St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, February 18 - Thursday, February 25, 2016


THURSDAY, 2/18 - The Bible Study group will meet this evening, Thursday, February 18, 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.

SATURDAY. 2/20 – No Vespers at St. Mary. The next Vespers service will be Saturday, March 5.

SUNDAY, 2/21 – Adult catechism 9:00; Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 15
   + 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 on the left. 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.
   + Plan to join the Hospitality Group this Sunday 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). We look forward to your support of this worthwhile project and to seeing you at this event!


WINTERFEST – St. George church invites you to their Winterfest on Saturday, February 27: 5:30pm Vespers, 6:30pm appetizers, 7:00pm Karaoke, 8:00pm Dinner and 9:30pm Hafli.  Price: Ages 6-18 $40 and over 18 years of age $80. For tickets contact Louise Ferguson at 617-894-2994 or Fadi Metri 781-985-0708.

MONTHLY GREAT VESPERS and YOUNG ADULT FELLOWSHIP - Join us on Saturday, March 5, 2016 beginning at 5:00 pm for Great Vespers with a potluck dinner to follow. All Young Adults are welcome to the potluck. Any questions, contact Chris at 301-807-8378.

HAFLI - St. George Worcester, invites you to a Hafli featuring Fares Karam and Mitch Kaltsunas, on Saturday, March 5.  Doors open 8:30pm, Mazza & Dinner 9:30pm. Cost: $90 and up.  For reservations call George El-Houssan, 774-696-4174.

MARCH SERMONS - During the month of March, women from the parish will be sharing their thoughts on “The Hymnography of the Lenten and Paschal Seasons.”  Much of our theology is embedded in the hymns of the church. This series will allow us to focus on them more particularly, uplifting their themes and showing how the hymns can speak to us today.
   3/6 - The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete (Homilist: Melissa Nassiff)
   3/13 - The Hymn of Kassiani and the Lamentations/Praises of Holy Saturday Matins (Homilist: Maggie Arnold-Rodriguez)
   3/20 - The Paschal Canon (Homilist: Kyra Limberakis)
   3/27 - Marian Hymns for the Annunciation (Homilist: Natasha Smith)

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, at 7:30 pm at the church.

FORGIVENESS SUNDAY, CHEESEFARE SUNDAYSunday, March 13, is Forgiveness Sunday. This is the last day we eat cheese and dairy foods before Great Lent begins, and on the evening of this day join us for Forgiveness Vespers at 6:00pm.


ST. MARY T-SHIRTS - The Teens have a few T-shirts remaining from their sale last spring, and will be selling them during coffee hour until they are gone.  Get your St. Mary T-shirt while they last! 

TEEN SOYO PROJECT: Health and Hygiene Kits for Syrian Refugees - The teens of St. Mary's are looking for your support in 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.

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.

ALL THAT JAZZ – You are invited to a musical reception to benefit IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) on Saturday, February 27, at the Maliotis Cultural Center at Hellenic College, 50 Goddard Avenue Brookline, MA. For information and to register or donate on line, go to               

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  

WOMEN’S MONTH - March is Antiochian Women’s month. Each Sunday in March women of our parish will be reading the Epistle, taking the collection, assisting during Communion, and giving the homily. They will also participate in the Liturgical Services ministry: carrying candles for the Gospel and the Great Entrance, carrying the icon of the day for the Great Entrance, and carrying and presenting the bread baskets. We invite all women of St. Mary Church to be included. If you wish to participate in reading the Epistle, taking the collection or assisting during Communion (homilies have already been assigned), please sign up on the sheet at the Bengarri, or contact Marilyn Robbat at 781-729-3033 or the Church office at 617-547-1234. To participate in the Liturgical Services ministry contact Teva Regule at We look forward to your help with Women’s Month. 

MEATFARE SUNDAY BREAKFAST – The Hospitality Group invites you to join us downstairs after Liturgy on Sunday, March 6 for a delicious breakfast of bacon, hash browns, sausage, pancakes, and more, cooked by our own Chef Socrates and hopefully a few volunteers - please email Soc at if you can help. The cost is just $8/person, $16/family. This is the last Sunday we can eat meat until Pascha.

LENTEN FOOD SALE - The Women's Club is now taking orders for their annual Lenten food sale. Use the order form in the Sunday bulletin to place your order for Spinach Triangles, Hoomos, and Mjadara. Order deadline is Sunday, March 6; order pick-up is Sunday, March 13.

GREAT LENT – Lent will begin on Monday, March 14, 2016

CANON OF ST. ANDREW – On Tuesday and Thursday, March 15 and 17, we will pray Little Compline with the Great Canon of St. Andrew at 7:00 pm.

PRE-SANCTIFIED POTLUCK SUPPERS - Every Wednesday during Lent (March 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13, 20), we need a lead to coordinate a potluck supper after pre-Sanctified Liturgy. Being the lead means a) providing a main dish, b) coordinating what others bring if asked, and c) coordinating setup and cleanup. As with coffee hour, if there is no potluck leader, then there is no potluck. Contact Julie Wasilko ( for the potluck lead instruction sheet, or to sign up as a potluck lead.

AKATHIST (MADAYEH) - On Fridays, March 18, April 1, 8 and 15, we will pray the Akathist to the Theotokos at 7:00 pm.

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.

ANNUNCIATION – Join us on Friday, March 25, for Vesperal Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Annunciation to the Holy Theotokos, 6:30 pm.

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

SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR THIS SUNDAY, the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee 


… all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
   - 2 Timothy 3:10-15

The Lord said this parable, "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
   - Luke 18:10-14

All the Holy Fathers lived a good life, a quiet life. All of them say that the perfection of the Christian life is in extreme humility. This means that patient long-suffering is what we most need in this life. We must bear everything patiently and forgive all.
   - Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

 Although prayer is a habitual action for us, it needs preparation…So, morning or evening, immediately before you begin to repeat your prayers, stand a while, sit for a while, or walk a little and try to steady your mind and turn it away from all worldly activities and objects.  After this, think who He is to whom you turn in prayer, then recollect who you are; who it is who is about to start this invocation to Him in prayer.  Do this in such a way as to wake in your heart a feeling of humility and reverent awe that you are standing in the presence of God. 
   - St. Theophan the Recluse, The Path of Prayer

The Lord has taught us how to acquire wise humility, saying: "Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:29). If you too want to find perfect rest, understand what the Lord has endured and suffer the same; and cut off your will in all things. The Lord Himself says: "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me" (John 6:38). And perfect humility consists in enduring blame and abuse and other things which our Teacher, Christ Jesus, has suffered. The same is also a sign that a man has touched perfect prayer -- namely the fact that he is no longer troubled even if the whole world were to abuse him.
   - St. Barsanuphius and St. John 

How will it be with us in the future life, when everything that has gratified us in this world: riches, honors, food and drink, dress, beautifully furnished dwellings, and all attractive objects - how will it be, I say, when all these things leave us - when they will all seem to us a dream, and when works of faith and virtue, of abstinence, purity, meekness, humility, mercy, patience, obedience, and others will be required of us?
   - St. John of Kronstadt

Many flatter themselves and consider themselves to be good, humble, and meek, but they will discover the contrary under temptation. Do not become despondent in temptations, then, but give all the more thanks to God that He thus brings you to knowledge of yourself and wishes you to be corrected and be saved.
   - St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

But if you are fearful of becoming self-righteous from working for your own salvation, or afraid of being overcome by spiritual pride, examine yourself and observe that the person who is afraid of becoming self-righteous suffers from blindness. For he does not know how self-righteous he is.
   - Way of the Ascetics