St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, March 7, 2008 through Thursday, March 13, 2008



FATHER ANTONY IS AWAY  -  Fr. Antony will be away through this Saturday, March 8,  leading a team of college students on a trip to an orphanage in El Salvador , sponsored by Orthodox Christian Fellowship's Real Break Program.  In case of emergency while Fr. Antony is away, please contact Fr. Timothy Ferguson of St. George Church, West Roxbury at 617-323-0323.

There will be no regular Vespers service this week, but Fr. Antony will celebrate Sunday services as usual.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME - DST begins this Sunday, March 9, 2008. Remember to set your clocks ahead; don't be an hour late for church!

FORGIVENESS VESPERS - The last thing we do before beginning the Lenten fast is forgive each other, and ask everyone to forgive us.  Join us this Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. for Forgiveness Vespers.


LENTEN POTLUCKS - Great Lent begins Monday, March 10.  Every Wednesday during Lent there will be a Presanctified Liturgy at 6:30 p.m., followed by a Potluck Supper sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John.  Do plan to come 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.  Please stay for supper even if you can't bring food--there's room at the table for everyone. 

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE - "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered."  (Proverbs 21:13)  Food for Hungry People Boxes are on the Bengarri for pick-up.  Each Church School child was given one to take home last week, too.  Put one on your kitchen table and where you place your loose change!  Use the 2008 FFHP 34th Anniversary Lenten Calendar (included in this week's Sunday Bulletin) to help you with ways to fill your boxes!  Return the filled boxes to the Bengarri on Palm Sunday, April  20.  

PARISH COUNCIL - Next meeting will be Thursday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m.

HELP  BAKE SPINACH PIES -The Women's Club will be baking Spinach Triangles for the Lenten food sale next Saturday, March 15.   If you would like to help and/or learn to make Spinach Triangles (Fatayer), join us at 9:00 in the Church Hall. Men are welcome too!  If you placed an order, order pick-up will be Sunday, March 16.

OCMC MISSION TEAMS - FSJD and the Orthodox Christian Mission Center are sponsoring an Alaska Mission Trip and pilgrimage, July 30 through August 11. The trip to Alaska will include two camps that are run for the youth of Ouzinkie and Old Harbor . The camps will include Church services, Christian Ed, afternoon and evening programs, etc. After the camps, participants will help prepare for and participate in St. Herman's Pilgrimage to Spruce Island .  For more information see  and; for application forms see

MISSION SUPPORT - St. Mary's encourages its members to take an active role in mission projects sponsored by the Archdiocese.  If you will be doing so, and require financial assistance from the parish, please note the Policy Statement regarding eligibility and the procedure for requesting assistance, which can be obtained from Marilyn in the parish office (617-547-1234).  Note especially that requests should be made 60 days in advance of the trip.


ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN'S MONTH - March is Antiochian Women's Month throughout the Archdiocese. Women of the parish will be reading the Epistle, holding the Communion cloths and bread baskets, and taking the collection.  Some dates are still available; please contact Marilyn Robbat 617-547-1234 or e-mail

TEEN SOYO RETREAT - Attention teens in grades 7-12: The Diocese of Worcester and New England will sponsor  a Lenten Retreat from 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 21, through noon on Sunday, March 23, at the St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center, Contoocock , NH . Guest speaker is Alex Younes of Toronto , Ontario .  For information and registration form go to  and click in the highlighted note.  Registration deadline is March 10.

HOUSEHOLD GOODS AVAILABLE - One of our parishioners will be moving soon, and wishes to give away some gently used furniture, kitchen ware and clothes. If you or anyone you know might be in need of such items, please contact Michelle Milic at

LEARNING IN LENT - The Fellowship of St. John the Divine's Learning in Lent lecture series will offer presentations by members of the St Mary's community on topics that will help us all to better understand the practices and theology of the Orthodox Church and to apply these experiences and teachings to our lives. After Akathist services on three Fridays in Lent, beginning March 21 (new date),  there will be a presentation followed by a discussion/Q&A session with light refreshments provided by the FSJD. 

SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY - A Pan-Orthodox Vesper Service will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday,  March 16,  hosted by St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, 41 Alewife Brook Parkway (Route 16), in Cambridge .   Choir Rehearsals are scheduled at St. Sava Church  from 3 to 5 p.m. on  Sundays,  February 24,  March 2 and March 9.  Any questions, contact Stella Pathiakis, Chairman, Pan Orthodox Choir Committee, at 339-222-2629 (cell) or  Email:

FSJD BOOK DISCUSSION - New Time  and Place - The diocesan Fellowship of St. John the Divine will hold a book discussion on Friday, April 4,  at St. George Church in West Roxbury,  at 8:15 p.m. after Akathist service (7:00). Our featured book, Wounded by Love is the life story of Greek monk priest Elder Porphyrios. Books can be obtained through the Holy Cross Seminary bookstore,,, or Refreshments will be served, and adults of all ages are encouraged to attend - regardless if you've finished reading the book.  A $5 donation is suggested.

HELP NATASHA - If you would like to become one of "Natasha's Helpers" in the Lotsa Helping Hands Program and assist the Smith family with meals, transportation, etc.,  you can go to the website at  Or you can contact Marilyn Robbat and give her your name and e-mail address to sign you up for the program.  If you prefer, you can also help by making meals and placing them in the Church freezer--plainly marked as to what they are and how to heat.  No eggs or tomato sauce, please.

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. Due to popular demand, this year there will be two sessions:    CrossRoad June:  June 21 - July 1, 2008; and CrossRoad July:  July 5 - 15, 2008. Call 617-850-1309 for more information, or go to Expenses except travel to Boston are covered.

BLESSING OF HOMES - Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Epiphany and after Holy Pascha.  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.

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 - 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          


"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matt. 6:12). What can be more mild, what more merciful, than this precept! He has made you a judge of the pardon of your own offenses! If you forgive few things, He forgives you few! If you forgive many things, He forgives you many! If you pardon from the heart, and sincerely, God in like manner also pardons you...

   - St. John Chrysostom

When our hearts are reluctant we often have to compel ourselves to pray for our enemies, to pour out prayer for those who are against us. Would that our hearts were filled with love! How frequently we offer a prayer for our enemies, but do it because we are commanded to, not out of love for them. We ask the gift of life for them even while we are afraid that our prayer may be heard. The judge of our soul considers our hearts rather than our words. Those who do not pray for their enemies out of love are not asking anything for their benefit.

Jesus, our advocate, has composed a prayer for our case. And our advocate is also our judge. He has inserted a condition in the prayer that reads, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Sometimes we say these words without carrying them out. Thus our words bind us more tightly.

   - St. Gregory the Great, "Be Friends of God"

Do you not see, brethren, that we toil for nothing when we pray, if we have enmity against someone? And again the Lord says, "If you offer your gift at the altar, and there you remember that someone has something against you, leave your gift before the altar, and go first and be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." Therefore, it is clear that if you do not do this first, all that you offer will be unacceptable, but if you do the Master's bidding, then implore the Lord with boldness, saying, "Forgive me my debts, Master, as I have forgiven my brother, so fulfilling your commandment. I, weak though I am, have forgiven." For the Lover of mankind will answer, "If you have forgiven, I too will forgive. If you have pardoned, I too will pardon your sins. For I have authority on earth to forgive sins. Forgive and you will be forgiven."

   - St Ephrem the Syrian

When you have peace and love for all, then your prayer is acceptable, and your offering well-pleasing, and your house blessed and you blessed. But if you are not reconciled with your brother, how can you seek pardon from me? You trample on my words, and do you demand pardon? I, your Master, demand, and you pay no attention, and do you, a slave, dare to offer me prayer, or sacrifice, or first fruits, while you have enmity against someone? Just as you turn your face from your brother, so I too turn my eyes from your gift and your prayer.

   - St. Ephrem the Syrian

Imagine the vanity of thinking that your enemy can do you more damage than your enmity.

   - St. Augustine


Sunday, March 9:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.

      Forgiveness Vespers 6:00 p.m.

SCRIPTURE READINGS for March 9, Cheesefare Sunday, Forgiveness Sunday:

Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Hebrews 12:1-10  BRETHREN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, ...  Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Gospel: Matthew 6:14-21  The Lord said, "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Monday, March 10: Lenten fast begins; Great Canon of  St. Andrew 7:00 p.m.;
      Lenten Compline at St. George, Norwood 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 11:  Great Canon of  St. Andrew 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 12:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 p.m., followed by Potluck Supper
Thursday, March 13:  Great Canon of  St. Andrew 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 14:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 p.m.


Saturday, March 15:  Vespers 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 16, Sunday of Orthodoxy:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m. and Procession with Icons
Wednesday, March 19 and every Wednesday in Lent:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 p.m., followed by Potluck Supper
Friday, March 21:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 p.m. , followed by first Learning in Lent speaker, Fr. Antony Hughes
Monday, March 24: Evening Liturgy for the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos 6:30 p.m.
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.

March 8:  Paul Joseph and John Rodriguez


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. (During the month of March, contact Marilyn Robbat in the church office.)

March 9:    Women of the parish


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.

March 9:  Dino Takles, Bob Kowalik, Juliet Burch and David Vermette