St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, March 26, through Thursday, April 1, 2010



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


LITURGY AND BREAKFAST – 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.

CHURCH CLEAN-UP – 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! "

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.


FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE – Remember to return your Food for the Hungry boxes, filled with money, and pass them in at the Bengarri or to Violet Robbat this Sunday. He that feeds the hungry also feeds God.

PROCESSION WITH PALMS – There will be no Church School classes this Sunday.  Following the Liturgy there will be the Procession with Palms (no lighted candles, please).  All who wish to do so are invited to join the procession; children are especially encouraged to participate.

ARCHDIOCESE COLLECTION – This Sunday also we will be taking an Archdiocese collection in support of the continued work of on behalf of our Patriarchate of Antioch .

PALM SUNDAY FISH DINNER – Join us after Liturgy for the annual Palm Sunday Fish Dinner, sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine and donated by Ed and Lisa Brylczek.  Spend Palm Sunday with your family and friends at Church  after Liturgy and let us do the cooking! 


PARKING - The Church Parking Lot will be available for parking throughout Holy Week during services only, and all day on Great & Holy Friday;  however, it is not available for parishioner parking Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm otherwise.


On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings, March 28, 29, and 30, there will be a Bridegroom Matins service at 7:00 pm.  (This service on Tuesday night features the beautiful Hymn of Cassiani.)  On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, March 29, 30, and 31,  Presanctified Liturgy will be celebrated at 7:00 am.


The evening service on Wednesday, March 31, is Holy Unction at 7:00 pm.  The service includes seven Epistles, seven Gospels, and seven prayers, all about oil and healing and forgiveness and the Holy Spirit.  Seven wicks are lit in the bowl of oil, and at the end each of us is anointed and given Holy Oil to take home.


On Thursday, April 1, Vesperal Liturgy is at 7:00 am.  The evening service begins at 6:45 pm with Washing of the Feet, followed at 7:00 pm by Twelve Gospels, in which we hear by candlelight the entire story of Christ’s final teaching, passion, trial, walk to Golgotha , crucifixion and burial, from all four of the Gospel writers.


The Children's Retreat, beginning at 9:30 am on Friday, April 2, will include 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 at 781-641-0182 or

Your help is needed to help decorate the Church on Great and Holy Friday at 9:30 am and on Great and Holy Saturday after the Liturgy and Coffee Hour at 1:00 p.m.  We will be decorating the Bier of Christ on Friday, and preparing the church for Pascha on Saturday afternoon.  Please come, stay and help.   Parents:  Come upstairs and help while your children are downstairs at their Retreat. You’re welcome to share lunch with the kids, but please let Trish know early in the week so there will be enough for everyone.

Royal Hours begins at 1:00 pm, followed by Unnailing Vespers at 3:00 pm, when the figure of Christ is removed from the Cross where it was nailed Thursday during the Twelve Gospels service, and is laid in the tomb, or bier. 

Lamentations begins at 7:15 pm again this year. During this service we will process with the Bier out of the church and down Massachusetts Avenue to Central Square , where we will meet worshippers from Ss. Constantine & Helen Greek Church carrying their bier, and join them for prayers and blessings before processing back to St. Mary.

Following the Lamentations Service on Holy Friday evening, St. Mary's Teen SOYO will hold an All-Night Vigil at the Church.  All youth, ages 12-18 (grades 7-12), are encouraged to participate in reading Psalms, keeping watch at the tomb, and joining a discussion led by a special guest.  The Vigil culminates Saturday morning with Vesperal Liturgy at 9:00 am.  Teens across the Diocese will participate in similar vigils at their respective churches. The Church will be locked and several chaperones will remain with the Teens throughout the night, into the morning.


Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil begins at 9:00 am on Saturday, April 3. We celebrate Christ’s triumph over evil and death, with the scattering of bay leaves and flowers.  This service includes fifteen lessons from the Old Testament, all prophesying the ultimate victory of God, and also includes Chrismation of our newest catechumens. The service will be followed by a Breakfast  offered by Nadia & Bahig Kaldas for the continued good health and happiness of all St. Mary Clergy and Parishioners.

Saturday evening and into Great and Holy Pascha, all our Lenten efforts and Holy Week observances culminate in the celebration of Christ's resurrection. The services begin with the Vigil/Rush Service at 10:00 pm, followed by Resurrection Matins at 11:00 pm, and Divine Liturgy at 12:00 midnight.  Paschal festivities, with plenty of food, will take place in the Church Hall after Liturgy.

Joint Agape Vespers (Baouth) on Easter Sunday morning will be held at 11:00  am at St. John Church, Dedham, with a reception following.


TEEN SOYO NEMO - New England Ministry Outreach (NEMO) will be held on Saturday, April 10,  from 9:30 am – 7:30 pm at St. Mary, Pawtucket , RI followed by Vespers at 5:30 pm at St. John , Dedham .  $5 per person.  RSVP to Greg Abdalah by April 6: or 724-518-6811

CARE PACKAGES FOR “OUR” MARINE – Fr. Antony's "spiritual son" Scott is still in the Marines,  and has recently been deployed to Afghanistan.  The Fellowship of St. John the Divine is once more helping collect items for care packages for him. Scott will share what he receives with his fellow Marines, and has sent a list of things he would especially like to receive. The Fellowship is purchasing some of those items, but would be happy to receive contributions of the following: 

Tuna, Beef jerky, Sunflower seeds, Sour skittles, Non perishable junk food, Paperback books (legal thrillers or murder mysteries), and  Long white socks.

A box will be set up in the entry to the Church Offices for your donations, and we would also welcome monetary contributions to help with postage, shopping, etc.  - make checks payable to Fellowship of St. John the Divine or to St. Mary Church (earmarked FSJD), and give them to any member of the FSJD Steering Committee (Tiffany Conroy, Mike Decerbo, Melissa or Peter Nassiff, Socrates Deligeorges or Steve Walker), or mail them to the Church. Thank you for your caring concern and prayers for Scott and his fellow Marines!

COFFEE HOURS – We need volunteers for most of the month of April,  so please sign up to sponsor a coffee hour, 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. Isn't it your turn by now?


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. 

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.

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


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

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.

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.

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 27:  No volunteers from St. Mary on Lazarus Saturday


Sunday, March 28:   Women of the parish 


Sunday, March 28:  Fish Dinner sponsored by FSJD


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 SundayOrthros 8:45 am;  Divine Liturgy 10:00 am with

Procession; followed by FSJD Fish Dinner. No Church School.


Epistle:  Philippians 4:4-9  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.

Gospel:  John 12:1-18  Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. … When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. …  The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" And Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it; as it is written, "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!"

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 of St. Basil 9:00 am, with Chrismation, followed by Breakfast

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

Sunday, March 23:  Church School Graduation

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


Having accomplished the forty days for the benefit of our souls, we pray to Thee, O Lover of Man, that we may see the holy week of Thy passion, that in it we may glorify Thy greatness and Thine unspeakable plan of salvation for our sake.  

   - Vesper Hymn for the Friday before Lazarus Saturday

During this last week of preparation, the celebration of the mystery begins. Lenten effort has made us capable of putting aside all that which usually and consistently obscures the central object of our faith, hope, and joy. Time itself comes, as it were, to an end. It is measured now not by our usual preoccupations and cares, but by what happens on the way to Bethany, and beyond to Jerusalem.  And, once more, all this is not rhetoric. To anyone who has tasted of the true liturgical life – be it only once and however imperfectly – it is almost self-evident that from the moment we hear, "Rejoice, O Bethany, home of Lazarus…" and then "… on the morrow Christ is coming …," the external world becomes slightly unreal …  "Reality" is that which is going on in the Church, in that celebration which day after day makes us realize what it means to expect, and why Christianity is above everything else expectation and preparation. Thus, when that Friday evening comes and we sing "having completed the edifying forty days… ," we have not only fulfilled an annual Christian "obligation"; we are ready to make ours the words which we will sing on the next day: "In Lazarus Christ is already destroying thee, O death, and where, O Hell, is thy victory… ?

   - Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

O Christ God when Thou didst raise Lazarus from the dead before Thy Passion, Thou didst confirm the Resurrection of the universe.  Wherefore we, like children, carry the banner of triumph and victory; and we cry to Thee, O Conqueror of death, Hosanna in the highest, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.

   - Troparion of Lazarus

He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, but when he rose from the tomb he laid aside the shroud… He had "no form or comeliness" (Isaiah 53:2), but on the mountain he shone with a splendor more dazzling than the sun,  a foretaste of his future glory. … He knew weariness, but he is rest for "all who labor and are heavy laden" (Matthew 11:28). He prays, but he answers prayers. He weeps, but wipes away tears. He asks where Lazarus has been laid, for he is man; but he raises him to life, for he is God. He is sold, dirt cheap, for thirty pieces of silver, but he redeems the world, at great cost, with his own blood.  … He dies, but he brings to life, and by his own death destroys death. He is buried, but he rises again. He descends into hell, but rescues the souls imprisoned  there.

   - Gregory Nazianzen