St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, October 1, through Thursday, October 7, 2010


ORTHODOX EDUCATION DAY, with BBC– 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,” and at 2:00 pm there will be a concert of Orthodox Liturgical Music of our various traditions: Slavic (Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir), Byzantine (our own Boston Byzantine Choir, on the 17th anniversary of its debut!), and Georgian (St. Nino’s Georgian Orthodox Choir).  For more information see

WELCOME BACK COLLEGE STUDENTS– The Fellowship of St. John the Divine is holding its annual “Welcome Back College Students” as a Coffee Hour this  Sunday, October 3, 2010, immediately after Liturgy. 

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 this  Sunday, October 3.  Pick-Up Dates are  Sunday, October 17  for Sfeeha, and Sunday, October 24,  for   Kibbeh.


YOUTH MONTH– October is Youth Month throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese. In our parish young people will be reading the Epistle, holding the Communion cloth and Holy Bread baskets, taking the collection, and giving sermonettes. 

OCF COFFEEHOUSE– The Boston area Orthodox Christian Fellowship is sponsoring a  Coffee House at Holy Resurrection Church, 62 Harvard Av., Allston on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 9:00 pm.  Admission: $2 for the soup kitchen, or bring cans or clothing in good condition.  For more info contact or see Resurrection Coffeehouse on Facebook .

20/40 BOSTON GIVES BACK – Join a young adult group of  20-40 year olds in the New England Diocese on Saturday, October 9th for a morning of service.  We will meet at St. George, West Roxbury at 9:30 am and prepare food in the kitchen, then we will go out together into the city and give out food and love to those who need it.  Please let Elisabeth Lourie know if you are interested in participating – 617-323-0323 or

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

DIOCESAN FELLOWSHIP DAY– The Antiochian Women, Fellowship of  St. John the Divine and Teen SOYO groups of the Diocese of Worcester and New England will meet here at St. Mary on Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 10:30 am.

NEW ALTAR CLOTHS- The Women’s Club,  recently given the task of providing much-needed new altar cloths for the Holy Place,  would like to thank two very special parishioners for making this project come to fruition:  Bob Kowalikfor selecting the fabric and trim,  andGeorgette Deyabfor her expertise in stitching and sewing, creating something exceptional for our place of worship.


INQUIRERS’ CLASS – The Saint Ignatius of Antioch Catechetical Group (the Inquirer's Class) is held from 9:00 am until 10:00  am  in the St. Mary library,  from September through May. 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.  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.

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:  

ON-LINE STEWARDSHIP SIGN-UP - There will be a table at Coffee Hour for the next few Sundays 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.

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.
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 mnassiff@gmail.comby Sunday, October 17, or order your own tickets online at

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.

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

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), is coming home THIS WEEK.  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.

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
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 are needed each week in the food pantry at St Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Harvard Square, Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:45. 

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.



COFFEE HOUR – Fellowship of St. John The Divine


Saturday,  October 2:  NO Vespers at St. Mary

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

Epistle:  St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 11:31-33; 12:1-9
… I refrain from [boasting], so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. … [the Lord] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Gospel:  Luke 6:31-36
The Lord said, "And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. … But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful."


Saturday, October 9:  No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, October 10:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  no Church School (Columbus Day weekend)

Saturday, October 16:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, October 17:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  Church School lesson 4


Christ commanded his disciples to give alms. To "give alms"means literally "to do"or "to make merciful deeds"or acts of mercy. According to the Scriptures, the Lord is compassionate and merciful, longsuffering, full mercy, faithful and true. He is the one who does merciful deeds (see Psalm 103).   Acts of mercy are an "imitation of God,"who ceaselessly executes mercy for all, without exception, condition or qualifications.  He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.   Mercy is a sign of love. God is Love. A deed of merciful love is the most Godlike act a human being can do.
   - Fr. Thomas Hopko

Do not become harsh and unmerciful. Think that behind him who seeks charity from you, is the Lord Himself… Give charity for your own benefit and for the benefit of those who are really poor. The Lord will reward you…
  - St. John Chrysostom

With all His love and diligence Jesus fulfilled that commission for which His Heavenly Father sent Him, directing everything toward His Father’s glory. He felt pity for all people, especially for the poor and underprivileged, wished well to everyone, and was willing to bear anything in order to ease their suffering. He bore all conceivable affronts and insults from the ungrateful crowd with the greatest meekness, and did not vent His anger on those who slandered Him and plotted intrigues against Him. Some who bore Christ ill-will called Him a sinner and lawbreaker; others called Him a carpenter’s son and a shallow person; still others said He was a friend of drunkards and sinners. On several occasions Christ’s enemies attempted to stone Him or toss Him from a mountaintop. Jewish scribes called His divine teachings deceitful; and when He healed the sick, raised the dead, or exorcised demons, they explained away these miracles as the deeds of an evil spirit. Some even openly called Him possessed. The Lord Jesus, being Almighty God, could have destroyed them all with one word. Instead, He pitied them as spiritually blind and prayed for their welfare and for their salvation.
   - St. Innocent of Irkutsk, Indication of the Way Into the Kingdom of Heaven

"And what is a merciful heart?"It is the heart’s burning for the sake of the entire creation, for men, for birds, for animals, for demons and for every created thing; and by the recollection and sight of them the eyes of a merciful man pour forth abundant tears. From the strong and vehement mercy which grips his heart and from his great compassion, his heart is humbled and he cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in creation. For this reason he continually offers up tearful prayer, even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth and for those who harm him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner he even prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns in his heart without measure in the likeness of God.
   - St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 81