St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, January 12 - Thursday, January 19, 2017


THURSDAY, 1/12 - The Bible Study group will meet tonight - Thursday, January 12 - at 7:00 pm in the church library. For more information contact Fr. Antony ( ( ). New members are always welcome. The next meeting will be Thursday, January 26.

SUNDAY, 1/15 - Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am;  no Church School

THURSDAY, 1/19 - UniteBoston nurtures Christian unity, and seeks to pursue reconciliation among all Christians in Boston through shared experiences. The experiences we have together lead to relationships, mutual understanding, and agape love among brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore breaking down the walls that currently divide the Christian community.  The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (  is an international initiative where Christians worldwide are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17:21).

Locally, UniteBoston is coordinating seven consecutive evening collaborative gatherings of prayer and worship, from January 18 through 25, 2017.  On Thursday, January 19 at 7:00pm, Orthodox Churches, including the Coptic Orthodox Church of Boston, will hold vespers here at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church followed by a reception in the church hall.  For a full schedule of services go to


MEATFARE SUNDAY BREAKFAST - The annual Meatfare Sunday Breakfast sponsored by the Hospitality Group will be Sunday, February 12 (actually the week before Meatfare Sunday). Suggested Donation:  $7 per person, $14 per family.

+ The Hospitality Group could use your help with setting up, cooking, and serving the breakfast that morning starting at 9:00 am, as well as cleaning up afterward.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council will be Wednesday, February 22, at 7:30.

FORGIVENESS VESPERS – Forgiveness Sunday (aka Cheesefare Sunday) is Sunday, February 26, the last day before Lent begins. Forgiveness Vespers will be at 6:00pm.

VIDEO EDITING HELP WANTED - 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 (


PARISH COUNCIL MEMBERS – Congratulations to the newly elected members of the Parish Council: Paul Demerjian, Gregory Hakim, Buddy Mabardy, Erick Straghalis, and Deno Takles. The newly elected officers for 2017 are Mary Winstanley O’Connor, President; Deno Takles, Vice President; Nick Bezreh, Treasurer; and Marc Patacchiola, Secretary.  Congratularions to all!

BLESSING OF HOMES – Fr. Antony will be blessing homes after Epiphany (January 6) and between Pascha (April 16) and Pentecost (June 4).  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.

ANNUAL PARISH MEETING – The Annual Meeting of St. Mary’s parish will be held Sunday, January 22, immediately after Liturgy (snow date: Sunday, February 5). At this meeting the members of the parish will approve the Year 2017 budget. The proposed budget will be available on the previous Sunday, January 15. It is important that all members of St. Mary’s Church attend this meeting.

MEMBER vs. PARISHIONER – Do you know if you are a Member of St. Mary’s parish? While all parishioners are welcome to attend the Annual Meeting, only members are permitted to vote. Our new membership brochure is available at the Bengarri - if you are not yet a member, please consider becoming one in 2017. If you would like to become a member, please see Fr. Antony or Barbara Shoop for a new member packet. Member packets are also available on the wall to the right of the Bengarri.

OFFERING ENVELOPES – Some Offering Envelopes are still waiting to be picked up in the Hall.

PLEDGE CARDS – Please return your 2017 pledge card to the church office immediately, or fill out an ePledge on our website,

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE – The canned food drive, originally scheduled to run through December 31, has been extended to January 29 due to the low number of donations. Please bring in canned goods and place them in the plastic bins in the room outside the kitchen. (Canned goods only, please.) They will be distributed to food pantries in our area.

METROPOLITAN JOSEPH TO VISIT - His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH will be visiting the area on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, January 28 and 29. On January 28 there will be a Grand Hafli in his honor, featuring Mitchell Kaltsunas and Band, at St. John of Damascus Church, Dedham.  Cost: $35/adult, $20/children 21 and under.  Mazza, pastry and coffee included.  For tickets e-mail ( or call 781-326-3046.

+ On Sunday, January 29 there will be a St. Ignatius Holiday Party with His Eminence, along with His Grace Bishop JOHN, at 5:00pm at Byblos Restaurant, 678 Washington St., Norwood.  Cost is $70 per person. Checks payable to Saint Ignatius can be mailed to Debbie Laham, 16 Kilronan Rd. Westwood, MA  02090.

FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION – There will be an Evening Liturgy for the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord on Wednesday, February 1, at 6:30pm

DIOCESAN DELEGATES MEETING – The General Assembly Meeting of delegates from  Antiochian Women and Teen SOYO will be held at St. George, West Roxbury, on Saturday, February 4. Morning prayers start at 9:30am, meetings at 10:00am followed by lunch.

WOMEN’S CLUB - The next meeting of the Women’s Club will be Monday, February 6, 2017 at the church. Call Marilyn (781-729-3033) or the church office (617-547-1234) if you have any questions or want to be a part of this wonderful group of Women.

PRE-LENTEN RETREAT – A Pre-Lenten Retreat, sponsored by the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Worcester and New England, will be held on Saturday, February 11, at St. John of Damascus, Dedham.  The day begins with Divine Liturgy at 9:00 am.  The featured speaker this year is the V. Rev. Michael Elias, pastor of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Brooklyn, NY.  The topic will be “We are all Prodigal Sons and Daughters: Coming to Ourselves in Repentance and Spiritual Direction”.  This year there will also be Youth Day programs for ages 2.9 to 18.  RSVP deadline is February 1. Mail $20 check to Kh. Erin Kimmett, 17 Austin St. Norwood, MA  02062. Lunch is included.

LENT BEGINS – This year Great Lent begins on Monday, February 27

CAMP REGISTRATION - Registration for Summer Camp at Antiochian Village has begun for children ages 9-17.  St. Mary’s children attend the third session.  The camper fee is $750 for the two-week session; camper fees paid in full by March 1 receive a $50 discount.  Register on line at


The triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the world, is division, opposition, separation, hatred. Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness: the return to unity, solidarity, love.

-Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

Love sinners and do not despise them for their faults. Remember that you partake in an earthly nature, and do good to all. Let your manner be always courteous and respectful to all. For love does not know how to be angry or lose its temper or to find fault with anyone out of passion.

- St. Isaac of Syria

The nature of things is measured by the interior disposition of the soul; that is, the kind of person one is will determine what he thinks of others. He who has attained to genuine prayer and love no longer puts things into categories. He does not separate the righteous from sinners, but loves all equally, and does not judge them, just as God gives the sun to shine and the rain to fall both on the just and the unjust.

- St. Nikitas Stethatos, from the Philokalia

"But I say to you," the Lord says, "love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you." Why did he command these things? So that he might free you from hatred, sadness, anger and grudges, and might grant you the greatest possession of all, perfect love, which is impossible to possess except by the one who loves all equally in imitation of God.

- Maximus Confessor