St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, October 31, 2008 through Thursday, November 6, 2008


HIERARCHICAL DIVINE LITURGY - This weekend our Father in Christ, His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East will be in Boston for a rare visit to the United States. This Sunday morning, November 2,  he will celebrate a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Westin Copley Hotel's America Center & South Ballroom (on the 4th Floor),  beginning at 10:00 am, preceded by Orthros at 9:00 am. 

This is a major event in the life of our church, and many of the Hierarchs of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America are expected to take part. Music will be provided by a Diocesan Combined Choir consisting of representatives from throughout our Diocese of Worcester and New England . All parishioners in the Diocese are invited to come and participate.

All parishes in the Diocese - including St. Mary - will be closed Sunday morning, November 2, so that clergy and parishioners may worship with the Patriarch. (Note: There will also be no Vespers at St. Mary on Saturday, November 1.)

Travel information: To get there on the T, take the Green Line to Copley Square . If you prefer to drive, parking in the Westin garage for 2-4 hours will cost $27.

Note about time: November 2 is the date that Daylight Savings Time ends and Eastern Standard Time begins. Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour, though it might be helpful to arrive an hour early anyway!

For more information about the Patriarch, see "Insights," below.

SACRED MUSIC SEMINAR - A Sacred Music Seminar 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 The event will include a mandatory rehearsal for the Diocesan Combined Choir Friday evening, in preparation for Sunday's Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.

BANQUET - His Beatitude will preside over a 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 . This fund-raising event will also celebrate the establishment of  a scholarship fund in honor of Metropolitan PHILIP for needy and worthy students. Pre-purchased tickets are required.


80TH ANNIVERSARY VIDEO - The video about St. Mary's that was shown during coffee hour last Sunday can now be seen on the St. Mary website:

SPAGHETTI DINNER - Teen SOYO will be providing a Spaghetti Dinner on Sunday, November 9, following Liturgy.  The menu will include  spaghetti, meatballs (just before the fast!), salad, bread, dessert and coffee/beverage. Your goodwill donation will be much appreciated.

NATIVITY FAST - The Nativity Fast, also known as the season of Advent, begins November 15. This is the forty days of fasting and prayer in preparation for the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ. 

TEEN SOYO VESPERS & FIRESIDE CHAT - On Saturday, November 22, all St. Mary's teens ages 13-18 are invited to join us for Vespers, fellowship and fireside fun! Fr. Antony will lead a discussion on the topics that are important to you.  We'll provide the fireplace, dinner, hot chocolate and cider - teens, bring your questions!  The evening starts with a special Vespers at St. Marys at 5:00 pm.  Teens are encouraged to attend and participate in chanting, reading and/or singing along! We'll proceed to the Straghalis' house immediately following Vespers. If you need a ride, directions, or have questions, please call or write Liz: 617-974-5005 /  or Erick: 617-645-2116 / .  We also have a Facebook group for St. Mary's SOYO that will have updated information.

BAKE SALE - The Women's Club's annual Thanksgiving Charity Bake Sale will be held Sunday, November 23, 2008. Plan on purchasing all your holiday breads, pies, goodies, Syrian pastries and much more! All proceeds to benefit the Convent of Saidnaya, northwest of Damascus in Syria . Call Priscilla Goss at 1-781-762-1527, if you can help bake and/or donate.


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 .

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,

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!

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. 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 - you can order yours online at  Please let Melissa Nassiff know if you're coming, so we can reserve a big enough table for lunch - or 508-877-7483.

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!

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. 


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 4:30 pm-7:30 pm, but it is fine to come anytime and leave any time.  Best times would be 5:30-5:45 to 7:15-7:30 pm.  You can serve meals, coffee and tea to the people who arrive for dinner (6-7 pm) 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 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm 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.

- 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!

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.



November 1:  Christian Alcala


November 2:   No services at St. Mary - Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Westin Copley Hotel


November 2:   No coffee hour 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)  at the Westin Copley Hotel, Boston


Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Galatians 1:11-19

Brethren, I would have you know that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.

Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

The Lord said, "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. ... He [Abraham] said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"


Saturday, November 8:  No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, November 9:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;

      Sunday School lesson 7 and Pageant rehearsal 1

Saturday, November 15:   Great Vespers 5:00 pm;  Nativity Fast begins

Wednesday, November 19:  Paraclesis Service 6:30 pm

Thursday, November 20:   Presentation of the Theotokos into the Temple -  Evening Liturgy 6:30 pm

Friday, November 21:  Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos into the Temple - Akathist to our Sweetest Lord Jesus 7:00 pm

Saturday, November 22:   Family Vespers 5:00 pm, followed by Teen Soyo Fireside Chat and FSJD Pan-Orthodox Coffee House

Saturday, December 7:  Lessons and Carols


A Brief Biography of His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East:

The Most Reverend and Most Holy Father, Patriarch of Antioch, the Great City of God, of Syria, Lebanon, Arabia, Cilicia, Mesopotamia and all the East; Father of Fathers, Shepherd of Shepherds, Master of Masters, and Thirteenth of the Holy Apostles, our Father and Chief Shepherd: May God Grant Him Many Years!

The See of Antioch ranks third in honor among the 15 self governing Orthodox Churches all of whom are in communion with each other. The city of Antioch of Syria was founded in 301 BC on the banks of the Orontes River , about 20 miles inland from the East coast of the Mediterranean and 250 miles north of Jerusalem . Antioch was considered the third most important city of the Roman world after Rome and Alexandria . Christianity came to Antioch from among those converted at Pentecost. St. Paul and St. Barnabas preached there and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. There are references to the Christian community of Antioch throughout the Acts of the Apostles. The first Bishop of Antioch was St. Peter the Apostle, and the third, St. Ignatius, who became Bishop in 67 AD. and whose letters can still be read in the volume: "The Apostolic Fathers." St. John Chrysostom, whose Liturgy is served throughout the Orthodox world, and St. John of Damascus, the scholar and theologian who defended the Faith at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, were also from the Church of Antioch. When the Turks took the city of Antioch in the 15th Century, the See of Antioch was moved to Damascus , the capital of Syria , where it remains to this day.

Patriarch Ignatius lV

The present Patriarch of Antioch, His Beatitude, Ignatius lV (Hazim) is the one hundred and seventieth Patriarch after Saint Peter. He   was born in 1921 in the village of Mhardey near Hama in Syria . He is the son of a pious Arab Orthodox family and from an early age was attracted to service within the Church. Whilst studying in Beirut , Lebanon , for a literature degree, he entered the service of the local Orthodox diocese, first by becoming an altar server, then a deacon. In 1945 he went to Paris where he graduated from the St. Sergius Theological Institute. From his time in France onwards he has been moved not only by a desire to pass on the deposit of the Faith, but also to take Orthodoxy out of its unhistorical ghetto by discovering in its Holy Tradition living answers to the problems of modern life. On his return to the Middle East, he founded the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Balamand , Lebanon which he then served for many years as Dean. As Dean he sought to provide the Patriarchate with responsible leaders who had received a good spiritual and intellectual training and who were witnesses to an awakened and deeply personal faith.

He became bishop in 1961 and Metropolitan of Lattaquiey in Syria in 1970. The new Metropolitan was a reserved and friendly man, who manifested a deep and courageous straightforwardness; he was simple, direct and down to earth. His style broke with the former tradition of episcopal grandeur and he inaugurated an authentic practice of frequent Communion. On 2 July 1979, under the name of Ignatius lV, he became the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, the third ranking hierarch of the Orthodox Church after the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria . After his election as Patriarch he said:

"I know that I will be judged if I do not carry the Church and each one of you in my heart. It is not possible for me to address you as if I were different from you. No difference separates us. I am an integral part of you; I am in you and I ask you to be in me. For the Lord comes, and the Spirit descends on the brothers gathered, united in communion, as they manifest a diversity of chrisms in the unity of the Spirit."

As Patriarch he has given a new dynamism to the Holy Synod and seen it name Bishops who are close to the people and who are motivated to develop the Church's ecclesial and spiritual life, detached from political factions. Above all, the Patriarch has sought and still seeks pastors who are as dedicated to their spiritual calling as he is himself.

   - From