St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, February 9 - Thursday, February 16, 2017


THURSDAY, 2/9 - The Bible Study scheduled for this evening is cancelled due to the major snowstorm occurring today. The next meeting will be February 23. At that time we will cover the podcasts for today ( ,, plus those scheduled for 2/23  (,, and  New members are always welcome.

SUNDAY, 2/12 - Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 15

   + This Sunday is Scout Sunday, when we recognize the contributions of our young people and adults to Scouting.  Look for the Scouts and Scout leaders in our parish to be involved in liturgical service. If your child is a Boy Scout or Girl Scout of any age and would like to participate in Scout Sunday, please send an e-mail to Charlie Marge:

   + The annual Meatfare Breakfast sponsored by the Hospitality Group will be Sunday, February 12 (the week before Meatfare Sunday this year).  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. 


SATURDAY, 2/11 – A Pre-Lenten Retreat, sponsored by the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Worcester and New England and open to everyone, will be held on Saturday, February 11, at St. John of Damascus, Dedham. The featured speaker is the V. Rev. Michael Elias, pastor of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Brooklyn, NY. Cost is $20 per person.

   + This year there will also be Youth Day programs for all our young people: There will be activities for children (ages 3 and older) as well as those who are in Teen SOYO. (No charge for Youth Day)

   + The day begins with Divine Liturgy at 9:00 am, and will end mid-afternoon. Breakfast (after Liturgy) and lunch are included.

SATURDAY, 2/11 – St. George of Boston invites you to “Winterfest 2017,” Dinner and Hafli, on Saturday, February 11 from 7:30 to midnight.  Adults $60, Children to age 12 $30.  For tickets/reservations contact Rima Audy, 617-435-8888 or


MEMEORY ETERNAL - We regret to inform you of the falling asleep in the Lord of longtime St. Mary’s parishioner Maria Walcott of Cambridge on Friday, February 3.  Maria had been in Brazil visiting her family for the past two months and had recently returned home on January 29.  She passed away peacefully in the hospital.  Funeral services will be held on Friday, February 10.

WOMEN’S MONTH - March is Antiochian Women’s Month. Our women will be reading the Epistle, taking the Collection each Sunday, and assisting during Communion.  We invite all women of St. Mary Church to be included:  If you wish to participate, sign up on the sheet at the Bengarri or contact Marilyn Robbat at 781-729-3033 or, or the church office at 617-547-1234 or

ALL THAT JAZZ – IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) is hosting a Musical Reception, “All That Jazz” Sunday, February 19 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Maliotis Cultural Center at Hellenic College, 50 Goddard Ave., Brookline.  Wine reception and live jazz, suggested donation $25, students and under 21 $10.  Register online: .

LENTEN WOMEN’S RETREAT - Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, Allston, MA invites you to a Lenten Women’s Retreat on Saturday, March 18 9:00 am-4:00 pm.  Fr. Maximos of Simonopetra Monastery and Holy Cross will speak on Reflections on the Prayer of St. Ephraim.  For information visit .


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.

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

LENTEN FOOD SALE – The St. Mary Women’s Club is once again having a Lenten Food Sale, featuring Spinach Triangles, Hoomos, and Mjadara. Please use the order form in the Sunday bulletin. Order deadline is Sunday, February 26; baking will be Saturday, March 4 (please come and help!), with pickup on Sunday, March 5.

   - Also, we are looking for several people to help prepare 15 boxes of frozen spinach for the baking of our spinach Triangles on March 4.  The frozen spinach needs to be defrosted and the water squeezed out.  Please contact Marilyn Robbat (781-729-3033 or or the church office (617-547-1234 or if you are willing to help and for further instruction.

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

FORGIVENESS VESPERS – Forgiveness Sunday (also known as 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.

LENTEN SERVICES – On Tuesday and Thursday in the first week of Lent, February 28 and March 2, there will be Little Compline with the Canon of St. Andrew at 7:00 pm.  We will celebrate Pre-Sanctified Liturgy every Wednesday of Lent at 6:30 pm, followed by a Potluck Supper sponsored by the Hospitality Group. And on the first four Fridays of Lent, March 3, 10, 17 and 31, there will be an Akathist (Madayeh) Service at 7:00 pm.

PRE-SANCTIFIED POTLUCK SUPPERS - Every Wednesday during Lent we need a lead to coordinate the 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.   We still need Leads for March 8, 15, 22 and April 5.  As with coffee hour, if there is no potluck leader, then there is no potluck. Contact Diana Yousef ( ) for the potluck lead instruction sheet, or to sign up as a potluck lead.

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

YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY - The Young Adult Ministry is an active, dynamic group that hosts monthly social, spiritual, and outreach events and programs. We have lots of great plans for 2017, and we hope you'll join us! If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Jamil at 617-501-4427 or


   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.

CHINESE NEW YEAR BREAKFAST - The Chinese “New Year” Breakfast originally scheduled as a celebration of the Chinese new Year of the Rooster, which fell on January 28 this year, has been postponed to Sunday June 4, coinciding with Church School graduation. A Chinese Dumpling Making Party will be held June 3 and children with adult supervision are welcome. Watch for more details or contact Nelson Mitrophan Chin at

PARISH LIFE CONFERENCE – The 2017 Diocese of Worcester and New England Parish life Conference will be hosted by St. George Cathedral, Worcester, at the Downtown Worcester Holiday Inn Express.  Dates: Saturday, June 17 (Pre-Conference) and Friday-Sunday, June 23-25 (Conference). For more information and to register go to


On the third Sunday of preparation for Lent, we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Together with the hymns of this day, the parable reveals to us the time of repentance as man's return from exile. The prodigal son, we are told, went to a far country and there spent all that he had. A far country! It is this unique definition of our human condition that we must assume and make ours as we begin our approach to God. A man who has never had that experience, be it only very briefly, who has never felt that he is exiled from God and from real life, will never understand what Christianity is all about. And the one who is perfectly "at home" in this world and its life, who has never been wounded by the nostalgic desire for another Reality, will not understand what is repentance. 

   It is very easy indeed to confess that I have not fasted on prescribed days, or missed my prayers, or become angry. It is quite a different thing, however, to realize suddenly that I have defiled and lost my spiritual beauty, that I am far away from my real home, my real life, and that something precious and pure and beautiful has been hopelessly broken in the very texture of my existence. Yet this, and only this, is repentance, and therefore it is also a deep desire to return, to go back, to recover that lost home. …

   -Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent   

The elder son in the parable [of the Prodigal Son] is saying these things: "You did not count me worthy of any consolation in all my toils; you never handed over to me for slaughter any of these who were afflicting me. But now you save the prodigal son who never had to toil." This, then, is the entire purpose of the parable, which the Lord told for the sake of the Pharisees who were grumbling the He had accepted sinners. The parable also instructs us that no matter how righteous we may be, we ought not to rebuff sinners, nor to grumble when God accepts them. The younger son, therefore, represents the harlots and the publicans, the elder son represents those Pharisees and scribes who consider themselves righteous. It is as if God were saying: "Let us suppose that you are indeed righteous and have not transgressed any commandments; if some others have turned away from wickedness, why do you not accept them as your brothers and fellow laborers?" The Lord instructs such grumblers as these with this parable.

   - Blessed Theophylact