St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, February 15, 2008 through Thursday, February 21, 2008


NO FAST -  There is no fasting or abstinence from meats and dairy products this coming week, the week following the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.  Thus the Church protects us from an occasion to be proud of our fasting.

NO COFFEE HOUR - There will be no coffee hour this Sunday, as no one has volunteered.

CHINESE NEW YEAR PHOTOS - Photographs taken during the Chinese New Year Missions Breakfast on February 3 can now be viewed on the St. Mary website:

WOMEN'S CLUB - The next meeting of the Women's Club will be Monday, February 25, at 7:00  p.m. (half an hour earlier than usual).  Come help us sort and pack household items to be given to women who are ready to leave the Battered Women's shelter and set up housekeeping for themselves and their children.

EPISCOPAL CHURCHES BECOMING ORTHODOX - Fr. Antony recently announced that two churches in central Massachusetts had left the Charismatic Episcopal Church and were beginning the process of becoming Western Rite parishes in the Antiochian Orthodox church.  Some of us were curious to know more.  You can read a description of another congregation's similar journey (this one in Oklahoma )  here: , in an article originally published in AGAIN Magazine, Winter 2007.

FAITH AND LEARNING RETREAT - Attention all college students:  Come and explore your vocation at the St. Photios the Great 2008 Faith & Learning Retreat on  Saturday, March 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Reading Room of  Iakovos Library at Hellenic College/Holy Cross.  Speaker:  Bishop Savas of Troas, Chandellor , Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America . To register or request information, contact Dn. Nicholas Belcher 617-850-1309 or e-mail  


FOOTLAMPS - The next lecture in the 2007-2008 Footlamps series, sponsored by the Diocesan Fellowship of St. John the Divine, will be Saturday, February 23, at St. George Church in Lowell.   The topic will be A Year in the Company of Angels, with Dr. Timothy Patitsas.  Dr. Patitsas currently teaches Ethics at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline .   All are invited to attend. Vespers begin at 5:00 p.m. followed by the lecture and light refreshments.  Suggested donation $5.  RSVP to Ghada Khouri at 781-275-7244 or nerfellowship@yahoo.comThere will be no Vespers at St. Mary's on that date.

PRE-LENTEN RETREAT - A Pre-Lenten Retreat will be held on Saturday, March 1,  at St. George Orthodox Church, Norwood MA , sponsored by diocesan Antiochian Women. ALL ARE WELCOME - this is not for women only! The theme is "An Orthodox Perspective On Contemporary Bioethical Issues - church teaching and stem cell research, cloning, organ transplants and other current bioethical issues."  The leader will be Deacon Seraphim Solof, who received his Bachelor of Science degree from MIT and his Master of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir's seminary, and now serves as Deacon of Saint George Orthodox Cathedral in Worcester , MA .  The cost, including lunch, is just $15; registration deadline is Sunday, February 24..  Make checks payable to "Antiochian Women" and  return to Kh. Louise Ferguson, 10 Brahms St. , Boston , MA 02131 .  There will be no Vespers at St. Mary's on that date.

CROSSROAD  - Attention High School Juniors & Seniors:  Take the challenge of your life! CrossRoad is a ten-day Orthodox Christian summer program where you focus on Christ and His calling for your life. You'll experience mini classes taught by Orthodox professors, visit Orthodox Churches in Boston area, community outreach, field trips & spiritual reflection. There will be two sessions:    CrossRoad June:  June 21 - July 1, 2008; and CrossRoad July:  July 5 - 15, 2008

Application deadline is March 1.  Call 617-850-1309 for more information, or go to Expenses except travel to Boston are covered.

SUMMER CAMP - Information and registration forms for Summer Camp at the Antiochian Village can be found at  An early bird discount applies if you pay before March 1.

LENTEN FOOD SALE - The Women's Club is now taking orders for Spinach Triangles, Hoomos and Mjadara.  Please use the order form in the Sunday bulletin. Order deadline is Sunday, March 2.   If you would like to help cook, join us on Saturday, March 15  at 9:30 a.m. The food you order will be ready for pickup on Sunday, March 16.

MEATFARE SUNDAY BREAKFAST - The annual Meatfare Sunday Breakfast sponsored by  the Fellowship of St. John the Divine will be  Sunday, March 2. Your generous free-will donation will be much appreciated, and will help support the many activities of the Fellowship which benefit the parish, including this weekly e-mail newsletter; coffee hours and special meals  (such as College Students' Welcome Back, Meatfare Sunday, Palm Sunday, and more); the annual Father John vonHolzhausen lecture series; the Wednesday evening potluck suppers after Pre-Sanctified Liturgies during Lent; the annual Lessons and Carols evening; and much more.

GROWING SPIRITUALLY THROUGH LITURGY - For several weeks there has been a short presentation at each liturgy highlighting the ways that we can all learn about and grow closer to God and one another though our liturgical experience.  The series will culminate in the celebration of one of the more ancient liturgies of the Orthodox Church, the Liturgy attributed to St. James, at a future date to be announced (not on February 10, as originally announced). Copies of the five talks  given in this series so far can be found on the St. Mary website at

NEW ePLEDGE CARD!  - At the Annual Meeting of the parish, we asked every family to increase their pledge to reflect the realities of 34% inflation over the past 11 years.  Given that we approved a budget with planned expenditures greater than anticipated income, we need your pledge - and not just a bare minimum, but a percentage of your income (10% is the biblical ideal).  Our target is that the average household would contribute $2000-$3000 per year.  To update your pledge for 2008 (even if you already filled out a card), you can either get a new pledge card from Marilyn Robbat in the church office or you can take advantage of the new convenient electronic pledge card on the Stewardship page of our parish website:

BLESSING OF HOMES - Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Epiphany (January 6)  and after Holy Pascha (April 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 the monthly Cornerstone, or call the church office at 617 547-1234.

ORTHODOX STUDY BIBLE AVAILABLE - Conciliar Press has announced February 12 as the release date of the first ever Orthodox Study Bible. This long-awaited single volume,  the fruit of over twenty years of labor by many of the best Orthodox Christian theologians of our time, brings together an original translation of the Old Testament from the Septuagint with the classic Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms.  See  for more information.

COFFEE HOUR - Many of the upcoming Sundays are still available,  so please sign up to sponsor a coffee hour, individually or with friends.   It doesn't have to be fancy; it can be as simple as coffee, juice, and cookies.   Signup sheets are on the bulletin board downstairs outside the Hall, or you can call the church office.  When no one volunteers, there is no coffee.

FOOD DONATION NEED CONTINUES - Even though the Teens' World Food Day project has ended, please continue to bring cans, jars, and boxes of food and place them in the container outside the Church Office. The need is still great at St. Paul 's Food Pantry in Harvard Square , where volunteers from St. Mary help every Saturday. 

SOUP KITCHEN - Three or four St. Mary's volunteers are needed to help each week at the Open Doors Meal Ministry at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Allston, Mondays any time between 4:00 p.m. and 7:30. Contact Liz Tutella at 617-974-5005 or          


Even without any other passion, self-esteem can ruin a man; and in the same way, if we have formed the habit of judging, we can be utterly ruined by this alone; for indeed, the Pharisee was condemned for this very thing.

   - St. John Climacus

The key to spiritual progress is, therefore, evangelical love for one's enemies. This is first of all - something very simple, but very difficult - the refusal to judge, the refusal to assert oneself in despising or condemning others. Only such an attitude of mind brings detachment and peace. The rest is secondary.

   - Olivier Clément

Christ Himself accuses us of hypocrisy: "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. In vain do they worship Me" (Mt. 15:8-9). Precisely these words that the Lord was speaking to reprove the Pharisees I feel He is speaking to us, the hypocrites of today who have been enriched with so much grace and yet have remained in a worse state than the hypocrites of yesterday. ...  Have not we too, perhaps, thrown away the key of true knowledge and shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in the face of other people, so that we neither enter it ourselves nor allow others to enter (cf. Mt. 23:13)?

   - St. Maximus the Confessor

Even if we should have mounted to the very pinnacle of virtue, let us consider ourselves last of all; having learned that pride is able to cast down even from the heavens themselves him who takes not heed, and humbleness of mind to bear up on high from the very abyss of sins him who knows how to be sober. For this it was that placed the publican before the Pharisee.

   - St. John Chrysostom

All the holy Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Monastic Saints, and Righteous ones, old and new, would not have attained salvation without humility. All their deeds, their virtues, their labors, their sweat, their struggles, their prayers, their fasts, their almsgiving would not have benefited them, as they did not benefit that proud and boastful Pharisee.

   - Blessed Elder Archimandite Philotheos Zervakos


Saturday, February 16:  Great Vespers 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 17:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.  Lenten Triodion begins. No church school classes.

SCRIPTURE READINGS for February 17,  Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee:

Epistle:  St. Paul's Second Letter of to Timothy,  Chapter 3:10-15  Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed...

Gospel: Luke 18:9-14  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, "God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector."

Wednesday, February 20:  Paraclesis Service 6:30 p.m.


Saturday, February 23:  NO Vespers at St. Mary (Footlamps at St. George, Lowell )
Sunday, February 24:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, February 27:  Paraclesis Service 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 1:  NO Vespers at St. Mary (Pre-Lenten Retreat at St. George, Norwood )
Monday, March 10: Lent begins
Sunday, April 27:  Pascha



Two to four volunteers help each week in the food pantry at St. Paul 's RC Church in Harvard Square , Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:45.  If you are willing to help, contact Christian Alcala at or (617) 876-5684.

February 16:  Paul Joseph and Sandra Kondratiuk


The Epistle each Sunday is read by a member of the congregation, and six members of the congregation hold the cloth and Holy Bread baskets during Communion.  If you would like to help with these services,  please contact Jeff Wasilko at or 781-820-0882.

February 17:    


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 in the Office 617-547-1234 and she'll write your name in.

February 17
February 24: M & M Robbat
March 2:  FSJD Meatfare Breakfast