St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, January 28 - Thursday, February 4, 2016


SATURDAY, 1/30 - No Vespers at St. Mary.
   + Vespers will resume on the first Saturday of each month, starting next Saturday, February 6.

SUNDAY, 1/31 – Adult catechism 9:00; Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 13  
   + Immediately after the Communion Prayers and while Fr. Antony is preparing the Communion, all Church School children and their teachers will line up to be ready for receiving Communion. Once you see the Superintendent of the Church School (Barbara Shoop) walk to the front of the Church, you should send your children up to form a single line in the left aisle. This will allow the Church School children to get to their classes in a timely and orderly manner.  If you have any questions regarding this procedure please see Fr. Antony.

MONDAY, 2/1 - Evening Liturgy for the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord 6:30 pm.

THURSDAY, 2/4 - The
Bible Study group will meet on Thursday February 4, at 7:00 pm in the church library. We will continue our discussion of Isaiah, using the podcasts at and  The Bible Study at St. Mary meets every other Thursday, and is based on a very interesting course originally broadcast on Ancient Faith Radio, entitled Search the Scriptures. For more information contact Marianna Sayeg ( or Fr. Antony ( New members are always welcome.
   + The
Women’s Club will meet Thursday, February 4, at 7:30 pm in the Hall.

THURSDAY 1/28 – Tune in on Thursday, January 28th from 1:00-2:00 pm for a webinar discussing Resources to Help Reduce Symptom Burden and Caregiver Burnout in Older Adults, featuring Dr. Evgenia Litrivis, board certified internist, geriatrician and palliative care physician. The goals of this webinar are to provide an understanding of  1) The beneficial role of palliative care as a medical specialty for age related illnesses;  2) The role of the caregiver and strategies to reduce caregiver burnout, and 3) Advance directives. These topics will be discussed within the context of dementia - a leading cause of illness and need for caregiver support among older adults. This webinar is sponsored by the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Register at  

MONDAY 2/1 - CrossRoad is a ten-day academic summer institute that prepares high school juniors and seniors to make big life decisions and connect with the Orthodox Christian theological and spiritual tradition.  Hosted on the Hellenic College Holy Cross campus, participants experience daily worship, visit local parishes, tour Boston, and spend a day at the beach.  CrossRoad is now accepting applications for their summer 2016 sessions.  Session one: June 18-28. Session 2:  July 5-July 15 Complete your application by February 1, 2016. Applications received after that date will be reviewed on a rolling basis depending on availability.  For more information or to apply online go to


SCOUT SUNDAY – This year, St. Mary’s will observe Scout Sunday on February 7. This is the primary date to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting. Look for the scouts and scout leaders in our parish to be involved in liturgical service that day. If your child is a Boy Scout or Girl Scout (all ages) and would like to participate in Scout Sunday, please send an email to Charlie Marge:


DIOCESE MEETING - There will be a General Assembly meeting of Diocesan Delegates of Antiochian Women and Teen SOYO on Saturday, February 6, here at St. Mary Church..  Morning Prayers start at 9:30 am, meetings at 10:00 and lunch at noon.

NEW YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY - The first event for the new Young Adult Fellowship at St. Mary’s will be Saturday, February 6 – join us on the first Saturday of the month for Great Vespers, food, and fellowship. Other exciting events being planned include a Lenten Friday evening speaker series following the Akathist service; young adult small group discussions; and a retreat at New Skete Monastery. Take a survey at, To learn more or to get involved, email or call Jamil at 617-501-4427.   

THEOPHANY SCHOOL -  Theophany School is now enrolling for fall 2016, and will hold an Open House on Thursday, February 11 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.  They are located at 754 Greendale Ave., Needham, MA.  For further information contact 781-444-3058 or

TEEN SOYO PROJECT: Health and Hygiene Kits for Syrian Refugees - The teens of St. Mary's are looking for your support. Throughout the months of December and January, our teens will be collecting items and putting together hygiene and health kits to send to refugees in Syria.  We are in need of the following donations:
   - Individual hand towels & washcloths 
   - Combs 
   - Metal nail files and/or nail clippers 
   - Bars of soap
   - Toothbrushes
   - Band-Aids
Basic items like this may seem small, but putting them together can have a major impact to those in need. Please bring and place donations in the  marked bins located in the room next to the church kitchen. If you have any questions, please ask a member of Teen SOYO.

PLEASE HELP THE WOMEN’S CLUB - The Women’s Club provides the Cambridge YWCA Family Shelter with baskets filled with household goods, to help residents ready to move to their own apartments.  We ask for your help by providing monetary donations to offset the cost of the items. Please give your donation to Marilyn Robbat or Barbara Shoop or mail it to the Church office c/o the Woman’s Club.  

PLEDGE - Please return Pledge Cards to the church, or ePledge on St. Mary’s website, immediately.

HOUSE BLESSING - Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Theophany (January 5), and between Pascha and Pentecost.  We bless homes to reveal the home as what God created it to be, a way to heaven; to rid the home of every evil;  to show that the family is a small church unit in Christ; to consecrate the home and all activity in it to God; and to fill the home and all who live in it with the fullness of God.  To schedule the blessing of your home, please use the form in the weekly Bulletin or call the church office at 617-547-1234.

ST. IGNATIUS GET-TOGETHER - The Order of St. Ignatius Winter Get Together will be February 14 at Kens Steak House in Framingham.  Cocktails at 4:00 pm and dinner at 5:00 pm.  Any questions contact Debbie Laham at

PARISH COUNCIL - Congratulations to the newly elected officers of the parish council: Mary Winstanley O’Connor, President; Raymond Sayeg, Vice President; Nick Bezreh, Treasurer; and Marc Patacchiola, Secretary
   + The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Wednesday, February 17, at 7:30.

CHINESE NEW YEAR – Plan to join the Hospitality Group on Sunday, February 21 after Liturgy, for the annual Chinese New Year Missions Breakfast, to benefit the Chinese Translation Project via the Orthodox Fellowship of All Saints of China (OFASC). RSVP to Mitrophan Chin at by Wednesday, February 17.  We look forward to your support of this worthwhile project and to seeing you at this event!.

PRE-LENTEN RETREAT - The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Worcester & New England invite you to a Pre-Lenten Retreat on Saturday, February 27.  The Retreat, entitled “The Light at the End of the Tunnel,”  will be from 9:00 - 2:30 at St. John of Damascus Church, Dedham.  See the flyer insert in the Sunday Bulletin for reservation and payment form.

ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE SUMMER CAMP -  Registration for Summer Camp at Antiochian Village has begun.  St. Mary’s Children attend 3rd session.  The camper fee is $750 for the two-week camp session. Camper fees paid in full by March 1 receive a $50 discount.  Register on line at

ICONOGRAPHY PRESENTATION - The St. Mary Women’s Club will be hosting an Iconography presentation by Iconographer Khouria Erin Kimmett of St. George Norwood on Friday evening, March 18, immediately following the Medayeh/Akathist service. Watch for more information.

COFFEE HOUR MADE EASY! - To make sponsoring a Coffee Hour a little bit easier, St. Mary’s will be offering a delivery service through “Instacart”, for the basic foods necessary to host a Coffee hour.  Simply select a date, mail a check to the office and we will order the food and have it delivered to the church on that Sunday between 9:00 and 10:00 am.  You will need to be at the church to accept the order and you will be required to set up for the coffee hour and clean up both the kitchen and hall at the end of the coffee hour.  Two menus will be offered.  Menu one will include: bagels, mini muffins, fruit, hummus/Syrian bread, juice and coffee for $160.  Menu two will include: bagels, juice and coffee for $70. Prices DO NOT include a 20% tip for delivery and are subject to change based on current market pricing of items.  Cream cheese, peanut butter, jam and coffee creamer are included with each menu.  As usual, St. Mary’s will provide the plates, cups, napkins, utensils, serving platters, and sweetener for coffee.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this service and signing up for a coffee hour please contact the office at 617-547-1234 or e-mail

As Fr. Antony pointed out last week, 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:

BE A GREETER – If you do not sing in the choir, or chant, serve in the Altar or at the Bengarri, and  are not a Church School teacher,  please consider serving the Church as a Greeter!  Greeters arrive 15 minutes before Liturgy, get a Greeter Name Tag from the Bengarri, pin it on and greet visitors/parishioners at the Church Entrance and direct them upstairs to the Church, or to the cloakroom or restrooms.  Greeting time ends when Communion starts.  Send your name and e-mail address to Buddy Mabardy: or phone him 781-729-6303.

LITURGICAL SERVICE – Each Sunday, members of the congregation are needed to read the Epistle and assist during Communion by holding the Communion Cloths and Blessed Bread.  All Orthodox Christians in the Parish are welcome and encouraged to participate. We usually need one Epistle reader and four people to hold the cloths.  If you would like to read the Epistle or assist during Communion, please contact Jeff Wasilko, 781-820-0882,
   Also, members of the Church School and others help by carrying the Icon, Candlesticks, and Bread Baskets in procession during the Great Entrance, and presenting the Bread to be blessed during the Liturgy. To volunteer for this service please contact Teva Regule at

CHOIR – St. Mary’s Church Choir is open to anyone interested in making a commitment to sing each Sunday at Divine Liturgy. Please feel free to join them and/or introduce yourself to the director, Michelle Mabardy, any Sunday after Liturgy.

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 new signup sheet on the bulletin board outside the Hall or call Barbara Shoop 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 monthly Cornerstone), or ask Barbara at or 617-547-1234.

PRISON MINISTRY – If you would like to find out more about Prison Ministry at St. Mary’s Church, please subscribe to our mailing list at Also - please donate unwanted past issues of Orthodox magazines such as The Word, OCMC or other periodicals to our prison ministry to hand out to inmates.  Please remove any personal mailing address for security purposes and give them to Mitrophan Chin.

VIDEO EDITING – Volunteers are wanted to assist with video editing of sermons and lectures. We are looking for volunteers to assist with some basic video editing to post the sermons and lectures from St. Mary's online. If you have experience with digital video editing, please let Jamil Samara or Erick Straghalis know you are interested - email

PHOTOGRAPHERS AND GRAPHIC DESIGNERS – Are you a photographer or a graphic designer? Would you be willing to share your talents with St. Mary Church and her ministries? We are looking for you to help photograph the divine services and events and to design promotional material for events and programs at our parish. Please contact Jamil Samara at with any questions, and to let him know that you are interested in getting more involved.


Timothy, my son, the saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things. Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you. Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress.
   - 1 Timothy 1:9-15

At that time, Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus; he was a chief collector, and rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it they all murmured, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost."
   - Luke 19:1-10

Long before the actual beginning of Lent, the Church announces its approach and invites us to enter into the period of pre-lenten preparation. … This preparation includes five consecutive Sundays preceding Lent, each one of them – through its particular Gospel lesson – dedicated to some fundamental aspect of repentance.
   The very first announcement of Lent is made the Sunday on which the Gospel lesson about Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) is read. It is the story of a man who was too short to see Jesus but who desired so much to see Him that he climbed up a tree. Jesus responded to his desire and went to his house. Thus the theme of this first announcement is desire. … Zacchaeus desired the "right thing"; he wanted to see and approach Christ. He is the first symbol of repentance, for repentance begins as the rediscovery of the deep nature of all desire: the desire for God and His righteousness, for the true life.
   - Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

The stand of the Lord towards Zacchaeus should serve as a lesson for Christians. Through His stand the Lord showed that we ought to embrace sinners with our love and not to avoid them. It shows us that we ought to seek the power of God to bring them to the regeneration which is effected by our Savior Jesus Christ. So let us approach sinners with love. And if in the end we do not succeed in bringing them close and fully to the path of God, let us even then not cease praying for them. Perhaps our fervent prayer will be listened to by our compassionate God and He will grant to them the regeneration of their soul.
   - Spiritual counsels of St. Raphael, Modern Orthodox Saints, Vol. 10: Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos

He who busies himself with the sins of others, or judges his brother on suspicion, has not yet even begun to repent or to examine himself so as to discover his own sins...
   - St. Maximus the Confessor, Third Century on Love, no. 55

Christians should judge no one, neither an open harlot, nor sinners, nor dissolute people, but should look upon all with simplicity of soul and a pure eye. Purity of heart, indeed, consists in seeing sinful and weak men and having compassion for them and being merciful.
   - Abba Macarius the Great

Therefore, casting out of our souls all faithlessness, sloth, and hesitation, let us draw near with all our heart, with unhesitating faith and burning desire, like slaves who have been newly purchased with precious blood. Indeed, with reverence for the price paid on our behalf, and with love for our Master Who paid it, and as having accepted His love for us, let us recognize that, if He had not wished to save by means of Himself us who have been purchased, He would not have come down to earth, nor would He have been slain for our sake. But, as it is written, He has done this because He wills that all should be saved. Listen to Him say it Himself: 'I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world' (Jn. 12:17).
   - St. Symeon the New Theologian, On the Mystical Life