St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, August 22, 2008 through Thursday, August 28, 2008


Steering Committee Officers - Please meet in the Church Hall near the end of coffee hour on Sunday, September 14. All current committee officers and all people interested in active service on the FSJD steering committee are welcome to attend!  Questions? Contact Tiffany Conroy, FSJD Chair, at or 617-990-7162.

General Meeting - All officers and members and all people interested in helping the FSJD in any capacity are encouraged to come to an organizational meeting on Sunday, September 21. This meeting will also begin near the end of coffee hour in the Church Hall.

MISSING -  If you know the whereabouts of the two Bose speakers which were mounted near the ceiling on either side of the kitchen doors in the Church Hall,  please call the church Office  617-547-1234.

CHURCH SCHOOL - Registration for Church School will be held on Sunday, September 7, after Divine Liturgy. On September 14 - the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross - there will be a music lesson downstairs for all students. Church School classes will begin on September 21.

ADULT EDUCATION CLASS FOR INQUIRERS - The St. Ignatius of Antioch Catechetical Group adult inquirers' class at St. Mary Church is for non-Orthodox persons who are interested in exploring the Orthodox Faith.  This group is for those who would like to be considered for reception into the Church, or for those who would like simply to learn more about our faith.  We will explore the basic elements of Orthodox teaching and practice through reading, talks, discussion, and question & answer. The class begins September 21, 2008 and meets from 9:00 until 10:00 a.m. on Sundays in the Library (adjacent to Fr. Antony's office). For more information please see the brochure available at the bengarri or contact David Vermette, e-mail or phone: 617-776-5635.  Please spread the word to any inquirers you know of.


CARE PACKAGES FOR A MARINE IN IRAQ - Fr. Antony's "spiritual son" Scott is in the Marines and has been sent to Iraq , and the Fellowship is helping collect items for care packages for him. Scott will share what he receives with his fellow Marines, and has sent a list of things he would especially like to receive. The Fellowship has purchased some of those items, but would be happy to receive contributions of the following: 

Tuna, Beef jerky, Sunflower seeds, Sour skittles, Non perishable junk food, Paperback books (legal thrillers or murder mysteries),  Long white socks, and also, of course, prayers.

A box has been set up in the entry to the Church Offices for your donations, and we would also welcome monetary contributions to help with postage, shopping, etc.  - make checks payable to Fellowship of St. John the Divine or to St. Mary Church (earmarked FSJD), and give them to any member of the FSJD Steering Committee (Tiffany Conroy, Mike Decerbo, Melissa or Peter Nassiff, Socrates Deligeorges or Steve Walker), or mail them to the Church. Thank you for your caring concern and prayers for Scott and his fellow Marines!

THEOPHANY SCHOOL - Now enrolling for fall 2008, Theophany School offers 2-, 3- and 5-day programs for children ages 2.9 - 5, with  full-day Kindergarten and after-school programs. The school is conveniently located off Route 128 on Greendale Avenue in Needham . Call 781-444-3058 or visit


Dinner & Dance - The 80th anniversary of our parish will be celebrated on Saturday, October 25, 2008 with vespers at 5:30 p.m., cocktails and hors d'oeuvres from 6:30 to 7:30 with dinner and dancing (American and Arabic music). Ticket price is $50.00 and includes hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer, shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, roast tenderloin of beef, vegetables and dessert. Prepaid reservations only will be accepted. Only 200 tickets will be sold. For tickets and to reserve tables of eight call Mary Winstanley O'Connor (617) 523-1010, Marilyn Robbat (617) 547-1234 or Arlene Marge (781) 863-5015.

Sponsors Needed - The parish council is looking for ten  individuals to donate $500.00 each to sponsor the 80th anniversary celebration dinner. If you are interested in being a sponsor, please see or call Mary Winstanley O'Connor (617) 523-1010

Planning Meetings -  We will have planning meetings for the 80th Anniversary on Thursday, July 31; Thursday, August 21; Thursday, September 11; and Tuesday, October 14, 2008,  beginning at 7:30 p.m., at the home of Mary Winstanley O'Connor, 781 Concord Turnpike in Arlington.  If you plan to attend the meetings please let Mary know.  Also, all who want to be on the committee need to provide their telephone numbers and email addresses to Marilyn Robbat at 617-547-1234 or,  and/or Mary Winstanley O'Connor at 617-523-1010 (work) or

WOMEN'S CLUB SUMMER READING:  This summer Women's Club members (and anyone else who'd like to join us) are reading The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs, a New York Times bestseller. Read the book over the summer, and join us Monday, September 29, for an enjoyable evening of discussion,  refreshments and fellowship! Meeting at 7:00 pm, book discussion 7:30.

ONE MORE CHANDELIER  - New Chandeliers have been ordered for the Church, and we expect to have them installed by the end of the summer, in plenty of  time for our 80th Anniversary Celebration in October. There will be one large chandelier, which has been donated as a memorial, and six smaller chandeliers, all but one of which have been donated so far.  We are presently looking for someone to donate the one remaining chandelier, plus donations to cover the cost of the electrical work.   Donations can be made through the Bengarri or you can speak with Ray Sayeg or Mary Winstanley O'Connor. 

CELL PHONES FOR SERVICEMEN - The Lebanese-Syrian Ladies Aid Society is sending 150-minute international phone cards to our young people involved in the Iraq-Afghanistan War,  or stationed elsewhere.  If you know of any young people they can help, please provide names, parents' names, addresses and phone numbers.  Please contact Rose Dow 671-323-6883 or Emily Eknoian 617-323-7135.


There are a number of ways you can help the Church, your fellow worshippers and those in need, many of them coordinated by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.  Consider serving in one of these ways:


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.  All Orthodox Christians in the Parish are welcome and encouraged to participate. We usually need one Epistle reader and six people to hold cloths and baskets.  If you would like to read the Epistle or assist during the Communion, please contact Jeff Wasilko, 781-820-0882,

Coffee Hour - People are needed every week to provide coffee, juice and cookies, or more if desired, and set it up Sunday morning. 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 Robbat in the Parish Office and she will write your name in. If you need any help with figuring out what to bring or do, check the list below the signup sheet (also printed in the Bulletin), or ask Marilyn at or 617-547-1234.


Holy Resurrection Open Doors - The Holy Resurrection Open Door Meal Ministry in Allston needs volunteers every Monday evening (there is a special need in the summer).  The official hours of the project are 4:30pm-7:30pm, but it is fine to come anytime and leave any time.  Best times would be 5:30-5:45 to 7:15-7:30pm.  You can serve meals, coffee and tea to the people who arrive for dinner (6-7pm) or just stay behind the scenes doing set-up and clean-up.  It is a very rewarding, hands-on, face-to-face way to serve the community with (mostly) other Orthodox Christians-we even chant the Our Father together before the meal begins. Church info can be found at .  Questions? Please contact Liz (Tutella) Straghalis at  phone 617-974-5005,  or Tiffany Conroy at, 617-990-7162.

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


Food and Clothing - St. Paul's Food Pantry in Harvard Square , where volunteers from St. Mary help every Saturday,  depends upon regular donations of canned and packaged foods.  To help, contact Christian Alcala at, or (617) 876-5684.

Holy Resurrection in Allston also takes donations of non-perishable food items and clothing to distribute at the Open Door Ministry on Monday evenings.  You can bring your donations by on Monday nights between 4:30pm and 7:30pm or contact Tiffany Conroy,, 617-990-7162, for more information.

Monetary Contributions - The Agape Canister Program is an Orthodox non-profit development program of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center .  It is dedicated to meeting the needs of children, families, and communities throughout the world, regardless of race, color, or creed. All funds collected by the Agape Canister Program are earmarked for medical care and clinics, water wells, agricultural development, food and clothing, support personnel (e.g. doctors, nurses, teachers), the construction of schools, and the education of indigenous people in their own communities.  Please contribute each Sunday-A clear plastic box  is on the Bengarri.

"As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me," says our Lord.



August 23:  The Chin family and Christian Alcala


August 24:   Epistle: Robert Kowalik;  Left Cloth: Sarah Gosselin and Teva Regule;  Right Cloth: Amelia Perkins and Melissa Nassiff;  Left Bread: James Wilcox


August 24:  FSJD


Saturday, August 23:  No Vespers at St. Mary's

Sunday, August 24Summer hours - Orthros  8:15 am, Divine Liturgy 9:30 am


Epistle:  St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 4:9-16  Brethren, God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. ... When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate...

Gospel: Matthew 17:14-23  ... Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it [a demon] out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move hence to yonder place,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."


Saturday, August 30:  No Vespers at St. Mary's

Sunday, August 31Last Sunday of Summer hours - Orthros  8:15 am, Divine Liturgy 9:30 am

Saturday, September 6:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, September 7:  Regular hours resume - Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Blessing of the Church School teachers and students; Church School registration following Liturgy

Sunday, September 14:  Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, with procession


The whole warfare of the demons against us is waged with the one purpose of alienating those who obey them from the glory of God and the grace of the Holy Spirit. But, as I see it, we have already deprived ourselves of such a gift before they even attack us, because we have forsaken the commandments of God and have not been eager to seek Him with all our soul. Had we sought Him we should not have lived so idly and carelessly! Had we been concerned for the things of heaven we should not have shown such great eagerness for the things of earth. Had our thoughts been on things incorruptible we should not have gaped greedily after the things that are transitory and corruptible. Had we striven for things eternal we should not thus have pursued things temporal. Had we loved God we should not thus have turned away from those who guide us to Him. Had we sought to acquire virtues we would not have abhorred the teachers of virtues. Had we gladly embraced fasting we should not have complained of the lack of food and drink. Had we fought to gain control over our passions we should not have given ourselves unrestrainedly to pleasures. Had we a right and firm faith we should not have performed the works of faithlessness. ... Had we been found worthy to attain true love we should have known God.

   - St. Simeon the New Theologian,  The Discourses

He who truly loves God is devoted to His holy will; and no matter what might befall him, he accepts everything, as from the hand of God, with the firm faith that all this serves to his spiritual benefit. For the soul that is devoted to God, the misfortunes that befall it in this life serve as steps leading it up to perfection.

   - St. John Climacus

Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God.

   - St. Isaac of Syria

The believer will open his mind to the truth on condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes.  Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be.  Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown.  Belief clings, but faith lets go.  In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.

   - Alan Watts,  The Wisdom Of Insecurity