St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, October 24, 2008 through Thursday, October 30, 2008


THIS WEEKEND IS THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF ST. MARY ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH! - This Saturday, October 25, 2008,   the anniversary of our parish will be celebrated with Vespers with Artoklasia at 5:15 p.m. (note the time), followed by  cocktails and hors d'oeuvres to be served from 6:30 to 7:30, followed by dinner and dancing (with American and Arabic music). Dinner 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. 

The celebration will continue on Sunday, October 26, with Orthros for St. Demetrios at 8:45 am and Divine Liturgy for the  Feast of St. Demetrios at  10:00 am.  A Celebratory Coffee Hour will follow, with a video presentation about St. Mary's and its history.


SPAGHETTI DINNER - Teen SOYO will be providing a Spaghetti Dinner on Sunday, November 9, following Liturgy. Watch for further details.

DIOCESAN MEETINGS - The quarterly meetings of the diocesan Antiochian Women, Fellowship of St. John the Divine, and Teen SOYO will be held on  Saturday, November 15, at  St. George Church, West Roxbury.

START READING ! - 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, which is available from

"Life is a journey of faith and wonder, an odyssey of the heart.  Join author S.T. Georgiou for a walk along Mystic Street as he shares spiritual and contemplative experiences that reveal the power of grace in our everyday lives.  Deeply inspirational and renewing, these Christian-based meditations recharge the soul and illuminate our passage in an increasingly complex world.  Mystic Street centers on the author's spiritual experiences while pursuing his graduate degrees in theology.  He demonstrates how lessons of the heart are not only learned inside the classroom, but especially outside.  In these uplifting vignettes, both the ordinary and the extraordinary, the visible and invisible intersect.  A fascinating book filled with hope, life, light, and a marvelous sense of serendipity." 

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!


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 next Thursday, October 30 and will 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.

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 and the Hierarchs of this Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, in a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Westin Copley Hotel ballroom,  beginning at 10:00 am, preceded by Orthros at 9:00 am.

CHOIR REHEARSAL FOR HIERARCHICAL DIVINE LITURGY - Diocesan Combined Choir rehearsals for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy are Tuesday, October 14, at 7:00 pm at St. George Cathedral, Worcester, and Thursday, October 23,  at 7:00 pm at St. John Church, Dedham (one is these is mandatory), and also Friday, October 31 at the Diocesan Sacred Music Seminar with Chris Holwey (mandatory rehearsal).

SACRED MUSIC SEMINAR - Choir members and interested parishioners are invited to the Sacred Music Seminar which will take place Friday evening October 31 7:30-10:00 and Saturday November 1 from 9:00 am till Vespers, at St. John of Damascus Church , Dedham MA .  Chris Holwey, Chairman of the Dept of Sacred Music of the Antiochian Archdiocese, will be the keynote speaker and major presenter.  For further information contact David Franciosi at

COME SEE THE MESSIAH - Join friends from St. Mary's for the Handel and Haydn Society's  annual performance of Handel's Messiah, on Sunday afternoon, December 7, at 3:00 p.m.  Second balcony tickets are just $25  (possibly less if enough of us go). We will carpool to Symphony Hall after Liturgy and have lunch together before the concert.  Those who have done this before have thoroughly enjoyed it - not only do we hear a world-class orchestra and chorus with famous soloists singing glorious words (taken directly from the Bible), but we also have an opportunity to spend time getting to know some fellow parishioners we normally may not encounter.  Good seats go fast - please contact Melissa Nassiff at 508 877-7483 or email by Sunday, November 2 (note revised deadline) to reserve a ticket with the group. 

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE CANNED FOOD DRIVE - During October through December, 2008,  please bring  in your canned goods to the Church and place them in the large, blue plastic container outside the Church Office.  Our Teens will then weigh them and distribute them to local food pantries in our area.  Remember.....42 pounds of food will feed a family of four for three days!

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, but would enjoy any candy or snacks.  We should probably avoid sending chocolate;  it would melt.  (Click here to see the current weather forecast for Baghdad :    There is a box in the entry to the Church Offices for your donations.  Thank you!

PAN-ORTHODOX COFFEE HOUSE - You are invited to a Holiday Fundraiser for St Paul 's Food Pantry and Holy Resurrection Open Doors, sponsored by the Fellowship of Saint John the Divine, on Saturday evening, November 22. Suggested Donation $10.

Vespers 5:00 - 6:00 pm, Dinner Hour Break 6:00 - 7:00 pm, Coffee House 7:00 - 11:00 pm. 

This will be an evening of fellowship and entertainment to raise money for individuals and families in need this Holiday season. There will be Nativity Fast-friendly foods, beverages and musical performances by the many talented parishioners of St Mary's. All are welcome; we would like to especially encourage post-college age adults from all Orthodox parishes in the Greater Boston area (and beyond) to come to this event and meet new people. Questions and RSVP (optional): Tiffany Conroy,

NEW CHANDELIERS  - New Chandeliers have been ordered for the Church, and will be installed while the church is closed for the Patriarch's visit. 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. 

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.

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. 


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 25:  David Vermette and Kern Ormond


   October 26:   Teens of the parish (Youth Month)


   October 26:  Parish Council - Anniversary Celebration


Saturday, October 25:  Great Vespers with  Artoklasia 5:15 pm (note time change)
Sunday, October 26:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Sunday School lesson 5


Epistle:  St. Paul 's Second Letter to Timothy 2:1-10

Timothy, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 

Gospel: Luke 8:26-39

The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with [Jesus]; but he sent him away, saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.


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)  at the Westin Copley Hotel Ballroom, Boston
Saturday, November 8 - No Vespers at St. Mary
Sunday, November 9:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am
Saturday, November 15:  Great Vespers 5:00 pm; Nativity Fast begins


Be a herald of God's goodness, for God rules over you, unworthy though you are; for although your debt to Him is so great, yet He is not seen exacting payment from you, and from the small works you do, He bestows great rewards upon you. Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright (cf. Ps. 24:8, 144:17), His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. "He is good," He says, "to the evil and to the impious" (cf. Luke 6:35). How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers? "Friend, I do thee no wrong. I will give unto this last even as unto thee. Is thine eye evil because I am good?" (Matt. 20:12-15). How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? (Luke 15:11 ff.). None other but His very Son said these things concerning Him, lest we doubt it; and thus He bore witness concerning Him. Where, then, is God's justice, for whilst we are sinners Christ died for us! (cf. Rom. 5:8). But if here He is merciful, we may believe that He will not change.

   - St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 60.

Always remember the holy apostles and their behavior towards men. If an atheist challenges you, then it is not the man that challenges you but the devil, for man is by nature devout and tends Godwards. If a stupid man scoffs at you, then it is not the man who scoffs but the devil, for man is by nature intelligent. If a bitter man persecutes you, it is not the man that is doing this but the devil, for man is by nature good and well-disposed. It is the devil that challenges us in lengthy debates and fruitless discussions, but he flees from the power of good deeds. Do good in the name of Christ, and the devil will flee. You will be working with men, men who are devout and intelligent and good. Everything, therefore, that you do, be sure that you do it in the name of Christ.

   - Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic,  The Prologue from Ochrid

"And let your good works shine before men, that they, seeing them, may glorify your Father which is in heaven." For we ought not to strive; neither has He desired us to be imitators of wicked men, but He has exhorted us to lead all men, by patience and gentleness, from shame and the love of evil.

   -  St. Justin, Martyr, The First Apology