St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, February 25 through Thursday, March 3, 2016


SATURDAY. 2/27 – No Vespers at St. Mary. The next Vespers service will be Saturday, March 5.

SUNDAY, 2/28 – Adult catechism 9:00; Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 16 

   + 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.

THURSDAY, 3/3 - The Bible Study group will meet next Thursday, March 3, at 7:00 pm in the church library. Taking a break from the Old Testament, we will study instead the Trials, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, using the first 3 podcasts at After this our next meeting will be on March 31.

   The Bible Study at St. Mary 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.


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. 

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.

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 


HELP MAKE SPINACH TRIANGLES – Please come to the church on Saturday morning, March 12, starting at 9:30 am to help make Spinach Triangles with the Women's Club. Lots of help will be needed – young and old, women and men are all welcome - and it's always lots of fun. Lunch will be provided.

COFFEE HOUR NEWS – A big Thank You to Linda Arnold, who is now serving as our volunteer Coffee Hour Coordinator. Her contact information is and 978-270-0346. Please feel free to let her know of your interest in hosting a coffee hour, especially if you have not done so in the past. She will be happy to guide you through the process. Note: We need a coffee hour host for Sunday, March 20.


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 still 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.

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 taking the collection or assisting during Communion (Epistles and 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. 

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)

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.

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.

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.

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 - On Friday evening, March 18, immediately following the Medayeh/Akathist service (which begins at 7:00 pm), the St. Mary Women’s Club will be hosting a presentation on “The Icons of Holy Week and Pascha,” by Khouria Erin Kimmett, a Byzantine Iconographer. All are welcome to attend; coffee and light refreshments will be served.

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 Prodigal Son


... Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body and in your spirit which belong to God.

   -1 Corinthians 6:12-20


The Lord said this parable: "There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. ...when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.' ... while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. ... the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' 

   - Luke 15:11-32


The human soul is a spirit created by God, and only in God, who has created it in His own image and likeness, can it find contentment and rest, peace, consolation and joy. Once separated from Him, it seeks for satisfaction among created things, and feeds itself on passions, on husks, food for pigs; but finding not its true repose, nor its true satisfaction, it dies at length of hunger. For spiritual food is a necessity to the soul. 

   - St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

I have recklessly forgotten Your glory, O Father; And among sinners I have scattered the riches which You gave to me. And now I cry to You as the Prodigal: I have sinned before You, O merciful Father; Receive me as a penitent and make me as one of Your hired servants.

   - Kontakian of the Prodigal Son

How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? (Luke 15:11 ff.). None other but His very Son said these things concerning Him, lest we doubt it

   - St. Isaac the Syrian

Even if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned, why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him as powerless? Is He, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? And if you say that this fact, as well as His incarnation, only makes your condemnation worse, then repent and He will receive your repentance as He accepted that of the prodigal son and the prostitute.

   - St. Peter of Damascus 

At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins. Putting them off year after year, month after month, day after day, you will not at all desire with your whole heart to repent, and you will not find one to have compassion on you.

   - St. Paisius Velichkovsky