St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, March 3 - Thursday, March 10, 2016


THURSDAY, 3/3 - The Bible Study group will meet tonight, 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.

SATURDAY, 3/5 – Join us this Saturday beginning at 5:00 pm for Great Vespers with a Young Adult potluck dinner to follow. All Young Adults are welcome to the potluck. Any questions, contact Chris at 301-807-8378.

SUNDAY, 3/6, Meatfare Sunday – Adult catechism 9:00; Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 17

   + 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 carry candles for the Gospel and the Great Entrance, carry the icon of the day for the Great Entrance, and carry and present the bread baskets.

    + The Hospitality Group invites you to join us downstairs after Liturgy for a delicious breakfast of bacon, hash browns, sausage, pancakes, and more, cooked by our own Chef Socrates and a few volunteers. The cost is just $8/person, $16/family. This is the last Sunday we can eat meat until Pascha!

   + The Women's Club is taking orders for their annual Lenten food sale of Spinach Triangles, Hoomos, and Mjadara. Order deadline is this Sunday, March 6; order pick-up is next Sunday, March 13.

WEDNESDAY, 3/9 – The next meeting of the Parish Council has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, at 7:30 pm at the church.


SATURDAY, 3/5 - St. George Worcester, invites you to a Hafli featuring Fares Karam and Mitch Kaltsunasn.  Doors open 8:30pm, Mazza & Dinner 9:30pm. Cost: $90 and up.  For reservations call George El-Houssan, 774-696-4174.


HELP NEEDED FOR MEATFARE BREAKFAST - At least three more volunteers are needed to help our head chef Socrates prepare food at 2:00pm on Saturday (March 5th). We also need clean-up help on Sunday after the breakfast. Please contact Mike Decerbo if you can help at either of these times -

FRIDAYS OF GREAT LENT - Join us every Friday of Great Lent for beautiful, joyous divine services and interesting, inspiring speakers sponsored by the Women’s Club (3/18) and by the Young Adult Ministry (4/1 & 4/8), with refreshments. The schedule is as follows.
   March 18:  Akathist/Madayeh 7:00 pm, followed by "The Icons of Holy Week & Pascha" - Kh. Erin Kimmett, Iconographer
   March 25:  Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos: 6:30 pm Vesperal Divine Liturgy, No Speaker
   April 1:  Akathist/Madayeh 7:00 pm, followed by "On Contemplative and Silent Prayer" - Dr. Albert Raboteau, Ph.D.
   April 8 Akathist/Madayeh 7:00 pm, followed by "Watchfulness and the Seven Deadly Sins" - Dr. Anthony Bashir, Ph.D.
   April 15: Full Akathist Hymn 7:00 pm, no speaker

TEEN LENTEN RETREAT – We will join teens from all over New England for one of the best events of the year -- the annual teen Lenten retreat Friday-Sunday, March 25-27 at the Saint Methodios Faith & Heritage Center. All teens, grades 7-12, are welcome. Antiochian Village’s Marek Simon will lead the retreat.  You must register by March 18. The cost for the weekend is $95 per teen. If the cost is prohibitive, please see Hannah or Greg.

TEEN SOYO DAY OF SERVICE - The teens will participate in Teen SOYO's national day of service on Saturday, March 19. We will meet to assemble hygiene kits for the Syrian refugees and then go out for a social event. Save the date -- exact timing and details to be determined.

   Syrian-Lebanese Women’s club - Scholarships ($1,000) are available from the Syrian-Lebanese Women’s club of Greater Boston to young women of Syrian and Lebanese origin, residing in Massachusetts within 50-mile radius of Boston, who plan to pursue a four-year college education.  Scholarships are based on outstanding academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, charitable and civic involvement and good character; and applicants must be in good academic standing in her school and possess those personal attributes, which best serve the community.  Applications are available through the Church Office and must be postmarked by March 31, 2016.  If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at

Francis Maria Scholarship - Several $2500 scholarships will be awarded to students attending an accredited 4-year college. See the Archdiocese Scholarship page, Applications must be postmarked by May 15, 2016.

Antiochian Women’s Scholarship - Scholarships are available to females 25 years of age and older in good standing of the Antiochian Archdiocese, actively involved in their parish and who demonstrate need.  The application deadline is June 1, 2016.  Applications are available in the Church Office.  E-mail with any questions.


WOMEN’S MONTH - March is Antiochian Women’s month. We invite all women of St. Mary Church to be included. If you wish to participate in taking the collection or assisting during Communion, 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. We look forward to your help with Women’s Month. 

MARCH HOMILIES - 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.

   March 6 - The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete (Homilist: Melissa Nassiff)

   March 13 - The Hymn of Kassiani and the Lamentations/Praises of Holy Saturday Matins (Homilist: Maggie Arnold-Rodriguez)

   March 20 - The Paschal Canon (Homilist: Kyra Limberakis)

   March 27 - Marian Hymns for the Annunciation (Homilist: Natasha Smith

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.

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.

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.

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

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! 

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



Brethren, food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak… Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother's falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.

   -1 Corinthians 8:8-13; 9:1-2


The Lord said, "When the Son of man comes in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' …

   - Matthew 25:31-46


The parable of the Last Judgment is about Christian love. Not all of us are called to work for "humanity," yet each one of us has received the gift and the grace of Christ's love. …we know that however narrow and limited the framework of our personal existence, each one of us has been made responsible for a tiny part of the Kingdom of God, made responsible by that very gift of Christ's love. Thus, on whether or not we have accepted this responsibility, on whether we have loved or refused to love, shall we be judged. …

   - Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

Acts of mercy must be concrete, physical actions. They cannot be “in word and speech, but in deed and truth.  Acts of mercy are acts done to Christ himself… Christian acts of mercy must be sacrificial. By this, we understand that we must not simply give to others what is left over. We have to be sharing our possessions with others in ways that limit ourselves in some way. And, acts of mercy should be done without qualification or condition to everyone, no matter who, what or how they are.

   - Fr. Thomas Hopko

If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the Church door, you will not find him in the Chalice.

   – St. John Chrysostom

The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.

   - St. Basil the Great 

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