St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

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



AKATHIST AND LECTURE – This Friday, March 12, 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  "Cures for the Illness of the Soul - Part 1."

FR. ANTONY AWAY – Fr. Antony will be out of town leading a retreat on Friday and Saturday, 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.


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.


DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME BEGINS – Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour this Sunday (or Saturday night)  so you’ll be sure to get to church on time.

ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN HOMILY AND COLLECTION - The Antiochian Women’s Sermonette will be given by our own Violet Robbat, Vice President & Project Coordinator of the North American Board of Antiochian Women.  A collection will be taken following Liturgy for the Antiochian Women’s Project 2010: The Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village .  Please be generous.  Make checks payable to  St. Mary Women’s Club and earmark Project 2010.


MEDICAL SUPPLY COLLECTION FOR HAITI – FSJD of St. Mary is sponsoring a collection of inexpensive, over-the-counter medical supplies for Haiti .  This project is co-sponsored by the Boston-Haiti Health Support Team and the Association of Haitian Women of Boston.  A Boston-based medical team will make a series of one-week medical mission trips to Haiti in the coming several months to assist in providing medical treatment to earthquake victims.  There will be a labeled collection bin in the hall outside the Church Office.  Please consider donating even one of the following items:  Masks, Gloves, Gauze, Stethoscopes, Blood Pressure Kits, Hand Sanitizers, Wound Cleaner, Bacitracin, Iodine, Neosporin, Pain Killer (over-the-counter-e.g. Tylenol), Vitamins (adults’ & children's) and Nutritional bars. If you would like more information about this project, please see Juliet Burch or contact her at; phone 617-797-8036.

CLASSICAL ARABIC MUSIC – An evening of Classical Arabic Music will be presented on Saturday, March 20, from 7:30 to 8:30 pm, featuring Ali Amr playing the qanun (Arabic zither) and Tareq Rantisi playing percussion instruments.  Both are from Ramallah, Palestine and are students at Berklee College of Music in Boston.   Location:  Monastery Chapel of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, 980 Memorial Dr., Cambridge  617-876-3037.  

CHOIR REHEASRAL – The choir will rehearse for Pascha on Friday, March 26, at 7:00 pm. (Note there is no Akathist service that evening.)

CONFESSIONS - It is preferred that you make your confession before Holy Week. However, if you are unable to do so, Fr. Antony is available for Confession before and after services from Monday to Wednesday evenings only of Holy Week, or by appointment.  Please note that no confessions will be heard on Great and Holy Saturday before the Rush procession.

HOLY FRIDAY RETREAT – There will be a retreat for children on Holy Friday, April 2, from 9:30 until 12:30.  Spend the morning in fellowship, prayer, song, and quite projects. The retreat ends with a simple luncheon. Children’s confessions will be heard between 11:00 and noon.  Children should be picked up by 12:30, or you may join them for the Service of the Royal Hours at 1:00 pm. The assistance of older teens and adults is welcome during the morning’s activities, or you may assist with luncheon, or in the decoration of the bier. $5.00 donation per person includes lunch. RSVP by Palm Sunday, March 28, to Trish Orlovsky at 781-641-0182 or

HOLY WEEK HOUSING NEEDED – A small family (husband, wife and 2 young children) from Maine would like to join us for Paschal Services at St. Mary, Holy Thursday, April 1 through Pascha, April 4, and need a place to stay.  If you can offer them a room or two please contact the Church Office (617-547-1234).

ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN SPRING FLING – The Women’s Club of the Diocese is sponsoring an outing to the Boston Museum of Science on Saturday, May 1, at 11:00 am, to see ARABIA in the  I-Max Theater. Travel to this exotic and fascinating land, discover an extraordinary culture, and experience modern day Arabia in the midst of monumental change.  Tickets:  $8/Adults and $7/Seniors & Children 3 to 11, for the movie only.  Lunch can be purchased at the Museum Food Court following the 50-minute movie.  Reservation Deadline:  April 9 with payment (checks made payable to Antiochian Women-DOWNE) For more info, contact Cindy Lee Hayes, 401-722-5297 or   Everyone is welcome!

ORATORICAL RESTIVAL – Teen volunteers/participants  are needed for the up-coming Oratorical Festival at the Parish Life Conference in Sturbridge, June  18-20, 2010.  Contact Liz and Erick Straghalis for more information.


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. 

AKATHIST and LEARNING IN LENT Next Friday, March 19, will be the final 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. 

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."   For more information talk to Liz or Erick Straghalis.

LENTEN RETREAT - Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Newburyport ( is hosting a Lenten retreat next 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.

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.

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.  The last potluck will be March 24.

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.

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.

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 14:   Women of the parish 


Sunday, March 14:  Mary Michael


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 – Part 1."

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


Epistle:  Hebrews 6:13-20  Brethren, when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore to himself, saying, "Surely I will bless you and multiply you." And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise.  …  We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Gospel:  Mark 9:17-31  At that time, a man came to Jesus kneeling and saying: "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; …  and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able … but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us." And Jesus said to him, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"   … They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he would not have any one know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise."

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: "Cures for the Illness of the Soul – Part 2."

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 pm 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 pm with Procession to Central Square; Teen Vigil overnight

Holy Saturday, April 3: Vesperal Liturgy 9:00 am

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

Friday – Sunday, June  18-20:  Parish Life Conference in Sturbridge, MA


The prayer of simplicity consists of placing yourself in the presence of God and maintaining yourself in His presence for a certain time, in an interior silence which is as complete as possible, while you concentrate on the divine Object, reduce to unity the multiplicity of your thoughts and feelings, and endeavor to 'keep yourself quiet' without words or arguments. It is not is marvelously fruitful. It is like a welcome shower of rain falling on the garden of the soul. It gives a most powerful assistance to the efforts which we make in order to avoid sin and to accomplish the divine will.
   - A Monk of the Eastern Church, Orthodox Spirituality

My God, I pretend to nothing upon this earth, except to be so firmly united to you by prayer that to be separated from you may be impossible. Let others desire riches and glory; for my part, I desire but one thing, and that is to be inseparably united to you, and to place in you alone all my hopes of happiness and repose.

   - St. John Climacus (John of the Ladder)

Faith gives wings to prayer, and without it we cannot fly up to Heaven.

   - St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent

He who has become the servant of the Lord will fear his Master alone, but he who does not yet fear Him is often afraid of his own shadow.

   - St. John Climacus

Love in its nature makes a human being like God, as far as is possible for a human being. The soul is intoxicated by the effects of it. Its characteristics are a fountain of faith, an abyss of patience, an ocean of humility. … Therefore the one who loves God also loves his brother or sister. Indeed, the second love is the proof of the first.

   - St. John Climacus