St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, September 5, 2008 through Thursday, September 11, 2008

REGULAR HOURS RESUME - Last Sunday was the last day of summer hours; this week St. Mary's returns to regular hours: Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am

CHURCH SCHOOL - Attention Church School  Parents, Students & Teachers:  Church School Pre-Registration starts during Coffee Hour this Sunday, September 7.  Please register your child(ren) and make sure their registration materials and information are up-to-date.  On September 14, the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, there will be a music lesson downstairs for all students. Church School lessons begin Sunday, September 21.

PARISH COUNCIL - The next  meeting of the Parish Council will be  Wednesday, September 10, at 7:30 in the small hall next to the kitchen.

ST. MARY'S ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION - The remaining Planning Meetings will be  on 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 wish 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


INTER-ORTHODOX YOUNG ADULT RETREAT - The Diocesan Fellowship of St. John the Divine, on behalf of the NAC Fellowship 20/40 Ministries, in conjunction with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Young Adult Ministries, is sponsoring the Fourth Annual Young Adult Retreat.  When: Friday, September 26 - Sunday, September 28;  Where: Hellenic College/Holy Cross Seminary, Brookline , MA and the Hilton Dedham/Boston.

Keynote speaker is our own Reverend Father Antony Hughes.  The entire group will be joining us for Divine Liturgy on Sunday, September 28.  For further information and registration forms, contact Michael Marge at

SFEEHA AND KIBBEH SALE - The Women's Club is offering for purchase freshly made Middle Eastern Sfeeha (ground lamb meat pies with onions, pine nuts & seasonings) and Kibbeh (ground lamb meat with burghul). Orders and checks must be received by Sunday,  September 28 for Kibbeh, and by October 5 for Sfeeha. See the order form in the Sunday Bulletin.

FIVE MORE SPONSORS NEEDED - The parish council is looking for ten  individuals to donate $500.00 each to sponsor the 80th anniversary celebration dinner. Five people have already come forward; five more are needed. If you are interested in being a sponsor, please see or call Mary Winstanley O'Connor (617) 523-1010


Steering Committee - Please meet in the Church Hall near the end of coffee hour on Sunday, September 14. All current 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.

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.

ATTENTION COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY STUDENTS - If you are a new or returning college or university student, please fill out a yellow College Student Address Form on the Bengarri (the desk in the Narthex) so that we have your current addresses and information and you can receive announcements about activities at St. Mary's and on campus.  See Charlie Marge if you have questions.

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!

SPEAKERS MISSING -  Do 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? If so please call the church Office at 617-547-1234.


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. Five people have already come forward; five more are needed. If you are interested in being a sponsor, please see or call Mary Winstanley O'Connor (617) 523-1010

WOMEN'S CLUB BOOK DISCUSSION:  This summer Women's Club members (and anyone else who'd like to join us) have been  reading The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs, a New York Times bestseller. Read the book 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 this fall. 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  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 - Holy Resurrection in Allston 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.

- 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.

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.



September 6:  Kern Ormond and Christian Alcala


September 7:   Epistle: Tatiana Kish;  Left Cloth: Sandra Kondratiuk and Melissa Nassiff;  Right Cloth: Tiffany Conroy and Chris Minidis;  Left Bread:  Amelia Perkins;  Right Bread: James Wilcox


September 7:  Wadia & Marie Boyko and their family


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

SCRIPTURE READINGS for September 7: 

Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Galatians 6:11-18

But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.

Gospel: John 3:13-17

The Lord said, "...  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."

Monday, September 8:  Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Theotokos (No Services at St. Mary)


Saturday, September 13:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm
Sunday, September 14
Feast of the Elevation of the Cross:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am with procession


"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up" (John 3:14). And just exactly as all who were bitten by the serpents looked upon the bronze serpent which was suspended and were healed, thus also every Christian who believes in our Christ and has recourse to His life-bearing wounds, who eats His Flesh and drinks His all-holy Blood, is cured of the bites of the spiritual serpent of sin and by this most holy nourishment is made to live unto the renewal of a new creation, that is, new life in harmony with His life-giving commandments.

   - Elder Ephraim of Philotheou on  Mount Athos, Counsels from the Holy Mountain


O ye bitten by Satan, look upon Christ; For this was He lifted up, that ye might gaze on Him and be healed by Him. O ye throughout whose members the hidden gall hath spread, by the sight of the Cross of light ye are restored to health. O ye slain by the bites of wicked demons, lift up your eyes, look, and be healed, if ye will. O thou that are bitten in soul by iniquity, doubt not; look on the Cross, and it will swiftly heal thy soul. Sins have torn thee like the bites of serpents: If thou gaze not on the Slain One, thou wilt not be healed. As Moses lifted the serpent, thy Lord was lifted up: Look on Him, O man, and the wound that pains thee will take to flight.

   - Mar Jacob, Bishop of Serugh, On the Serpent of Brass that Moses Lifted up in the Desert.

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

Glory, O Lord, to the power of Thy Cross, which never fails! When the enemy oppresses me with a sinful thought or feeling, and I, lacking freedom in my heart, make the sign of the Cross several times with faith, suddenly my sin falls away from me, the compulsion vanishes, and I find myself free... For the faithful the Cross is a mighty power which delivers from all evils, from the malice of the invisible foe.

   - St. John of Kronstadt