St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, March 28, 2008 through Thursday, April 3, 2008


LEARNING IN LENT - The Fellowship of St. John the Divine's Learning in Lent lecture series offers 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,  there will be a presentation followed by a discussion/Q&A session with light refreshments provided by the FSJD. 

This Friday, March 28, the speaker is Marian Simion,  who works as Assistant Director of the Boston Theological Institute, teaches peace studies at Boston College and Hellenic College , and also serves as a Field Education Supervisor at Harvard Divinity School . His topic will be  "What does the Orthodox Church say about War?"

TEEN SOYO RETREAT - For 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 . 

FOOTLAMPS - The next lecture in the 2007-2008 Footlamps series, sponsored by the Diocesan Fellowship of St. John the Divine, will be this Saturday, March 29, at St. George Church in Norwood ( /Directions.html ).   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.  There will be no Vespers at St. Mary's this Saturday.

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

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


BAKE SALE -  The St. Mary Women's Club will be holding its annual Pascha Bake Sale on Sunday, April 13 (the Sunday before Palm Sunday) during coffee hour.  Plan on purchasing all your Pascha/Easter desserts, pastries and goodies!  If you can help bake or bring something for us to sell, please call MaryEllen Mabardy at 781-729-6303

LITURGICAL SERVICE - Each Sunday, members of the congregation are needed to read the Epistle and assist during Communion by holding the Communion Cloths and Holy Bread Baskets. During the month of March (Antiochian Women's Month) this has been done by women of the parish; now it is time for other parishioners to volunteer.   If you would like to read the Epistle or assist during the Communion, contact Jeff Wasilko, 781-820-0882, email: and/or use the sign-up sheet on the Bengarri. 

CONFESSIONS - Fr. Antony is available for Confession before and after services throughout Lent, and by appointment.  It is preferred that you make your confession before Holy Week.

LAZARUS SATURDAY - Please come and bring your friends and family to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Lazarus Saturday, April 19 (Matins 8:00 a.m., Liturgy 9:00 a.m.) and enjoy a Communion Breakfast at 10:15 a.m. offered by Selma Winstanley in memory of brother, Mitchell Mabardi. Then, starting at 11:00 a.m.,  there will be Rehearsal for the choir, and a  Church Clean-Up in preparation for Pascha for everyone else, coordinated by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.  Please bring rags, cleaning supplies, small buckets, brown paper bags and irons for wax removal, etc. Come and lend a hand in preparing God's House for the Feast of Feasts.  Remember,  "Many hands make light work!"

ST. MARY'S 80th ANNIVERSARY - We will be celebrating our 80th anniversary the weekend of October 24 - 26, 2008.  If you are interested in working on the planning committee for this exciting event, please call Mary Winstanley O'Connor  at work:   617-523-1010  or  at home:  781-641-2967.


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.

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 is  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.

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          


O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance, and to Thy faithful people grant victory o'er their adversaries; and by the power of Thy cross, protect all those who follow Thee.

    - Troparion of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross

You should venerate not only the icon of Christ, but also the similitude of His cross. For the cross is Christ's great sign and trophy of victory over the devil and all his hostile hosts; for this reason they tremble and flee when they see the figuration of the cross. This figure, even prior to the crucifixion, was greatly glorified by the prophets and wrought great wonders; and when He who was hung upon it, our Lord Jesus Christ, comes again to judge the living and the dead, this His great and terrible sign will precede Him, full of power and glory (cf. Mt 24.30). So glorify the cross now, so that you may boldly look upon it then and be glorified with it.

   - St. Gregory Palamas, On Holy Icons

The first duty of a Christian, of a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ, is to deny oneself. To deny oneself  means to give up one's bad habits, to root out of the heart all that ties us to the world; not to cherish bad desires and thoughts; to quench and suppress bad thoughts; to avoid occasions of sin; not to do or desire anything from self-love but to do everything out of love for God. To deny oneself  means, according to the Apostle Paul, to be dead to sin and the world, but alive to God.

   - St. Innocent of Alaska , Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven

O Lord, Thou hast stretched out Thine hands of Thine own will upon the Cross: fill us with Thy light through fasting and through prayer, through abstinence and works of charity; and count us worthy to adore Thy Cross with contrite hearts, for Thou art good and Thou lovest mankind.

   - Stichera of Vespers, Sunday Evening of Third Sunday of Great Lent.


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

SCRIPTURE READINGS for March 30, Adoration of the Holy Cross:

Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-6
BRETHREN, since we have a high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Gospel: Mark 8:34-38; 9:1
The Lord said: "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

Monday, March 31:  Lenten Compline at St. Mary Church, Cambridge
Wednesday, April 2:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 p.m., followed by Potluck Supper
Friday, April 4:  Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 p.m., followed by third (and final) Learning in Lent speaker, David Vermette


Saturday, April 5:  Great Vespers 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 6:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, April 9 and every Wednesday in Lent:  Presanctified Liturgy 6:30 p.m., followed by Potluck Supper
Friday, April 11:  Final Akathist (Madayeh) Service 7:00 p.m.
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)
Saturday-Sunday, April 26-27:  Great and Holy 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 29:  Christian Alcala 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.

March 30:    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 30:  Susan Dooley and family