St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, January 19 - Thursday, January 27, 2017


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.  This evening - 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

   Message from Fr. Antony: If you can be there to help as greeters to welcome people from across the Boston area to our parish, we would really appreciate it! It would be nice to have a good showing of people from our community be there. If nothing else, we hope you can join us to pray together for peace and unity! I went to the event this evening at a church in Jamaica Plain, and it was a beautiful expression of Christian love and solidarity. Let's offer the same to all those who will be coming to visit us!

SUNDAY, 1/22 - Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 12

   + The Annual Meeting of St. Mary’s parish will be held immediately after Liturgy. It is important that all members of St. Mary’s Church attend this meeting, at which the members of the parish will approve the Year 2017 budget.

THURSDAY, 1/26 - The Bible Study group will meet next Thursday, January 26, at 7:00 pm in the church library. For more information contact Fr. Antony ( New members are always welcome. The next meeting will be February 9.


CHANT CLASS AND VESPERS – On Saturday, February 4, there will be a Chant class at 3:30.

   + Great Vespers will be at 5:00pm.

HOLY WEEK AND PASCHA BOOK – If you would like to purchase “The Complete Text for Holy Week and Pascha” as used in the Antiochian Archdiocese (a hard cover book with gold gilded pages and double ribbon markers), please leave a check for $38 with the Bengarri or the Church Office by February 26. Your check should be made payable to St Mary Orthodox Church, and earmarked “Book for Holy Week”.  Any questions can be directed to Barbara Shoop, or e-mailed to the church office at


   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, 2017.  If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at

   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, 2017.  Applications are available in the Church Office.  E-mail with any questions.


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.

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.

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.  Please give generously!

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.

MEATFARE SUNDAY BREAKFAST - The annual Meatfare Sunday Breakfast sponsored by the Hospitality Group will be Sunday, February 12 (actually the week before Meatfare Sunday).  Join us downstairs after Liturgy 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. $7/person, $14/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.

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


How does the Orthodox Church preserve her greatest treasure, that is, the All-holy Person of the God-man Christ? She safeguards Him through her one and unique, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith. Through the unity of her faith, the Orthodox Church preserves through the centuries the unity and uniqueness of divine-human life and truth; through her holiness she preserves the unique holiness of life and truth in her divine-human body; through her catholicity she preserves the catholicity and wholeness of divine-human life and truth; through her apostolicity she preserves the unchangeable and continuous historical reality and life of the divine-human body and work of Christ.

   - St. Justin Popovich, Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ

Therefore the Father hath said: `Let us make man in Our image and likeness.' At the beginning of the universe itself, as I read, the Father and the Son existed, and I see one creation. I hear Him that speaketh. I acknowledge Him that doeth: but it is of one image, one likeness, that I read. This likeness belongs not to diversity but to unity. What, therefore, thou claimest for thyself, thou takest from the Son of God, seeing indeed, that thou canst not be in the image of God, save by help of the image of God.

   - St. Ambrose of Milan, On the Christian Faith, Book I

If any one believes, he is in the communion of faith; if he loves, he is in the communion of love; if he prays he is in the communion of prayer. Wherefore no one can rest his hope on his own prayers, and every one who prays asks the whole Church for intercession, not as if he had doubts of the intercession of Christ, the one Advocate, but in the assurance that the whole Church ever prays for all her members. All the angels pray for us, the apostles, martyrs, and patriarchs, and above them all, the Mother of our Lord, and this holy unity is the true life of the Church.

   - Alexei Khomiakov, The Church is One