St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, November 28, 2008 through Thursday, December 4, 2008






There will be no Vespers at St. Mary this Saturday.


Fr. Antony and his family will be visiting relatives for the Thanksgiving Holiday from Monday, November 24 through Sunday, November 30, 2008.  Fr. Stephen Lawrence of the Greek Metropolis of Boston will be celebrating Orthros and  Liturgy in Fr. Antony's absence.  Trisagion Prayers will be chanted following Liturgy.

In case of emergency during Fr. Antony's absence, contact Fr. John Teebagy at St. John Church in Dedham at 781-326-3046. 

There will be no Church School classes this weekend.

WOMEN'S CLUB - Our Christmas "Evening Out" is scheduled for Monday, December 8, at 7:00 pm at Joe's American Bar & Grill in Dedham , MA   Everyone is welcomed to join us-just bring a $10 Grab, Christmas wrapped with no name on it, please!  Anyone who plans to attend must call Selma Winstanley by this Sunday, November 30, at 781-646-9405. 

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 this Sunday, November 29, 2008. All are welcome. For further information, please contact Christine Bezreh at 781-449-1230 or

PARISH COUNCIL -  Anyone interested in serving on Parish Council, please  advise Fr. Antony or Ray Sayeg by Monday, December 1, 2008, so that your name will appear on the up-coming ballot with an asterisk (*).  Ballots will be sent out to eligible parish members (those in good standing for two years) in early December, and must be returned by December 15, 2008.


BOOK DISCUSSION, Part 2 - Part 1 was last Sunday after Coffee Hour, when we all agreed that we needed more time to read the book!  It was decided that we will discuss this book - Mystic Street: Meditations on a Spiritual Path by S.J. Georgiou - next spring, probably the week before the author comes to be our speaker at the vonHolzhausen Lecture!

So buy the book (it's available from at a discount), read the book, and mark your calendars:  Book discussion Sunday, April 26, and vonHolzhausen lecture Saturday, May 2, 2009.


CHRISTMAS PAGEANT - If you are interested in helping with the Christmas Pageant, please e-mail Charlie Marge at .

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 next Sunday, December 7, 2008.

COME SEE THE MESSIAH - Join friends from St. Mary's for the Handel and Haydn Society's  annual performance of Handel's Messiah, next 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.

LESSONS AND CAROLS - The Fellowship of St. John the Divine cordially invites you to  a service of Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols, Saturday, December 13, at 5:30 pm (note new time).  This service of prayers, scriptures, and Christmas carols will be followed by a festive pot luck supper.  People whose last names begin with A-P are requested to bring a main dish or salad; Q-Z bring dessert. Drinks will be provided.  For more information contact Tiffany Conroy (chairman of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine) at

CARE PACKAGE HELP - Thanks to all who have donated things for Scott in Iraq , the Fellowship has been able to send three boxes to him so far.  However, the donations box is empty now. We still have some more books to send (our thanks to the very generous donor of all those paperbacks!), but that's about all.  Please give more, so we can continue to send packages to him and his fellow Marines.  He has especially asked for dark blue gatorade powder, protein bars, tuna, beef jerky, sunflower seeds, sour skittles, junk food, and non-perishable food, and long white socks.  A box has been set up in the entry to the Church Offices for your donations.  Thank you!

NEW CHANDELIERS  - The new chandeliers are up, and new sconces are on order! 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. 

NEW PARISHES - The Diocese of Worcester & New England welcomes two new parishes: Emmanuel Church in Warren and Saint Stephen Church in West Brookfield (both will be Western Rite.) The congregations and clergy come to our Archdiocese from the Charismatic Episcopal Church. The faithful have been catechized and chrismated and their leaders have been prepared for ordination this weekend, November 21-23, by Bishop ANTOUN with Liturgies on Friday and Sunday at St George Cathedral, Worcester and Vespers in West Brookfield on Saturday. Their websites are:  and


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 29:  Socrates Deligeorges, Lan Hu, and Eric Ayoub


November 30:    Epistle: Maria McDowell


November 30:   The family of Michael Ayoub


Saturday, November 29:  No Vespers at St. Marys

Sunday, November 30:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;

      No Church School

SCRIPTURE READINGS for November 30: 

Epistle:  St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 4:9-16  Brethren, God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ.


Gospel: John 1:35-52  At that time, John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. ... And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "Where are you staying?"  He said to them, "Come and see." ... Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth ?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." ... Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, ... Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

Wednesday, December 3:  Paraclesis 6:30 pm


Friday, December 5:  Akathist to our Sweetest Lord Jesus 7:00 pm

Saturday, December 6, Feast of St. Nicholas:  Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 7:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;

      Church School lesson in the Sanctuary - St. Nicholas festivities; Pageant Rehearsal 3

Wednesday, December 10 and 17: Paraclesis 6:30 pm

Friday, December 12 and 19:  Akathist to our Sweetest Lord Jesus 7 pm

Saturday, December 13:  Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols 5:30 pm, followed by potluck supper

Sunday, December 20:  Church School Christmas Pageant & Festivities

Wednesday, December 24:  Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 am;  Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  11:00 am;  Orthros 6:45 pm;  Divine Liturgy for the Nativity 8 pm

Thursday, December 25, Feast of the Nativity of our Lord:  No Services at St. Marys


It is for this reason that the Savior says, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God": for He is hidden in the hearts of those who believe in Him. They shall see Him and the riches that are in Him when they have purified themselves through love and self-control; and the greater the purity the more they will see.

   - St. Maximus the Confessor, Fourth Century on Love, sec. 72

Purify yourself and you will see heaven in yourself. In yourself you will see angels and their brightness, and you will see their Master with them and in them. The spiritual homeland of the person whose soul has been purified is within. The sun that shines there is the light of the Trinity. The air breathed by the entering thoughts is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter...Such a person rejoices every hour in the contemplation of his soul and marvels at the beauty that appears, a hundred times brighter than the brightness of the sun. That is the kingdom of God hidden within us, according to the words of the Lord.

   - St. Isaac of Syria

One who is united to God by faith and recognizes Him by action is indeed enabled to see Him by contemplation. He sees things of which I am not able to write. His mind sees visions and is wholly illuminated and becomes like Light, yet he is unable to conceive of them or describe them. His mind is itself Light and sees all things as Light, and the Light has Life and imparts Light to him who sees it. He sees himself wholly united to the Light, and as he sees he concentrates on the vision and is as he was. He perceives the Light in his soul and is in ecstasy.  
   - St. Symeon the New Theologian

When you see a poor person, remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ  by which he declared that it is He, Himself who is fed. For though that which appears be not Christ, yet in that person's form, it is Christ Himself who receives and begs.

   - St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew

We all receive God's blessings equally. But some of us, receiving God's fire, that is, His word, become soft like beeswax, while the others like clay become hard as stone. And if we do not want Him, He does not force any of us, but like the sun He sends His rays and illuminates the whole world, and he who wants to see Him, sees Him, whereas the one who does not want to see Him, is not forced by Him. And no one is responsible for this privation of light except the one who does not want to have it.

   - Saint Peter the Damascene