St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, March 19, through Thursday, March 25, 2010



AKATHIST AND LECTURE – This Friday, March 19, will be the last Akathist service of Lent, at 7:00, followed by the last  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 2," starting about 8:30.

DIOCESAN SOYO RETREAT – On Friday through 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 this Saturday, March 20, led by 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.

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.  


PASCHA BAKE SALE – The Women’s Club will hold its annual Pascha Bake Sale this Sunday, March 21 (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.


LAZARUS  SATURDAY - Please come and bring your friends and family to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Lazarus Saturday, March 27 (Matins 8:00  am, Liturgy 9:00 am) and enjoy a Communion Breakfast at 10:15 am offered by Selma Winstanley in memory of brother, Mitchell Mabardi. After the breakfast there will be  a  Church Clean-Up in preparation for Pascha, coordinated by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.  Please bring rags, cleaning supplies, small buckets, brown paper bags and irons for wax removal, etc. Come and lend a hand in preparing God’s House for the Feast of Feasts.  Remember,  "Many hands make light work! "

RETURN YOUR "FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE" BOXES – Please return your filled boxes to the Bengarri on Palm Sunday, March 28.  During this season of prayer, self-discipline and fasting, please be very generous in your contribution to the Food for Hungry People program of our Archdiocese – He that feeds the hungry also feeds God.

PALM SUNDAY FISH DINNER – On Sunday, March 28, the Fellowship of St. John the Divine will host its annual Palm Sunday Fish Dinner. Spend Palm Sunday with your family and friends at Church  after Liturgy and let us do the cooking!  Watch for further details.

vonHOLZHAUSEN LECTURE - The Fellowship of St. John the Divine cordially invites you to the annual Fr. John vonHolzhausen dinner and lecture on  Saturday, April 17, 2010, following Vespers. Dinner is at 6:00 p.m.; the lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m.  The cost is your generous freewill donation to the Fellowship.  This year's speaker is Dr. Peter Bouteneff, Assistant Professor of  dogmatic theology at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.


PARISH LIFE CONFERENCE - The 72nd Annual Parish Life Conference of the diocese will be hosted by St. George Cathedral Worcester, the weekend of June 18-20 at the  Sturbridge Host Hotel (   Rooms start at only $98 - call 508-347-7393  to book yours today.  Conference registration, schedules, and other information can be found at


LITURGY and LENTEN POTLUCK – This Wednesday, March 24, there will be an evening Liturgy for the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos at 6:30 pm, followed by the last  Potluck Supper in Lent sponsored by the FSJD.  Do plan to come and bring something to share.  But please stay for supper even if you can't bring food--there's room at the table for everyone. 

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

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. 

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.

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 CHILDREN’S 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).

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. 

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!

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.

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.

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, you can 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.



Saturday, March 20:  David Vermette and Michelle Chin


Sunday, March 21:   Women of the parish 


Sunday, March 21:  Women’s Club Bake Sale


Friday, March 19:  Final 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

Sunday, March 21, Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt :  Orthros 8:45 am; Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;   Church School lesson 17


Epistle:  Hebrews 9:11-14  For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Gospel:  Mark 9:17-31  At that time, Jesus took the twelve aside, and he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise." …  And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

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,  followed by the last Potluck Supper


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. No Church School.

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 12:00 midnight;  Paschal Festivities in the Church Hall following


Saturday, April 17:  Fr. John vonHolzhausen lecture

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


…repentance is the ever more acute awareness of the love of God and of our inadequate response. It is not an act that can be finished, but a constant state of the soul which deepens the nearer it approaches the end.

   - Paul Evdokimov, The Ages of the Spiritual Life

Abba Sarmatas said, "I prefer a sinful man who knows he has sinned and repents, to a man who has not sinned and considers himself to be righteous."

   - The Desert Fathers

It is very easy indeed to confess that I have not fasted on prescribed days, or missed my prayers, or become angry. It is quite a different thing, however, to realize suddenly that I have defiled and lost my spiritual beauty, that I am far away from my real home, my real life, and that something precious and pure and beautiful has been hopelessly  broken in the very texture of my existence. Yet this, and only this, is repentance, and therefore it is also a deep desire to return, to go back, to recover that lost home. … I stand before God, before the glory and the beauty of His Kingdom. I realize that I belong to it, that I have no other home , no other joy, no other goal; I also realize that I am exiled from it into the darkness and sadness of sin, "for I am afflicted." And finally, I realize that only God can help that affliction, that only He can "attend to my soul." Repentance is, above everything else, a desperate call for that divine help.

   -Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

Repentance is not a theory to be worked out but a way of life; that is why the stories about repentance are more useful than any amount of teaching on the subject.  …  It is not a pattern to follow but an experience to be shared.

   - Benedicta Ward, Harlots of the Desert