St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, September 24, through Thursday, September 30, 201


FR. ANTONY to DN. MILAD’S ORDINATION - Fr. Antony will be out of town from Friday through Tuesday, September 24 – 28, 2010, attending the Ordination to the Holy Priesthood of Dn. Milad Selim in Michigan.  Rev. Fr. Evangelos Thiani, of Kenya and Holy Cross Seminary, will be celebrating Orthos and the Divine Liturgy in Fr. Antony’s absence.

In case of emergency, contact Fr. Timothy Ferguson at St. George Church, West Roxbury at 617-323-0323.

INQUIRERS’ CLASS – The Saint Ignatius of Antioch Catechetical Group (the Inquirer's Class) will begin this Sunday,  September 26, at 9:00. This class is for non-Orthodox persons who wish to learn more about the Orthodox Faith or who are contemplating being received into the Church. It meets each Sunday from 9:00 am until 10:00  am  in the St. Mary Library from September through May. If you are interested please contact David Vermette at dgvermette@gmail.comor 617-776-5635.  A brochure is available at the bengarri.  Late registration is still available.

FELLOWSHIP OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE – There will be a meeting of the FSJD Steering Committee this Sunday at 12:00, followed by a general meeting for everyone – members plus anyone interested in joining or working with the Fellowship - at 12:30.

DEFIBRILLATOR TRAINING- Due to a generous donation, the church is about to install a new Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machine downstairs in the church hall, and plans on hosting a professional training session for the AED machine in the fall for our parishioners.  This training would be at no cost to parishioners and would last approximately 30-45 minutes.

In the alternative, the Parish council is requesting feedback from parishioners about interest in a combination CPR and AED class wherein attendees could receive their certification in these areas.  This class would carry a small cost, would be sanctioned by the Red Cross or other entity, and would last about 4-6 hours. We need to know how many parishioners are interested in order to schedule the training. Please see Raymond Sayeg ( or Eric Straghalis ( by this Sunday, September 26, if you are interested in these classes.  

WELCOME BACK BREAKFAST– The Fellowship of St. John the Divine will hold its annual “Welcome Back College Students” Breakfast on Sunday, October 3, 2010.  A suggested minimum donation of $5 will be gratefully accepted from non-students.  Please RSVPby this Sunday,September 26 – call the Church Office at 617-547-1234 or email

ON-LINE STEWARDSHIP SIGN-UP - There will be a table at Coffee Hour this Sunday for those who would like to try eGive.  We’ll have a laptop to help walk you through the process on the spot.  All you need to bring is a sample check from your checking account.  Please e-mail Jamil Samara ( or Charlie Marge ( if you have any questions.


TEEN SOYO APPLE PICKING – Teen SOYO will be hosting the teens of St. George of West Roxbury during liturgy and the two groups will be going Apple Picking after liturgy together on October 10th.  If you are interested in going or have questions, please email Nadia Abuelezam:  

COME SEE THE MESSIAH - Join friends from St. Mary’s for the Handel and Haydn Society’s  annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, on Sunday afternoon, December 5, at 3:00 p.m.  Tickets are just $25 – even less if we have a big enough group. We will carpool to Symphony Hall after Liturgy and have lunch together before the concert.  Those who have done this before have thoroughly enjoyed it - not only do we hear a world-class orchestra and chorus with famous soloists singing glorious words (taken directly from the Bible), but we also have an opportunity to spend time getting to know some fellow parishioners we normally may not encounter.  Good seats go fast - please contact Melissa Nassiff at by Sunday, October 17, or order your own tickets online at

WOMEN’S CLUB BOOK DISCUSSION POSTPONED -  The Women's Club members (and anyone else who'd like to join us) are reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Read the book  and join us on Tuesday, November 9 (not October 5 as previously announced)  for an enjoyable evening of discussion,  refreshments and fellowship! Book discussion will begin at 7:30 pm.

HELPING HANDS FOR BONNIE– If you know Bonnie Michal and would like to help her (with visits, meals, driving, etc,) as she goes through chemotherapy, you can sign on to “Bonnie’s Friends and Helpers” through  Lotsa Helping Hands at


SFEEHA AND KIBBEH SALE  - The Women’s Club is offering for purchase freshly made Sfeeha (ground lamb-meat pizza pies with onion, pine nuts & seasonings) and Kibbeh (8 ½”x 11” tray made with ground lamb-meat and burghul).  Everything is cooked with the finest of ingredients and ready to eat now or freeze for the holidays!  Please use the order form in the  Sunday bulletin, or contact the church office for a copy.  Order deadline is next Sunday, October 3.  Pick-Up Dates are  Sunday, October 17  for Sfeeha, and Sunday, October 24,  for Kibbeh.

NO MORE CARE PACKAGES FOR SCOTT!– Scott Hakim, Fr. Antony’s  "spiritual son, " a Marine  who has been serving in Afghanistan for the past six months (and in Iraq before that), will be coming home in a couple of weeks.  Therefore the FSJD  no longer needs  care package donations. We are very grateful for the generosity of all the St. Mary parishioners and friends who have contributed books, food, socks,  candy, etc.  for Scott and his fellow Marines.  Thank you for your caring concern and prayers!

ATTENTION STUDENTS– If you are a new or returning college or university student, please fill out a green College Student Address Form on the Bengarri (desk in the Narthex) so that we have your current addresses and information and you can receive announcements about activities at St. Mary's and on campus.  See Charlie Marge if you have questions.

ORTHODOX EDUCATION DAY– On Saturday, October 2, 2010, St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Yonkers, NYwill sponsor its annual Orthodox Education Day. The theme will be  “Many Cultures, One Faith.” For more information see

ST.  MARY PAWTUCKET CENTENNIAL– St. Mary, Pawtucket RI, will be celebrating their 100th anniversary the weekend of October 8-10, with Metropolitan PHILIP presiding.  Events include a “Walk Down Memory Lane,” a Grand Hafli (Saturday, in Parish Hall, $40 per person),  Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, and a Grand Banquet ( Sunday, at Providence Marriott Downtown, $85 per person).   Combo ticket:  $120 per person. Call the Church Office at 401-726-1202 for tickets.

HELP MAKE SFEEHA AND KIBBEH– Please come to the church on Saturdaymorning, October 16, starting at 9:00 am to help make meat pies with the Women's Club. Lots of help will be needed – young and old, women and men are all welcome - and it's always lots of fun.  Also, if you can, come at 9:00 Friday morning, October 22, to help the Women’s Club cook Kihbbeh.

COFFEE HOUR VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – Please sign up to provide a coffee hour – it can be as simple as coffee, juice, and cookies.  Lots of Sundays are available in the Fall, and plenty of help is available! Signup sheets are on the bulletin board downstairs outside the Hall, or call Marilyn in the office at 617-547-1234 or

STREAMING VIDEO- Divine Liturgy at St. Mary is broadcast live every week!  Do come to church…  but if you can’t, then join us on your computer! To see live broadcasts go to  Divine Liturgy starts at 10:00 am every Sunday  September through June, and at 9:30 am during the summer.

This ministry is looking for more volunteers who can help set up the streaming service prior to Liturgy on Sunday mornings and potentially during other events (speakers, vespers, etc.).  Volunteers would rotate weekly, taking turns setting up the camera, computer and microphones each week.  Some technical expertise may be required, but training will be provided. If you are interested, please contact Erick Straghalis ( Thank you!

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.


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 Communionby 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 eight 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 secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.orgor 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  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 volunteer to be the new coordinator -  contact outgoing coordinator Christian Alcala at, or (617) 876-5684.

Food and Clothing – 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.

"As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me," says our Lord.


LITURGICAL SERVICE – Epistle:  James Wilcox;  others TBD

If you would like to read the Epistle or assist during Communion, please contact Jeff Wasilko,   If you have held the bread or communion cloth before, and see an empty space, feel free to step in and help.

COFFEE HOUR – Mary Mabardi, Agnes Battit,  and Michelle & Chuck Mabardy and Children


Saturday, September 25:  NO Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, September 26:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  Church School lesson 2

SCRIPTURE READINGS for September 26, The Falling Asleep of St. John the Evangelist and Theologian:
Epistle:  St. John's First Universal Letter 4:12-19
No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. … God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. … There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first loved us.

Gospel:  John 19:25-27; 21:24-25
When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.


Saturday,  October 2:  NO Vespers (note change)

Sunday, October 3:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  Church School lesson 3; Welcome Back Breakfast

Saturday, October 9:  No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, October 10:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  no Church School


Only the perfect person, with a perfect conscience, a perfect mind, and perfect power, can have perfect love. Such a person is our God. What every man eagerly desires for his person is therefore that which exists in the person of his Creator. What all people value - love above all - that is therefore what the Creator is - Love. And so it has been from time immemorial to today and unto ages of ages. 
- (St.) Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, Kassiana: Lessons in Divine Love

According to Eastern Orthodoxy, personal experience of God takes place beyond our intellect and our efforts, in the direct encounter with God in his energies. This is a mysticism of openness to God which welcomes his presence and yields itself to his love. Experiencing God in this fashion frees us up  to celebrate his love and helps us put the rest of our talk about God into perspective.
- James R. Payton Jr., Light from the Christian East

The joy of the mystical love of God springs from a liberation from all self-hood by the annihilation of every trace of pride. Desire not to be exalted but only to be abased, not to be great but only to be little in your own eyes and the eyes of the world; for the only way to enter into that joy is to dwindle down to a vanishing point and become absorbed in God through the center of your own nothingness.
- Fr.  Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

I desire the Bread of God, the heavenly Bread, the Bread of Life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became afterwards of the seed of David and Abraham; I wish the drink of God, namely His blood, which is incorruptible love and eternal life.
- St. Ignatius of Antioch

Faith is the beginning of love; the end of love is knowledge of God.
- Abba Evagrius, "Instructions to Cenobites and Others