St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, March 10 - Thursday, March 17, 2016


SATURDAY, 3/12 – Please come to the church on Saturday morning, 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.

   + Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour Saturday night, so you’ll be sure to get to church on time Sunday morning.

SUNDAY, 3/13, Forgiveness SundayDaylight savings time begins – Adult catechism 9:00; Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 18

   + March is Antiochian Women’s month. Each Sunday in March women of our parish will read the Epistle, take the collection, assist during Communion, and give 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.

   + This Sunday the homily is on The Hymn of Kassiani and the Lamentations/Praises of Holy Saturday Matins. Homilist is Maggie Arnold-Rodriguez

   + Women's Club Lenten food sale order pick-up during coffee hour

   + Forgiveness Vespers at 6:00pm. The last thing we do before beginning the Lenten fast is forgive each other, and ask everyone to forgive us, in this very moving service. 

MONDAY, 3/14 – First day of Great Lent

TUESDAY, 3/15 – Little Compline with Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm.

   + If you want to read the Great Canon throughout Lent, as recommended in last week’s sermon, a helpful book is First Fruits of Prayer, by Frederica Matthewes-Green. It divides the Canon into forty sections – one for each day of Lent – and provides helpful notes that identify the biblical source of each reference, plus comments and suggestions for your own meditation.

WEDNESDAY, 3/16 – Presanctified Liturgy 6:30, followed by Potluck Supper.

   + Do stay for the Potluck and bring something to share.  Any Lenten fare is welcome:  main courses, sides, salads, desserts, as well as beverages and snacks.  This is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship during Lent, plus we get to sample each other's Lenten recipes. This week’s lead is Melissa Nassiff,

THURSDAY, 3/17 - Great Canon of St. Andrew 7:00 pm.


RIDES TO CHURCH FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS - Do you live near a college or university? Are you able to offer a ride to and from St. Mary Church for a student? Are you a college student in need of a ride? Contact St. Mary’s Young Adult Ministry at 617-564-3344 or to sign up or to learn more!

SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY – Next Sunday, March 20, is the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Bring your icon to church for the procession. There will be a short music lesson for Church School children after Communion.

WOMEN’S CLUB - The next Women’s Club meeting will be Monday, April 4, 7:30 at the church.

HOMESCHOOLING CONFERENCE – There will be a St. Emmelia Homeschooling Conference at the Antiochian Village and Retreat Center Thursday–Sunday, April 7-10.  Fr. Noah Bushelli, Director of the Department. of Homeschooling for the Antiochian Archdiocese will present topics of homeschooling and the marriage relationship.  For more information visit

RELIC ON DISPLAY - A Relic of St. Charbel is touring the US and will be displayed for veneration at Our Lady of the Cedars Church, Rockwood Ave., Jamaica Plain, on Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17.  Everyone is welcome.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Tuesday, April 19 at 7:30 at the church


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.  Upcoming homilies:

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

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

POTLUCK SUPPER COORDINATORS NEEDED - Every Wednesday during Lent (March 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13, 20), we need a lead to coordinate a potluck 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.

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 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.

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.

BIBLE STUDY - The next meeting of Bible Study group will be on Thursday, 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.


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.

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 NEWS – A big Thank You to Linda Arnold, who is now serving as our volunteer Coffee Hour Coordinator. Contact her at or 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.

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



… put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.  As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinion.  One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables.  Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him.  Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?  It is before his own master that he stands or falls.  And he will be upheld, for God is able to make him stand.

   - Romans 13:11-14:4


The Lord said to his Disciples, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” 

   - Matthew 6:14-21


When you have peace and love for all, then your prayer is acceptable, and your offering well-pleasing, and your house blessed and you blessed. But if you are not reconciled with your brother, how can you seek pardon from me? You trample on my words, and do you demand pardon? I, your Master, demand, and you pay no attention, and do you, a slave, dare to offer me prayer, or sacrifice, or first fruits, while you have enmity against someone? Just as you turn your face from your brother, so I too turn my eyes from your gift and your prayer.

   - St. Ephrem the Syrian

Do we forgive our neighbors their trespasses? God also forgives us in His mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to forgive us. As we treat our neighbors, so also does God treat us. The forgiveness, then, of your sins or unforgiveness, and hence also your salvation or destruction, depend on you yourself. For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see for yourself how terrible it is.

   - St. Philotheos of Sinai

When our hearts are reluctant we often have to compel ourselves to pray for our enemies, to pour out prayer for those who are against us. Would that our hearts were filled with love! How frequently we offer a prayer for our enemies, but do it because we are commanded to, not out of love for them. We ask the gift of life for them even while we are afraid that our prayer may be heard. The judge of our soul considers our hearts rather than our words. Those who do not pray for their enemies out of love are not asking anything for their benefit.

     Jesus, our advocate, has composed a prayer for our case. And our advocate is also our judge. He has inserted a condition in the prayer that reads, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Sometimes we say these words without carrying them out. Thus our words bind us more tightly.

   – St. Gregory the Great

Considering all these things then, and … remembering that to wipe away sins does not entail much labor and zeal, let us pardon those who have wronged us.  For that which others scarcely accomplish – I mean the blotting out of their own sins by means of fasting and lamentations, and prayers, and sackcloth, and ashes – this it is possible for us easily to effect without sackcloth and ashes and fasting, if only we blot out anger from our heart, and with sincerity forgive those who have wronged us.

   - St. John Chrysostom

Let us begin the time of fasting in light, preparing ourselves for the spiritual efforts. Let us purify our soul; let us purify our body.  As from food, let us abstain from all passion and enjoy the virtues of the spirit, so that perfected in time by love we may all be made worthy to see the Passion of Christ and the Holy Pascha in spiritual joy!

   - Stichira for Forgiveness Vespers