St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, December 10, through Thursday, December 16, 2010


PAGEANT DRESS REHEARSAL –  Dress Rehearsal for the Church School’s Christmas pageant will be this Saturday at 2:30 pm, before Lessons and Carols.

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 this  Saturday,  December 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

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT- The Church School Christmas Pageant will take place this Sunday, December 12, after Divine Liturgy (rain/snow date: December 19). 

Following the Pageant a luncheon of pizza, salad and dessert will be served in the church hall.  All are welcome.  Registered Church School children are free.  Adults $5.00.

PRISON MINISTRY TO  CHILDREN- In coordination with our new Prison Ministry, we are providing Christmas presents to the children of some of the prisoners.  Thank you so much for those that volunteered for this Ministry.  We had a wonderful response to the call for helpers.  Thanks to Michelle Chin for organizing our pre-school in making the lovely ornaments with each Angel’s name that are decorating our Christmas tree in the church.  They will remain on the tree throughout the Nativity as a reminder of the Angel and his/her family.  The deadline for gift drop-off is this Sunday, December 12.  Please contact Amy Clay for further information at amyclay@amyclay.netor 617-909-9614.

ANOTHER MESSIAH– Our own  Brooke Wilcox will be one of the soloists in a performance of Messiah thisSunday, December 12, at Carter Memorial United Methodist Church, 800 Highland Ave.  in Needham, at 3:00 pm. They will be accompanied by a 14-piece orchestra and an inter-faith chorus. Admission is free, and a reception will follow.

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’s were due by December 3.  Come enjoy a day of camp, right in your own back yard.


PARISH COUNCIL– The next meeting of the Parish Council will be next Wednesday, December 15, at 7:30.

CHRISTMAS CARD PROJECT– The Women’s Club thanks all those who contributed to this year’s Christmas Card.  All the proceeds benefit the Antiochian Women Project for 2010-2011:  The Convent of St. Thekla.     

NO FASTING AFTER NATIVITY - From Christmas Day until January 4th, inclusive, there is a general dispensation from all fasting.


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.  Each Wednesday during this period there is a Paraklesis service at 6:30 pm.

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

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.

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

CANNED FOOD DRIVE– The annual FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE Canned Food Drive is being 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

ON-LINE STEWARDSHIP SIGN-UP - Please e-mail Jamil Samara ( or Charlie Marge ( if you have any questions about giving to the Church through eGive.

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 ( 

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

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 – Epistle: Charlie Marge;  Bread and Communion Cloths: Bob Kowalik, Trish Orlovsky, and others

COFFEE HOUR – Church School Pageant luncheon


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

Epistle:  St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 5:8-19
Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. … Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Gospel:  Luke 14:16-24; Matthew 22:14
The Lord said this parable: "A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time of the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for all is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. … So the servant came and reported this to his master. … And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet. For many are called, but few are chosen.'"

Wednesday, December 15:  Paraclesis service 6:30 pm


Saturday, December 18:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 19:   Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  Church School Lesson 10

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

Sunday, December 26:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  no Church School

Sunday, January 2:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  no Church School

February 4-6: Midwinter Meetings of FSJD, Antiochian Women, and Teen SOYO at Antiochian Village

Saturday, February 12:  Pre-Lenten Retreat sponsored by Antiochian Women, at St. George, Norwood


Let no one deceive you! God is light, and to those who have entered into union with Him He imparts of His own brightness to the extent that they have been purified. When the lamp of the soul, that is, the mind, has been kindled, then it knows that a divine fire has taken hold of it and inflamed it. How great a marvel! Man is united to God spiritually and physically, since the soul is not separated from the mind, neither the body from the soul.
   - St. Symeon the New Theologian

...we carry as in earthen vessels - that is to say, in our bodies - the Father's Light in the Person of Jesus Christ, and so can experience the glory of the Holy Spirit.
   - St. Gregory Palamas

The person who listens to Christ fills himself with light; and if he imitates Christ, he reclaims himself.
   - St. Thalassios

But on as many as depart from God by their own choice, He inflicts that separation from Himself which they have chosen of their own accord. But separation from God is death, separation from light is darkness… It is not, however, that the light has inflicted upon them the penalty of darkness.
   - Saint Irenaeus

… all creation is suffused with a dynamism that energizes it and impels it to move toward God’s intended purposes. The image of God in humankind partakes of this dynamism as  well: while human beings bear the image of God through God’s creative act, they are to acquire likeness to God through communion with and living unto him. … the former is gift; the latter is calling.
   - James R. Payton Jr., Light from the Christian East