St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Friday, December 24, through Thursday, December 30, 2010



NATIVITY SERVICES – This Friday, December 24, is the Eve of the Nativity. In the morning,  Royal Hours for the Nativity are at 9:00 am,  and Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  at 11:00 am.  In the evening,
Orthros is at 6:30 pm, followed by  Divine Liturgy for the Nativity at 8:00 pm.

The Feast of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas) is  Saturday, December 25. There are no services at St. Mary.  

CANNED FOOD DRIVE– The annual FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE Canned Food Drive officially ends this Sunday,  December 26, 2010.  Don’t forget to bring  in your canned goods to the Church this Sunday and place them in the large, blue plastic containers outside the Church Office – they will be distributed to local food pantries in our area.


BLESSING OF HOMES – Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Epiphany (January 6)  and between Pascha (April 24) and Pentecost (June 12).  We bless homes to reveal the home as what God created it to be, a way to heaven; to rid the home of every evil;  to show that the family is a small church unit in Christ; to consecrate the home and all activity in it to God; and to fill the home and all who live in it with the fullness of God.  To schedule the blessing of your home, please use the form in the weekly Bulletin or call the church office at 617 547-1234.

PLEDGE ENVELOPES- Pledge envelopes are available for pickup on the table downstairs outside the hall.  Look for your name in alphabetical order.  Remember:  if you have chosen to pay periodically or through eGive, you have not been assigned a weekly envelope. 

MID-WINTER MEETINGS – The annual mid-winter meetings of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine,  Antiochian Women, and Teen SOYO of the Archdiocese will be held at Antiochian Village Friday through Sunday, February 4 - 6, 2011.

PRE-LENTEN RETREAT– The Antiochian Women of the Diocese invite you to a Pre-Lenten Retreat on Saturday, February 12, 2011, at St. George Church in Norwood. Featured speaker will be Presvytera Maria Mossaides, Executive Director of Cambridge Family and Children’s Service and one of Massachusetts Law Weekly’s “Top Women of Law.” Her topic will be “The Reluctant Presvytera: My Life’s Journey in the Church.” To register, call Erin Kimmett at 781-775-0789. All are welcome. 

FREE BOOKS AND ICONS- If anyone is interested there are books and icons available on the table outside the hall downstairs.  Please feel free to take them. 

COOKBOOK- Saint Peter the Apostle Antiochian Orthodox Church Women’s group in Pomona, CA has put together a cookbook, with 298 recipes, to raise funds for their new kitchen.  A downloadable version is available for $2.50 at EBooks.  See the poster on the Bulletin Board.


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

PLEDGE YOUR  SUPPORT FOR ST. MARY- Pledge Cards have been mailed out.  You may make your pledge for 2011 either by returning the Pledge Card to the church or by filling out the Pledge Form on our web site ( as soon as possible, but no later than December 31, 2010

PARISH MEETING – The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held Sunday, January 30, after Liturgy.  The meeting is expected to be brief, and all members are urged to attend.  Snow date is Sunday, February 13.

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, 2010;   
Marriage Preparation WeekendJanuary 14-17, 2011;  and
Marriage Enrichment RetreatFebruary 18-20.
Winter Camp @ Antiochian Village,  Theme: “We Need a Hero,”  February 18-21
 For more information see

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.


Friday morning-  Epistle: Tiffany Conroy;  Cloth and bread:  Teva Regule, Michelle Chin, and others
Friday evening- Epistle: Charlie Marge;  Left Cloth: Trish and Elias Orlovsky;  Right Cloth: Maggie Arnold and TBD;  Left Bread: Barbara Shoop; Right Bread: TBD
Sunday morning- Epistle: Bob Kowalik;  Left Cloth: Barbara Shoop and TBD;  Right Cloth: Gabriel and Natasha Madigan; Left Bread: TBD;  Right Bread: Linda Arnold

COFFEE HOUR – Mary Woldemichael and the Mahari Family


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

SCRIPTURE READINGS for December 25, The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ:
Epistle:  St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 4:4-7
When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Gospel:  Matthew 2:1-12
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him." … When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Sunday, December 26, the Sunday after the Nativity of Christ:  Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  no Church School


Saturday, January 1:  No Vespers

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

Wednesday, January 5:  Evening Liturgy for the Feast of the Theophany 6:30 pm

Saturday, January 8:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, January 9: Orthros 8:45 am,  Divine Liturgy 10:00  am;  2nd Blessing of the Waters (Church School students remain upstairs)

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


Today God came unto sinners; let not the righteous exalt himself over sinners!
Today the Most Rich One became poor for our sake; let the rich man invite the poor to his table!
Today we received a gift which we did not ask for; let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us and beg!
The present day has opened the door of heaven to our prayers; let us also open our door to those who ask of us forgiveness!
Today the Godhead placed upon Himself the seal of humanity, and humanity has been adorned with the seal of the Godhead!
   - St. Ephraim the Syrian

I too will proclaim the greatness of this day: the immaterial becomes incarnate, the Word is made flesh, the invisible makes itself seen, the intangible can be touched, the timeless has a beginning, the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, always the same, yesterday, today and for ever.
   - Gregory Nazianzen

This is the reason why the Word of God was made flesh, and the Son of God became Son of Man: so that we might enter into communion with the Word of God, and by receiving adoption might become Sons of God.
   - Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies

His love for me brought low his greatness.
He made himself like me so that I might receive him.
He made himself like me so that I might be clothed in him.
I had no fear when I saw him, for he is mercy for me.
He took my nature so that I might understand him, 
my face so that I should not turn away from him. 
   - Odes of Solomon (2nd century, author unknown)