St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, November 7, 2008 through Thursday, November 13, 2008


SERVICES WILL BE HELD IN THE HALL - Because the installation of our new chandeliers is still in progress, Orthros and Divine Liturgy this Sunday will be held downstairs in the Parish Hall.  As a result, there will be no Church School .

SPAGHETTI DINNER - Teen SOYO will be providing a Spaghetti Dinner this 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.

HELP NEEDED - Volunteers are needed Saturday morning between 9:00 am  and noon to help hang crystals on the new chandeliers, and to help set up the Hall for Sunday's services.  Please come and lend a hand!

After Liturgy Sunday morning, please help the Teens set up tables and rearrange chairs for the Spaghetti  Dinner.

After the Spaghetti Dinner, we may still need additional volunteers to hang any remaining  crystals on the chandeliers.


PARISH COUNCIL - The next meeting of the Parish Council will be next Wednesday, November 12, at 7:30 p.m.

VESPERS - Next Saturday, November 15, Great Vespers will begin at 5:30 instead of 5:00 pm

ORDER OF ST. IGNATIUS CHRISTMAS PARTY - The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch , Diocese of Worcester and New England will hold its Annual Christmas Party on Sunday, December 7, 2008 2-5 pm at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton , Mass. Donation is $50 and includes luncheon, museum admission, and optional transportation from St. John of Damascus Church. Deadline for reservations is November 29, 2008. All are welcome. For further information, please contact Christine Bezreh at 781-449-1230 or

ST. MARY CHRISTMAS CARD - Save yourself time, let us do the work and have all proceeds  benefit Antiochian Women  NEW Project 2008/2009:  Children with Special Needs.   Let the Women's Club send a lovely Christmas Card on your behalf to our parishioners.  You will receive this card with the names of parishioners, like yourself, who are wishing  a Blessed Nativity and a Merry Christmas to all.  Use the order form in the Sunday Bulletin.  Deadline is Sunday, December 7, 2008.


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

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 .

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.

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,

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.

BOOK DISCUSSION - 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.

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

NEW CHANDELIERS  - New Chandeliers have been ordered for the Church, and installation began last week while the church was 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 8:  Tatiana Kish


November 9:   Epistle: Tatiana Kish;  Left Cloth:  Meg Butler and Martin Scrivener;  Right Cloth: James and Brooke Wilcox;  Left Bread: Sarah Gosselin;  Right Bread: Lete Med


November 9:   Spaghetti Dinner sponsored by Teen SOYO


Saturday, November 8:  No Vespers at St. Mary

Sunday, November 9:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am in the Parish Hall;

      Sunday School lesson 7 is cancelled.


Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Galatians 2:16-20

Brethren, you know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ ... I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Gospel: Luke 8:41-56

At that time, there came to Jesus a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue; and falling at Jesus' feet he besought him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As he went, the people pressed round him. And a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and had spent all her living upon physicians and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased.


Saturday, November 15:   Great Vespers 5:30 pm (note time change);  Nativity Fast begins
Sunday, November 16:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;
      Sunday School lesson 8
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
Thursday, November 27:  Thanksgiving Day (no services)
Saturday, November 29:  No Vespers at St. Marys
Saturday, December 13: Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols


The struggle and constraint we undertake, even if correctly performed, do not qualify us for justification. Neither do they move us closer to God. They only remove us a long distance from our ego and sever us from the life of sin... As for justification, it is freely given by God, and as for growing close to God, it is for Christ to bring this about.

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

The Lord said, "When you have done all that is commanded you, say: 'We are useless servants: we have only done what was our duty'" (Luke 17:10). Thus the kingdom of heaven is not a reward for works, but a gift of grace prepared by the Master for His faithful servants.

   - St. Hesychius the Priest

To have faith in Christ means more than simply despising the delights of this life. It means we should bear all our daily trials that may bring us sorrow, distress, or unhappiness, and bear them patiently for as long as God wishes and until He comes to visit us. For it is said: "I waited on the Lord and He came to me."

   - St. Symeon the New Theologian 

...a man has no right to be called faithful, if his faith is a bare word and if he has not in him a faith made active by love or the Spirit. Thus faith must be made evident by progress in works, or it must act in the light and shine in works, as the divine Apostle says: "Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works" (James 2:18), thus showing that the faith of grace is made evident by works performed in accordance with the commandments, just as the commandments are fulfilled in deed and are made bright through the faith which is in grace.

   - St. Gregory of Sinai, Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 119

The union of the Christian with Christ is not just a similarity of inclination and feeling, a mutual consent of minds and wills. It has a more radical, mysterious and supernatural quality: it is a mystical union in which Christ Himself becomes the source and principle of divine life in me.

   - Fr. Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation