St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, February 15 - Wednesday, February 21, 2018


SUNDAY 2/18, Cheesefare Sunday, Forgiveness Sunday – Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; no Church School lesson
   + After Liturgy there will be a Cheesefare Brunch (called "Maslentiza" in the Russian tradition) with some typical "farewell" dishes.
   + Forgiveness Vespers at 6:00pm, just before Lent begins.

MONDAY, 2/19 – Great Lent begins

TUESDAY, 2/20 – Little Compline with the Canon of St. Andrew at 7:00 pm (also Thursday, 2/22). 

WEDNESDAY, 2/21 - Pre-Sanctified Liturgy at 6:30 pm (every Wednesday through March 28), followed by Potluck Supper sponsored by the Hospitality Group.
   + Do come to the Potluck Supper and bring something to share.  Any Lenten fare is welcome:  main courses, sides, salads, desserts, as well as beverages and snacks.  This is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship during Lent, plus we get to sample each other's Lenten recipes.  We still need a lead for March 14 – to sign up or for more information, please contact Diana Yousef ( This week’s potluck lead is Shannon Sakellariou,  


MONDAY 2/19 - Diocesan Compline will be offered at 7:00pm on Monday at St. George, Norwood.

DIOCESAN COMPLINE - Diocesan Compline services will be offered every Monday evening during Lent at 7:00pm in a different church of the Diocese.  The schedule is: 2/19 Norwood, 2/26 Lowell, 3/5 West Roxbury, 3/12 Cotuit, 3/19 Dedham and 3/26 Worcester.

VESPERS and YOUNG ADULTS – On Saturday, March 3 there will be a Vespers service at 5:00pm, followed by Young Adult Potluck and Trivia Night.

METROPOLITAN JOSEPH TO VISIT - His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH will be at St. Mary’s Friday - Sunday, April 27-29 2018 for a Hierarchical visit for our 90th year celebration and to celebrate Liturgy. 

PLEDGE FORMS – The Stewardship Committee reminds you that a new pledge form is requested from every parishioner each year.  If you have not yet submitted your 2018 Pledge, please do so now by filling out our on-line ePledge form: Thank you for your continued financial support of St. Mary’s and your volunteering of time and talents.

LENTEN FOOD SALE – The St. Mary Women’s Club is once again having a Lenten Food Sale, featuring Spinach Triangles, Hoomos, and Mjadara. Please use the order form in the Sunday bulletin. Order deadline is Sunday, February 25; pickup will be Sunday, March 4.
   - Baking of spinach triangles will be Saturday, March 3.  Please come and help, starting at 9:30 am; lunch will be provided.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Wednesday, March 14, at 8:00pm

BLESSING OF HOMES – Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Epiphany and between Pascha (April 8) and Pentecost (Mary 27).  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.

SCHOLARSHIPS - Students graduating in 2018 from high school who are children of membersof St. Mary’s may apply for the Diocese of Worcester and New England Scholarship.  Deadline is March 31, 2018. Contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at for more information, including what it means to be a member.
   + Scholarships ($1,000) are available from the Syrian-Lebanese Women’s club of Greater Boston to young women of Syrian and Lebanese origin, residing in Massachusetts within 50-mile radius of Boston, who plan to pursue a four-year college education.  Scholarships are based on outstanding academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, charitable and civic involvement and good character; and applicants must be in good academic standing in her school and possess those personal attributes, which best serve the community.  Applications are available through the Church Office and must be postmarked by March 31, 2018.  If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at .

PASCHA - The date of Pascha this year is April 8, 2018.

BIBLE STUDY – During Lent, the Bible Study/Adult Education group will come together as a community for the PreSanctified liturgies (instead of our usual meetings) on Wednesdays, followed by the Pot-luck supper. Those experiences are truly rich and we invite everyone to join us. After Pascha the bi-weekly meetings of the Bible Study group will resume on Wednesday, April 11.

YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY - The Young Adult Ministry is an active, dynamic group that hosts monthly social, spiritual, and outreach events and programs. We have lots of great plans for 2018, and we hope you'll join us! To learn more or to get involved contact Jamil (617-501-4427) or Adam (315-719-2101), or go to

COFFEE HOUR MADE EASY! - To make sponsoring a Coffee Hour a little bit easier, St. Mary’s offers a delivery service through “Instacart”, for the basic foods necessary to host a Coffee hour.  Simply select a date, mail a check to the office and we will order the food and have it delivered to the church on that Sunday between 9:00 and 10:00 am.  You will need to be at the church to accept the order and you will be required to set up for the coffee hour and clean up both the kitchen and hall at the end of the coffee hour.  Two menus will be offered.  Menu one will include: bagels, mini muffins, fruit, hummus/Syrian bread, juice and coffee for $160.  Menu two will include: bagels, juice and coffee for $70. Prices do not include a 20% tip for delivery and are subject to change based on current market pricing of items.  Cream cheese, peanut butter, jam and coffee creamer are included with each menu.  As usual, St. Mary’s will provide the plates, cups, napkins, utensils, serving platters, and sweetener for coffee.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this service and signing up for a coffee hour please contact the office at 617-547-1234 or e-mail

JOIN US ONLINE - St. Mary’s Church services are broadcast live each week through an internet video stream. If you can't attend a service in person, or want to share this ministry with a friend or loved one, the live stream can be viewed at during regularly scheduled service times (see the schedule of services or online). If you have questions or comments about this ministry please contact us at

Lent is the liberation of our enslavement to sin, from the prison of "this world." And the Gospel lesson of this last Sunday (Matt. 6:14-21) sets the conditions for that liberation. The first one is fasting – the refusal to accept the desires and urges of our fallen nature as normal, the effort to free ourselves from the dictatorship of flesh and matter over spirit. … The second condition is forgiveness – "If you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you."  The triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the world, is division, opposition, separation, hatred. Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness: the return to unity, solidarity, love. To forgive is to put between me and my "enemy" the radiant forgiveness of God Himself.
   Lent actually begins at Vespers of that Sunday. … Nothing reveals better the "tonality" of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church; nowhere is better manifested its profound appeal to man [than Forgiveness Vespers]. … The hymns (stichera) which follow the psalm "Lord I have cried…" announce the coming of Lent and, beyond Lent, the approach of Pascha! … All preparation has now come to an end. I stand before God, before the glory and the beauty His Kingdom. I realize that I belong to it, that I have no other home , no other joy, no other goal; I also realize that I am exiled from it into the darkness and sadness of sin, "for I am afflicted." And finally, I realize that only God can help that affliction, that only He can "attend to my soul." Repentance is, above everything else, a desperate call for that divine help.
   -Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent