St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, April 2, through Thursday, April 8, 2010



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.

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.

STREAMING VIDEO - Once again you can see live streaming video broadcasts of our Holy Week services at St. Mary – except for some frustrating times when the server is down.  Come to church…  but if you can’t, then see if you can join us on your computer.  In addition to live broadcasts during actual service times, you will soon be able to view archives of this year’s  services.  It’s expected that streaming video of St. Mary’s services will continue beyond Holy Week, too! Our thanks to Erick Straghalis for bringing this to fruition.   

To see live broadcasts go to  and for archived videos from last year  go to

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE – Your filled Food For Hungry People Boxes were due last week.  If you have not yet done so, please return them to the Bengarri or to Violet Robbat as soon as possible.


NO FASTING – There is no fasting on Wednesday or Friday, not only during Bright Week,

but until the Feast of the Ascension (May 28), for the whole forty days.  This is the decision of the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch. (This cessation of fasting, however, is purely voluntary; you may fast if you wish.)

TEEN SOYO’S MEDICAL  SUPPLIES FOR HAITI – In support of the Medical Supply Collection for Haiti (see Reminders, below), the teens will purchase medical supplies (band-aids, antibacterial cream, gauze, etc) and will set up a “Medical Store” table during coffee hour on Sunday, April 11.  Parishioners will be invited to purchase items from the “store” to donate to the Haitian medical mission trips.  Any remaining unpurchased items will be donated to the medical trip from teen SOYO.  Following coffee hour that day, the teens will stay in the church hall and pack the boxes to be donated to the medical mission trip.  Friends are welcome, and other teens in the Diocese are invited. At about 1:15 pm, a Haitian friend of Juliet Burch will come and give a short talk about Haiti and the impact the supplies will have.

WOMEN’S CLUB – The next meeting of the Women’s Club will be Monday, April 12, at 7:30 pm.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Tuesday, April 13, at 7:30 pm.


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.

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.  This can be done to celebrate a special event or anniversary, or 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?

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!

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

FOOD SALE– The Women’s Club’s sale of Spinach Triangles (and now Hummus too) has been extended. You can still order them until next 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.

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.


If you haven’t done it yet,  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.  A special Thank You to everyone who has already done so!


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

SCRIPTURE READINGS for Great and Holy Pascha

Epistle:  Acts of the Apostles 1:1-8  To [the apostles] he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God .  And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem , but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. … But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth."

Gospel:  John 1:1-17  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 


Saturday, April 17:  Fr. John vonHolzhausen lecture

Sunday, March 23:  Church School Graduation

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


     If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him enter rejoicing into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.  If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings, because he shall in no wise be deprived. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing.
     If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him also be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has worked from the first hour. And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering.
     Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord, and receive your reward, both the first and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day.
     Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is fully laden; feast sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away. Enjoy the feast of faith; receive all the riches of loving-kindness.
     Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shone forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free: he that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.
     By descending into hell, he made hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of his flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, cried: “Hell was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions.” It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
     O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
     For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages.

   - St. John Chrysostom, Paschal Homily