St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, November 25, through Thursday, December 2, 2010


THANKSGIVING WEEKEND – Since this is a holiday weekend, there will be no Vespers on Saturday, and no Church School or pageant rehearsal on Sunday.  There will be Orthros at 8:45 am and Divine Liturgy at 10:00 am on Sunday.

N.G. BERAMS BANQUET – The N. G. Beram Veterans Association’s  Distinguished Service Award and 11 Scholastic Achievement Awards  will be presented at their Banquet on Saturday, November 27 2010, at 12:30 pm, at the Holiday Inn in Dedham.  For more information see


PARISH COUNCIL ELECTIONS– Parish Council ballots are being mailed out. Please vote for up to 6 parishioners and return you ballot to the church by December 9, 2010.

VILLAGE (CAMP) AT HOME - The Diocese of Worcester and New England will be hosting a “Village at Home” on Saturday December 11, 2010 from 10:00 am - 8:00 pm at St. George Cathedral in Worcester.  The cost is $5.00 per camper for grades 2-12.  For more information see the notice on the St. Mary bulletin board or call Greg Abdalah at 508-752-9150. RSVP by December 3.  Come enjoy a day of camp, right in your own back yard.

CHRISTMAS CONCERT– The Choir of St. George Norwood will present a Christmas Concert of Hymns and Carols on Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm at the Church, 6 Atwood Ave. in South Norwood.  All are Welcome and admission is free. A reception will follow in the church hall.


NATIVITY FAST– The Nativity Fast, also known as the season of Advent, began last Mondayand continues until December 24. This is the forty days of fasting and prayer in preparation for the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ.  On Wednesdays during this period there is a Paraklesis service at 6:30 pm.

PRISON MINISTRY TO  CHILDREN- In coordination with our new Prison Ministry, we are providing Christmas presents to the children of some of the prisoners.  We have 18 “Angels” under our wings and there are various ways you can help.  Please contact the Angel Tree Coordinator Amy Clay as soon as possible, at amyclay@amyclay.netor 617-909-9614.  The Nativity isn’t far away!

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT - Rehearsal for this year’s Christmas Pageant will take place following liturgy next Sunday, December 5th, with a dress rehearsal on Saturday, December 11th before Lessons and Carols. The Pageant is planned for Sunday, December 12th (with a rain/snow date of December 19th). Our thanks to Charlie Marge for his directing the pageant this year. All church school children and teens are invited to participate. Parent volunteers are also needed.

PARISH CHRISTMAS CARD- Save yourself time, let us do the work and have all proceeds  benefit the Convent of St. Theklaat Antiochian Village.   Let the Women’s Club send a lovely Christmas Card on your behalf to our parishioners.  You will receive this card with the names of parishioners, like yourself, who are wishing  a Blessed Nativity and a Merry Christmas to all.  Please use the form in the Sunday Bulletin.  DeadlineSunday, December 5, 2010.

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, December 5, at 3:00 p.m.  We will carpool to Symphony Hall after Liturgy and have lunch together before the concert.    Contact Melissa Nassiff at mnassiff@gmail.comfor discounted tickets – possibly separate from the rest of the St. Mary group - or order your own tickets online at Either way, plan to join us for lunch first!

LESSONS AND CAROLS AND POTLUCK– The Fellowship of St. John the Divine cordially invites you to a service of prayers, scripture readings and Christmas Carols.  Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols will be celebrated on  SaturdayDecember 11, 2010  (snow date: Sunday, December 12)  at 5:00 pm. 

A festive Lenten Pot Luck Supper will follow the service.  People whose last name begins with A–P:  please bring a main dish or salad;  people whose last name begins with Q–Z:  please bring dessert.  Drinks will be provided.   For more information, contact Tiffany Conroy at

VALUABLES  - Please do not leave valuables unattended in the Church Hall or Cloak Room.

RETREATS AT ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE– Several retreats and conferences at the Village are coming up in the next couple of months:  St. Herman Middle School Retreat December 10-12, 2010;   OCF College Conference December 28-31;   Marriage Preparation Weekend January 14-17, 2011;  and Marriage Enrichment Retreat February 18-20.  For more information see

ROCKETTES– The Antiochian Women of the Diocese invite you to a performance of the Rockettes on Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 11:00 AM. The tickets are $48.25  each; these are balcony but you get a full view of the stage and can see all of the formations that the dancers perform.  Parking under the Boston Common is $11.00, a short walk away and plentiful. It’s a two hour show so Lunch after may be a possibility.   If  ANYONE (not just Women’s Club members) is interested, contact MaryEllen Mabardy at 781-729-3033.

YOUTH EQUIPPED TO SERVE–  Middle school and high school students are invited on a service trip to Providence RI from Friday, December 17,  at 5:00 pm through Sunday, December 19th, at 3:00 pm.  Nadia is hoping a group of teens from St. Mary's will join her in a weekend of service, fellowship, and prayer.  To register visit yesnorthamerica.orgor for more information email Nadia at

CANNED FOOD DRIVE– The annual FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE Canned Food Drive will be held  through 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.

CROSSROAD- Attention High School Juniors & Seniors:  CrossRoad is an exciting summer vocation exploration program designed to help students discern their life callings and match their God-given gifts with the needs of the world.  CrossRoad session dates for summer 2011 are June 18-28 (first session) and July 5-15 (second session). For more information and to download an application:

PRISON MINISTRY– If you would like to find out more about Prison Ministry at St. Mary Orthodox Church, please subscribe to the mailing list at

PROJECT MEXICO – Project Mexico is an ongoing Orthodox Christian mission project. Groups of Orthodox Christians, led by experienced builder/leaders, build houses for poor Mexican families near St. Innocent Orthodox Orphanage in Rosarito, Mexico.  Families (with children at least 10 yrs. old), teens over 14, and adults are welcome to join a Home Building Team.    Anyone interested in forming a St. Mary's Project Mexico Home Building Team for August 2011 please contact Fr. Anthony, or Kera Dalton (a 2009 Project Mexico attendee and new member of St. Mary's) at  or (781)789-8458. 

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.

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. 

If you are interested in helping, please contact Erick Straghalis ( 

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 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 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 - 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.

Canned Goods-The annual Food For Hungry People canned food drive  is  held  October through  December each year.  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.

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


LITURGICAL SERVICE –  To be determined

COFFEE HOUR – The Medwar Family


Saturday, November 27:  NO Vespers at St. Mary (Thanksgiving Weekend)

Sunday, November 28:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  No Church School

Epistle:  St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 6:10-17
Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Gospel:  Luke 18:18-27
At that time, a ruler came to Jesus and asked him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him,   "…  Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." ...  "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

Wednesday, December 1:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm


Saturday, December 4:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm         

Sunday, December 5, the Feast of St. Nicholas:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am, with Church School Lesson and St. Nicholas Festivities in the Sanctuary, followed by Pageant rehearsal

Wednesday, December 8:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm

Saturday, December 11:  Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols 5:00 pm, followed by Potluck Supper

Sunday, December 12:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am,  followed by Church School Christmas Pageant

Wednesday, December 15:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm

Wednesday, December 22:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm

Friday, December 24:  Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 am;  Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  11:00 am
Orthros 6:30 pm; Divine Liturgy for the Nativity 8:00 pm

Saturday, December 25, Feast of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas):  No Services


Labor to acquire thanksgiving toward God for everything, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and then you will find peace.
   - St. Barsanuphius

Bring before your eyes the blessings, whether physical or spiritual, conferred on you from the beginning of your life down to the present, and call them repeatedly to mind in accordance with the words: 'Forget not all His benefits' (Psalm 102:2). Then your heart will readily be moved to the fear and love of God, so that you repay Him, as far as you can, by your strict life, virtuous conduct, devout conscience, wise speech, true faith and humility - in short, by dedicating your whole self to God. When you are moved by the recollection of all these blessings which you have received through God's loving goodness, your heart will be spontaneously wounded with longing and love through this recollection or, rather, with the help of divine grace.
   - St. Mark the Ascetic

When evening comes, collect your thoughts and ponder over the entire course of the day: observe God's providential care for you; consider the grace He has wrought in you throughout the whole span of the day; consider the rising of the moon, the joy of daylight, all the hours and moments, the divisions of time, the sight of different colors, the beautiful adornment of creation, the course of the sun, the growth of your own stature, how your own person has been protected, consider the blowing of the winds, the ripe and varied fruits, how the elements minister to your comfort, how you have been preserved from accidents, and all the other activities of grace. When you have pondered on all this, wonder of God's love toward you will well up within you, and gratitude for his acts of grace will bubble up inside you.
   - John the Solitary, The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life

...gratitude is a form of intercession. Only it must not be like the gratitude of the Pharisee, who condemned others and justified himself (cf. Luke 18:11). On the contrary, it must make one regard oneself as a greater debtor than all other men; one gives thanks in astonished bewilderment because one understands God's unutterable restraint and forbearance.
   - St. Peter of Damascus