St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, September 26, 2008 through Thursday, October 2, 2008


INTER-ORTHODOX YOUNG ADULT RETREAT - The Diocesan Fellowship of St. John the Divine, on behalf of the NAC Fellowship 20/40 Ministries and in conjunction with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Young Adult Ministries, is sponsoring the Fourth Annual Young Adult Retreat,  this Friday, September 26 through Sunday, September 28, at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Seminary, Brookline, MA and the Hilton Dedham/Boston.   For further information and the registration form, visit Note - there's room for more at every event, and the late registration fee will be waived.

Keynote speaker is our own Reverend Father Antony Hughes, whose topic will be "There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28).  Additional speakers will include  Fr. Eugene Pentiuc, professor of Old Testament at Holy Cross; and Vasi Jankovich, representing the IOCC.

The entire group will be joining us at St. Mary for Divine Liturgy and Coffee Hour on Sunday.

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 this Sunday,  September 28 for Kibbeh, and by October 5 for Sfeeha. See the order form in the Sunday Bulletin.

Plan to come to the church on Friday morning, October 3, to help make the Kibbeh, and/or  on Saturday morning, October 18, to help make the meat pies.   Pick-up will be Sunday, October 5 for Kibbeh and Sunday, October 19 for Sfeeha.

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. Join us Monday, September 29, for an enjoyable evening of discussion,  refreshments and fellowship! Meeting at 7:00 pm, book discussion 7:30.


NEW CHANDELIERS  - The remainder of the $80,000 cost for our new Chandeliers has been graciously donated by you, our generous parishioners.   Thank you,  thank You.

The cost for the electrical work and installation of the new lighting is $48,000 - this price includes removal of the existing chandeliers, updating the electrical wiring to current code, new electric winches, new dimming panels, installation of the new chandeliers, and the electrical work for the new sconce lighting in the rear of the church under the balcony.  It's not too late to donate to this most worthy project.  We have started receiving donations on the wiring and installation phase-approximately $6,500; however we need the support of the entire parish.  We welcome any additional donations and once again, are thankful for your continued support and generosity.   Please see Mary Winstanley O'Connor  or  Ray Sayeg. 

ANNIVERSARY DINNER TICKETS - Only eight tickets are still available. Call Mary Winstanley O'Connor at (617) 523-1010 or see her after Liturgy this Sunday.


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 began last Sunday, 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 anyone you know who might be interested.

HOLY ICONS, SACRED ARTS - The Boston Byzantine Choir will be presenting an afternoon concert entitled "The Sound of Icons" as a part of Orthodox Education Day at St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood , NY on Saturday, October 4, 2008.  Other events include a display of rare 15th to 21st century Russian icons, the opportunity to venerate the relics of Sts. Herman and Innocent, and a live hands-on icon writing demonstration by Khouria Erin Kimmet of Norwood .  For more information, see or contact Charlie Marge (  To download the flyer and schedule:

WELCOME BACK COLLEGE STUDENTS BREAKFAST - After Liturgy on Sunday, October 5, the Fellowship of St. John the Divine (FSJD) will host a special breakfast to welcome college students back to their "Church home away from home." Please join us in welcoming and supporting students who strive to remain connected to the Church while away from their families.  All are welcome! A free-will donation will be gratefully accepted from non-students.  Please RSVP so we'll know how much food to prepare:  call the church office at 617-547-1234, or reply to this e-mail, or use the sign-up sheet on the Bengarri (the desk in the vestibule).


Dinner & Dance - The 80th anniversary of our parish will be celebrated on Saturday, October 25, 2008 -  Vespers with Artoklasia at 5:30 p.m., cocktails and hors d'oeuvres from 6:30 to 7:30 followed by 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, and tickets are almost sold out.  (See New Announcements, above.)

Sponsors - The Parish Council has eleven sponsors at $500.00 each for the upcoming 80th Anniversary dinner.  We would gladly welcome other sponsors!   Sponsorship includes two (2) tickets to the gala function.  If  you are interested in being a sponsor, please see or call Mary Winstanley O'Connor (617) 523-1010.

Planning Meeting - The final Planning Meeting will be  on 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 please let Mary know. 

SACRED MUSIC WORKSHOPS - Choir members and interested parishioners are invited to the Sacred Music Workshops which will take place Friday evening October 31 and all day Saturday November 1, 2008 at St. John of Damascus Church , Dedham MA .  Chris Holwey, Chairman of the Dept of Sacred Music of the Antiochian Archdiocese will be the featured speaker and guest presenter.  There will be other presenters as well.  For further information contact David Franciosi at

VISIT FROM THE PATRIARCH - Our Father in Christ, His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, will be visiting our Archdiocese this autumn.  He will travel to Boston on Thursday, October 30 and preside over a fund-raising banquet in the Westin Copley Hotel ballroom on Saturday evening, November 1, beginning at 6:00 pm, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the University of Balamand in Lebanon, and the establishment of  a scholarship fund in honor of Metropolitan PHILIP for needy and worthy students. Tickets are $200 each; reservations should be sent to The Balamand Educational Foundation, Inc., 40 Whisper Drive , Worcester , MA 01609 , and  must be received by October 15.

There will be no Vespers at St. Mary's on November 1, and all parishes in the Diocese will be closed Sunday morning, November 2, so that clergy and parishioners may worship  with the Patriarch in a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Westin Copley Hotel.

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.

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.  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.

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. 

Monetary Contributions - The FSJD would also welcome monetary contributions to help with postage, shopping, etc. for the care packages (see above). 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!

- 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.

- The International Orthodox Christian Charities has issued an emergency appeal for its continuing response to the two tropical storms and two hurricanes which made landfall in the U.S. in just four weeks.  Cash funds will go towards immediate clean-up and recovery efforts.  Donations can be made by calling IOCC's donation hotline toll-free at 1-877-803-4622; by making a gift on-line at ; or by mailing a check or money order payable to "IOCC" and writing "US Emergency Response" in the memo line to IOCC, P.O. Box 630225 , Baltimore , Md. 21263-0225 .

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



September 27:  David Vermette and Christian Alcala


September 28:   Epistle: David Vermette;  Left Cloth:  Trish Orlovsky and Anthony Bernardi;  Right Cloth:  Nadine Rebovich and Melissa Nassiff;  Left Bread: Larisa Patacchiola;  Right Bread: Marc Patacchiola


September 28:  St. Mary for Inter-Orthodox Young Adult Retreat


Saturday, September 27:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, September 28:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am

SCRIPTURE READINGS for September 28: 

Epistle:  St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 4:6-15

Brethren, it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.

Gospel: Luke 5:1-11

... And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." ... And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men."


Saturday, October 4:  No Vespers at St. Mary
Sunday, October 5:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am
Saturday, October 11:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm
Saturday, October 18:  No Vespers at St. Mary
Saturday, November 1:  No Vespers at St. Mary - Balamand fundraiser at Westin Copley Hotel
Sunday, November 2: No Divine Liturgy at St. Mary - Liturgy with the Patriarch


...we carry as in earthen vessels - that is to say, in our bodies - the Father's Light in the Person of Jesus Christ, and so can experience the glory of the Holy Spirit...

   - St. Gregory Palamas, "Those Who Practice a Life of Stillness," The Philokalia Vol. 4

The person who listens to Christ fills himself with light; and if he imitates Christ, he reclaims himself. 

   - St. Thalassios, "On Love, Self-control and Life in Accordance with the Intellect," The Philokalia Vol. 2

Therefore silence, prayer, obedience; when you practice these virtues with the help of God, then you will know the light of Christ is within your soul.

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

The moment you realize at the bottom of your heart that you are nothing and that God is everything then the truth shall have set you free.

   - Fr. Matthew the Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way