St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, March 21, 2008 through Thursday, March 27, 2008



RECOMMENDED READING - Fr. Antony highly recommends a new book, The Philokalia: The Eastern Christian Spiritual Texts - Selections Annotated & Explained, with annotation by Allyne Smith and foreword by Bishop Kallistos Ware (see  We have ordered a number of copies from for St. Mary parishioners at just $11.55 each. If you would like to reserve one of these copies, either speak to Fr. Antony or to Melissa Nassiff, or reply to this email.

CHOIR REHEARSALS - The choir will rehearse this Sunday, after Liturgy and coffee hour, as well as March 30 after Liturgy,  April 19 (Lazarus Sat.) after Communion Breakfast,  and April 6 after Liturgy.

FOOTLAMPS - The next lecture in the 2007-2008 Footlamps series, sponsored by the Diocesan Fellowship of St. John the Divine, will be Saturday, March 29, at St. George Church in Norwood.   The topic will be Raising a Balanced Family in an Unbalanced World, with Dr. Philip Mamalakis.   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.

LENTEN COMPLINE -  On Mondays during Lent (with the exception of this Monday, the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation) the churches of the Diocese take turns hosting a service of Lenten Compline.  On  Monday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m. this service will be held here at St. Mary Church, Cambridge .


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  this Friday, March 21,  there will be a presentation followed by a discussion/Q&A session with light refreshments provided by the FSJD.  This week's speaker is Fr. Antony.

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. this Friday, March 21, through noon on Sunday, March 23, at the St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center, Contoocook , NH . Guest speaker is Alex Younes of Toronto , Ontario .  For information and registration form go to  and click in the highlighted note. 

LENTEN POTLUCKS - 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. 

There will be yoga classes in the Hall until 7:30, so please bring your food or beverage into the kitchen area via the side stairs (through the doors to the right and left of the altar area) to avoid interrupting the class. And we'll need your help setting up tables and chairs just before the Supper.

FSJD BOOK DISCUSSION - The diocesan Fellowship of St. John the Divine will sponsor 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.

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

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.

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.


Syrian-Lebanese Women's Club - Scholarships available to young women of Arab-American origin, living in Massachusetts with a 50-miles radius of Boston , who plan to pursue a 4-year college education.  Award ($1,000) is based on financial need, outstanding academic achievement and good character, and personal attributes which best serve the community.  For applications, call Reem Elias Ozone at 781-702-5890, or e-mail  or Mrs. Laurice Kurker at 781-643-7001. Application must be postmarked by March 31, 2008

Nicholas G. Beram Veterans Association Scholarships - Scholarships are available to youth of Arab-American heritage who are current high school seniors planning on attending a college full time.  Applications are due June 1, 2008.  For applications and more information, go to web address

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          


But we also know that the fulfillment of the commandments of God gives true knowledge, since it is through this that the soul gains health. How could a rational soul be healthy, if it is sick in its cognitive faculty?

   - St. Gregory Palamas, The Triads

As to those who live in the world, they must force themselves to use the things of this world in conformity with the commandments of God. ... Such forcing, by dint of habituation, makes easy our acceptance of God's commandments, and transforms our changeable disposition into a fixed state. ... Thus one must offer to God the passionate part of the soul, alive and active, that it may be a living sacrifice. As the Apostle said of our bodies, "I exhort you, by the mercy of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God."

   - St. Gregory Palamas, The Triads

A human being who does not endure courageously the unpleasant burdens of temptations, will never produce fruit worthy of the divine wine-press and eternal harvest, not even if one possess all other virtues. For one is only perfected through zealously enduring both all the voluntary and involuntary afflictions. Some of these afflictions are inflicted upon us externally and others are borne internally. ... Furthermore, without enduring the involuntary afflictions which come upon us, nor those voluntary things, one will not acquire divine blessings. For love towards God is received especially through the sorrows which are a result of the trial of temptations.

   - St. Gregory Palamas, Treatise on the Spiritual Life

"Darkness will not be darkness with Thee and night shall be bright as day for me, for Thou hast taken possession of my mind" (cf. Ps. 139:12-13). It is as if David were saying that not only has God become the sole object of his soul's desire, but also that any spark of this desire in his body has returned to the soul that produced it, and through the soul has risen to God, hangs upon Him and cleaves to Him. For just as those who cleave to the perishable pleasures of the senses expend all the soul's desire in satisfying their fleshly proclivities and become so entirely materialistic that the Spirit of God cannot abide in them (cf. Gen. 6:3), so in the case of those who have elevated their intellect to God, and who through divine longing have attached their soul to Him, the flesh is also transformed, is exalted with the soul, communes together with the soul in the Divine, and itself likewise becomes the possession and dwelling-place of God, no longer harboring any enmity towards Him or any desires that are contrary to the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:17).

   - St. Gregory Palamas, Those Who Practice a Life of Stillness

O Star of Orthodoxy, support of the Church and its teacher, O comeliness of ascetics, and incontestable champion of those who speak in theology, Gregory the wonder-worker, the pride of Thessalonica and preacher of grace, implore thou constantly for the salvation of our souls.

   - Troparion of St. Gregory Palamas


Friday, March 21:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 p.m., followed by the first Learning in Lent speaker, Fr. Antony Hughes

Saturday, March 22:  Vespers 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 23:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.


Epistle:  St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 1:10-14; 2:1-3  Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

Gospel: Mark 2:1-12  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith...

Monday, March 24: Evening Liturgy for the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 26:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 p.m., followed by Potluck Supper

Friday, March 28:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 p.m., followed by second Learning in Lent speaker, Marian Simion


Monday, March 31:  Lenten Compline at St. Mary Church, Cambridge

Saturday, March 29:  NO Vespers at St. Mary's (Footlamps at St. George Norwood )

Sunday, March 30:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, April 2 and every Wednesday in Lent:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 p.m., followed by Potluck Supper

Friday, April 4:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 p.m. , followed by third Learning in Lent speaker, David Vermette

Saturday, April 19, Lazarus Saturday: Matins 8:00 a.m., Divine Liturgy 9:00 a.m., Communion Breakfast 10:15 a.m., Church Clean-Up and Choir Rehearsal 11:00 a.m. (note revised times)

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 22:  Steve Walker and Bill Coyle


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 23:    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 23:  Corinne Mudarri and Basema Chalhoub