St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, October 15, through Thursday, October 21, 2010


HELP MAKE SFEEHA– Please come to the church on this Saturday, 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.  Lunch will be served!

If you placed an order for Sfeeha, you can pick it up on Sunday, October 17 .

WORLD FOOD DAY – World Food Day is Saturday, October 16.  The Antiochian Archdiocese is one of the sponsoring organizations for this event, designed to increase awareness, understanding and informed, year-around action to alleviate hunger.  37 million people in America need our help!  See  for more information.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS - This Sunday one of our teens will give a sermonette on Special Olympics Awareness.

NADIA STRAGHALIS – This Sunday will be the churching of Nadia Elizabeth Straghalis, daughter of Erick and Liz Straghalis.

MESSIAH DEADLINE – 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 see Melissa Nassiff during coffee hour this Sunday, October 17, or email her  at


PARISH COUNCIL NOMINATIONS- It’s getting to be that time of year, when Parish Council nominations and ballotswill be sent out.  Please note that there will be several vacancies next year and we are actively looking for  parishioners who would be willing to serve.  If you have any questions or would like to run, please see Ray Sayeg or e-mail him at

IOCC EVENTS – Next Sunday, October 24, there will be a special Coffee Hour with a presentation by Louis Zagami, Development Officer of International Orthodox Christian Charities.  Mr. Zagami will discuss IOCC’s history and worldwide programs, explain how your support makes a life-changing difference, and answer your questions.

On Sunday afternoon you are invited to Lir Irish Pub and Restaurant (903 Boyleston St, Boston) for a Sunday “Fun”raiser for IOCC – come any time after 2:00 to watch the Patriots game (it begins at 4:15), eat appetizers, and hear a speaker at halftime. Donations $20, must be over 21. For more information see


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. 

HELP MAKE KIBBEH -  Please  come at 9:00 Friday morning, October 22, to help the Women’s Club cook Kihbbeh.  Pick-up date  for  Kibbeh is Sunday, October 24.

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 – Morning Prayer at 10:00 am, coffee “and” at 10:15,  and meetings  beginning at 10:30 am.  After lunch (at 12:30) there will be a brief talk by our own Fr. Antony. All are welcome to attend.

WOMEN’S CLUB BOOK DISCUSSION -  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.

ORTHODOX INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN EDUCATION- The Orthodox Institute welcomes all Christians who love icons to join them at the Antiochian Village  November 4-7. The topic of the Instuitute will be  Icons:  Windows to Heaven, and keynote speaker will be Frederica Mathewes-Green. For information and registration form see

CANNED FOOD DRIVE– The annual FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE Canned Food Drive will be held  October 10, 2010  – December 26, 2010.  Bring  in your canned goods to the Church and place them in the large, blue plastic containers outside the Church Office – they will be distributed to local food pantries in our area. Since 1984, we have collected over 3,281,200 pounds of food.

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.

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

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 at  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 – Azeb Mitiku and family


Saturday, October 16:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

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

Epistle:  St. Paul's Letter to Titus 3:8-15
I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men. …  And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful.

Gospel:  Luke 8:5-15
The Lord said this parable: "A sower went out to sow his seed …”  “The seed is the word of God. The [seeds] along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience."


Saturday, October 23:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, October 24:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  Church School Lesson 5

Saturday, October 30:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, October 31:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  Church School lesson 6;  Harvest Coffee Hour sponsored by the Church School


… search inside yourself with your intellect to find the place of the heart, where all the powers of the soul reside.  To start with, you will find there darkness and an impenetrable density. Later, when you practice this task day and night, you will find, as though miraculously, an unceasing joy. For as soon as the intellect attains the place of the heart, at once it sees things of which it previously knew nothing. It sees the open space within the heart and it beholds itself entirely luminous and full of discrimination.
   -  St Symeon the New Theologian

In Eastern Christian practice, from antiquity to the present, meditation and contemplation are the paths to knowledge of God. Divine revelation offers a foundation for all such meditation and contemplation, of course, but the Orthodox emphasis falls not on speech about but on silence before God and his revelation. The person who would know God must drink deeply of, and not just analyze, what God has made known about himself and his ways toward humankind; one must by saturated with it through wonder rather than seek to connect its elements in curiosity
   - James R. Payton Jr, Light from the Christian East

Every effort we make to increase in virtue, enlightenment and deification touches everyone and everything.  The fruit of our spiritual labors will help bring salvation to all.
   - Fr. Antony Hughes

It is impossible for the mind not to be approached by thoughts, but it is in the power of every earnest man either to admit them or to reject them. As then their rising up does not entirely depend on ourselves, so the rejection or admission of them lies in our own power. But because we said that it is impossible for the mind not to be approached by thoughts, you must not lay everything to the charge of the assault, or to those spirits who strive to instill them into us, else there would not remain any free will in man, nor would efforts for our improvement be in our power; but it is, I say, to a great extent in our power to improve the character of our thoughts and to let either holy and spiritual thoughts or earthly ones grow up in our hearts.
   - St. John Cassian, Conferences