St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, October 3, 2008 through Thursday, October 9, 2008


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).

Plan to come to the church this Friday morning, October 3, to help make the Kibbeh. Pick-up will be this Sunday, October 5.  Any trays not picked up will be frozen.

Orders and checks must be received by this Sunday, October 5 for Sfeeha.  Lots of help will be needed on Saturday morning, October 18, to help make the meat pies.   Pickup will be Sunday, October 19.

WELCOME BACK COLLEGE STUDENTS BREAKFAST - After Liturgy this 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.  Note: You are welcome to come even if you haven't RSVP'd!

HELP NEEDED - Several volunteers are needed to help with preparation, cooking and serving for the Welcome Back Breakfast. Please contact Socrates Deligeorges ( ) if you can help on Saturday (starting at 2:00 - lunch will be provided!) or Sunday (before, during, or after the meal). 

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.  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:


YOUTH MONTH - October is Youth Month throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese. In our parish young people will be reading the Epistle, holding the Communion cloth and Holy Bread baskets, and taking the collection. 

PARISH COUNCIL - The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held Wednesday, October 15, in the small hall off the kitchen.

BOOK CLUB - You are invited to take part in a new book club sponsored by the FSJD.  The first book we'll read will be Mystic Street: Meditations on a Spiritual Path by Steve Georgiou

When:  Sunday, November 23

Where:  We'll meet up in the church hall after coffee hour and discuss

If you have any questions contact Larisa Patacchiola at or Brooke Wilcox at And please spread the word. All are welcome!

SNACKS FOR SCOTT - When you do your Halloween shopping this month, please get something extra for our Marine in Iraq . The Fellowship is very grateful for all the contributions we've received so far, and most of them are already on their way to him. Help us fill up the next care package with snacks and junk food - he has especially requested beef jerky, sunflower seeds, sour skittles, and protein bars.  By the way, click here to see the current weather forecast for Baghdad:  We should probably avoid sending chocolate - it would melt.

There is a box in the entry to the Church Offices for your donations. Thank you!



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 sold out

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. 

NEW CHANDELIERS  - New Chandeliers have been ordered for the Church, and we expect to have them installed this fall. There will be one large chandelier and six smaller chandeliers.  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; 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. 

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,  beginning at 10:00 am.

CHOIR REHEARSAL FOR HIERARCHICAL DIVINE LITURGY - Diocesan Combined Choir rehearsals for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy are Tuesday, October 14, at 7 pm at St. George Cathedral, Worcester, and Thursday, October 23,  at 7 p.m. at St. John Church, Dedham (one is these is mandatory), and also Friday, October 31 at Diocesan Sacred Music Workshop with Chris Holwey (mandatory rehearsal).

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.


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.



October 4:  Sandra Kondratiuk


October 5:   Teens of the parish (Youth Month)


October 5:  FSJD Welcome Back College Students Breakfast


Saturday, October 4: No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, October 5:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 3


Epistle:  St. Paul 's Second Letter to the Corinthians 6:1-10

We put no obstacle in any one's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships,   ...  by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left...

Gospel: Luke 6:31-36

The Lord said, "And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. ... But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return..."


Saturday, October 11:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm
Sunday, October 12:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; No Church School
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 or Sunday School at St. Mary - Liturgy with the Patriarch 10:00 am (Orthros 9:00 am)


Virtue in the sight of others is to bear with those who oppose us, but virtue in God's sight is to love them. This is the only sacrifice acceptable to God. 
   - Saint Gregory the Great 

Be persecuted, rather than be a persecutor.  Be crucified, rather than be a crucifier.  Be treated unjustly, rather than treat anyone unjustly.  Be oppressed, rather than be an oppressor.   Be gentle rather than zealous.   Lay hold of goodness, rather than justice.

   - St. Isaac the Syrian, The Ascetical Homilies

We were given charity and peace, which are powerful in battle; for the enemy cannot approach the place they have occupied. In the matter of joy we have our orders to use it to fight sadness. We have also been taught generosity and goodness. We have been given holy prayer and steadfastness, which fill the soul with light. We have been given candor and simplicity, to disarm wickedness. We have it in writing to abstain from judging, so that we may conquer lying, that shabby vice which is in man. For if we do not judge, we shall not be judged on the day of judgment. We have been given endurance in the face of suffering and injustice, not to be struck by weariness.

   - St. Pachimius, Pachomian Koinonia, Vol. III: Instructions, Letters and Other Writings

   How can we know we are on the right track? Humility and love. It is simple, "They will know we are Christians by our love."  But it must be humility and love in its most radical form extending even to our enemies, to those who abuse us and wish us harm, which is no small task.  ...

   Without humility of heart we cannot love.  We must first realize that our neighbor is "Christ with us" and then our actions will take on a holy character.  We will seek all means possible to lift up the other, to bring joy, peace and comfort to the other, to humble ourselves before the other as before the Lord Himself. Anything other than that is born of pride and self-interest, the two progenitors of all evil.

   - Fr. Antony Hughes,  Sermon preached on Sunday, February 10, 2008  

The beginning of the fight against hatred, the basic Christian answer to hatred, is not the commandment to love, but what must necessarily come before in order to make the commandment bearable and comprehensible. It is a prior commandment, to believe. The root of Christian love is not the will to love, but the faith that one is loved. The faith that one is loved by God. That faith that one is loved by God although unworthy - or rather, irrespective of one's worth!

   - Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation