasting is alienation from evil. ‘Loose the bands of wickedness.’ Forgive your neighbor the mischief he has done you. Forgive him his trespasses against you. Do not ‘fast for strife and debate.’ You do not devour flesh, but you devour your brother. You abstain from wine, but you indulge in outrages. You wait for evening before you take food, but you spend the day in the law courts. Woe to those who are ‘drunken, but not with wine.’ Anger is the intoxication of the soul, and makes it out of its wits like wine.

   True fasting lies is rejecting evil, holding one’s tongue, suppressing one’s hatred, and banishing one’s lust, evil words, lying, and betrayal of vows.

   - St. Basil the Great, Homilies on the Holy Spirit

Fasting is acceptable to God when abstention from food is accompanied by refraining from sins, from envy, from hatred, from calumny, from vainglory, from worldliness, from other evils. He who is fasting the true fast ‘that is agreeable’ to God ought to shun all these things with all his strength and zeal, and remain impregnable and unshakable against all the attacks of the Evil one that are planned from that quarter. On the other hand, he who practices abstention from food, but does not keep self-control in the face of the aforesaid passions, is like unto one who lays down splendid foundations for a house, yet takes serpents and scorpions and vipers as fellow-dwellers therein.

   - St. Photios the Great

Nothing done in humility for the sake of God is bad. But things and pursuits differ. Everything not strictly necessary is a hindrance to salvation - everything, that is to say, that does not contribute to the soul's salvation or to the body's life. For it is not food, but gluttony, that is bad; not money, but attachment to it; not speech, but idle talk; not the world's delights, but dissipation; not love of one's family, but the neglect of God that such love may produce; not the clothes worn only for covering and protection from cold and heat, but those that are excessive and costly; not houses that also protect us from heat and cold, as well as anything human or animal that might harm us, but houses with two or three floors, large and expensive;...not friendship, but the having of friends who are of no benefit to one's soul; not woman, but unchastity; not wealth but avarice; not wine but drunkenness; not anger used in accordance with nature for the chastisement of sin, but its use against one's fellow-men.

   - St. Peter of Damascus