St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the week Friday, December 12, 2008 through Thursday, December 18, 2008



The Fellowship of St. John the Divine cordially invites you to  a service of Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols, accompanied by the Summer Street Brass Quintet, this Saturday, December 13, at 5:30 pm.  This beautiful service of prayers, scriptures, and Christmas carols will be followed by a festive Lenten 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 (chair of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine) at

The Fellowship needs help setting up the Hall and decorating on Saturday afternoon. Please come around 3:30 or 4:00 to help.

Teens - St. Mary Church in Pawtucket is hosting a NEMO (New England Mission Outreach) Advent Day of Service on Saturday December 13 from 8am to 6pm in Providence , RI .  Meet and attend Vespers at St. Mary's Church, 249 High Street , Pawtucket , RI .  Cost of $5 per participant includes breakfast and lunch.  Please dress warmly and in clothing that may get stained.  Donations of the following are welcome: Warm blankets, Warm hats and gloves, Peanut butter and jelly, Cases of bottled water, Gently-used clothing,  New or used (clean) children's books and toys. 


Christmas Pageant dress rehearsal will be held during coffee hour.   If you are interested in helping with the pageant, please speak to Charlie Marge or e-mail him at

Parish Council Election ballots have been sent out to eligible members of the parish.  Please vote for up to four individuals and return your ballot by this Sunday, December 15, 2008.


CHURCH SCHOOL CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES - Join us next Sunday, December 21, 2008 for the  Church School Nativity Pageant and the Christmas Festivities Coffee Hour.  Pizza, Salad, Dessert and Beverages will be served. Cost for the food - Adults:  $5.00,  College Students:  $3.00, Church School Students:  FREE

CROSSROADS - High School Juniors and Seniors:  The Office of Vocation & Ministry at Hellenic College is now accepting applications for its summer CrossRoad program.  Two sessions are offered:  June 20 - 30 and July 7 - 17, 2009.  For more information and application see or call 617-850-1309.  Application deadline is  March 1, 2009 for first consideration.


CHRISTMAS IN IRAQ - The Fellowship is still collecting items for care packages to send to Scott, a friend of Fr. Antony who is a Marine in Iraq . Thanks to all who have donated things, the Fellowship has been able to send four boxes to him so far.  However, the donations box is empty now, and Christmas is coming. Please give more, so we can continue to send packages to him and his fellow Marines, especially now.  He has 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!

2009 WEEKLY OFFERING ENVELOPES are ready for pick-up outside of the Church Office.  Look for your name alphabetically.  Remember:  if you have chosen to pay periodically, you have not been assigned weekly envelopes.  If you wish to change your payment arrangements, see or call Marilyn Robbat in the Church Office 617-547-1234.

2009 Church Calendars have not yet arrived.

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. 


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.



December 13:  Sandra Kondratiuk and Eric Ayoub


December 14:     


December 14:   The Bernardi family


Friday, December 12, St. Herman of AlaskaVesperal Liturgy 6:30 pm (note change)

Saturday, December 13:  Western Rite Evensong with Lessons and Carols 5:30 pm,

      followed by Potluck Supper

Sunday, December 14:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;

      Church School lesson 10; Pageant Dress Rehearsal

SCRIPTURE READINGS for December 14: 

Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Colossians 3:4-11  Brethren, when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. ...

Gospel: Luke 14:16-24; Matthew 22:14

The Lord said this parable: "A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time of the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for all is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses."

Wednesday, December 17:  Paraclesis 6:30 pm


Friday, December 19:  Akathist to our Sweetest Lord Jesus 7:00 pm

Saturday, December 20:  Vespers 5:00 pm

Sunday, December 21:  Orthros  8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;

      Church School Pageant & Christmas Ferstivities

Wednesday, December 24:  Nativity Services - Royal Hours for the Nativity 9:00 am;  Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil  11:00 am;  Orthros 6:30 pm (note time change);  Divine Liturgy for the Nativity 8:00 pm

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

Saturday, December 27:  No Vespers at St. Marys


Fasting is acceptable to God when abstention from food is accompanied by refraining from sins, from envy, from hatred, from calumny, from vainglory, from wordiness, from other evils. He who is fasting the true fast that is agreeable to God ought to shun all these things with all his strength and zeal, and remain impregnable and unshakable against all the attacks of the Evil one that are planned from that quarter. On the other hand, he who practices abstention from food, but does not keep self-control in the face of the aforesaid passions, is like unto one who lays down splendid foundations for a house, yet takes serpents and scorpions and vipers as fellow-dwellers therein.    - St. Photios the Great

The enemy - wanting to overpower the intelligence, a skilled commander - first addles its wits with gluttonous and promiscuous thoughts, treating it derisively and dismissing it from its command as though it were a drunken general; then he uses anger and desire as servants of his own will. Free in this way from the control of the intelligence, these powers - the desiring and the incensive powers - use the five senses as aids in sinning openly.

   - St. Philotheos of Sinai, Texts on Watchfulness no. 18

You say your incapacity to resist temptations, your slowness to conquer your passions, and your general moral debility depresses you greatly, which only proves that you count on acquiring salvation by your own merits.

   - St. Macarius, Elder of Optina

The Holy Spirit, in compassion for our weakness, comes to us even when we are still impure; and if only He finds our mind sincerely praying to Him, descends upon it and disperses all the swarm of thoughts and images which surrounds it, thus disposing it towards desire for spiritual prayer.

   - St. Nilus of Sinai, Early Fathers from the Philokalia

Grant me the Spirit of wisdom in my thoughts, the Spirit of prudence in my ignorance. Let the Spirit of the awe of You overshadow my deeds. Renew a steadfast Spirit in my breast, and let your guiding Spirit make firm my errant mind, so that each day, led by your good Spirit towards that which is profitable, I may be worthy to keep Your commandments, ever mindful of your glorious and soul­searching presence. Do not allow me to be beguiled by the world's corrupting delights, but rather to desire the enjoyment of future treasures

   - Kneeling Vespers of Pentecost,  The Second Prayer