St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, March 16 - Thursday, March 23, 2017


FRIDAY, 3/17 – This Friday we will pray the Akathist (Madayeh) at 7:00 pm. The Akathist service will also be held on Friday, March 31.

SUNDAY, 3/19 - Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School lesson 18 (short lesson)

   + Homily: The Icon of the Feast of Pascha - Homilist: Melissa Nassiff

   + Bible Bowl practice session right after church in the Library.  We will be studying the Gospel of Mark as written in the Orthodox Study Bible. Participants must be present for all sessions. The Bible Bowl will be held at our Diocesan Parish Life Conference.

WEDNESDAY, 3/22 – Presanctified Liturgy 6:30, followed by Potluck Supper sponsored by the Hospitality Group.

   + Do come to the Potluck Supper 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.  Contact Diana Yousef ( ) or Melissa Nassiff ( ) if you have any questions.

THURSDAY, 3/23 - The Bible Study group will meet Thursday, at 7:00pm in the church library. 

At this meeting and throughout Lent we will be discussing the book, "The Divine Dance" by Richard Rohr.  New members are always welcome. Our next meeting will be Thursday, April 6.


TEEN SOYO RETREAT – There will be a Diocese of Worcester and New England 2017 Teen SOYO Retreat, entitled “Packing My Lenten Lunchbox,” Friday-Sunday, March 31-April 2.  All teens Grades 7-12 are invited to attend.  Location:  Saint Methodios Faith and Heritage Center, Contoocook, NH. Cost:  $95/teen, $50/advisor.  Register by March 17.  For information contact Fr. Joseph Kimmett, or John Abud,

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 .


ANOTHER SUNDAY MORNING ROAD RACE – Next Sunday, March 26, the Somerville Road Runners will hold a Road Race that will begin at 9:30 on Sidney St. (two streets before Prospect heading towards Boston) and proceed down Mass Ave. towards Harvard Sq. The runners will take a left on Linden St. and head back on Putnam St. to Brookline St., ending at the Middle East Restaurant. To view the course map go to Please plan your drive to church accordingly!

PARENTING WORKSHOP – The Diocese of Worcester and New England invites you to a workshop, “Parenting within Orthodox Families,” on Saturday April 1, 9:00am-3:00pm in the hall at St. George Cathedral, 30 Anna St., Worcester. Register by March 29 to or call 508-752-9150. Cost: $20/person, $30/couple.

WOMEN’S CLUB – The next meeting of the Women’s Club will be Monday, April 3 at 7:30, not Monday of this week as originally scheduled.

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council is scheduled for Thursday, April 6 at 7:30, not March 16 as originally scheduled. Any parishioners who wish to attend are welcome.


   + Lazarus Saturday, 4/8 – Matins 8:00 am, Divine Liturgy 9:00 am, Communion Breakfast 10:15 am followed by church clean-up;  Great Vespers 4:00 pm

   + Palm Sunday, 4/9 – Matins 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am, Fish Dinner following Liturgy; Bridegroom Matins 7:00 pm

   + Holy Monday, 4/10 – Bridegroom Matins 7:00 pm (no Presanctified Liturgy)

   + Holy Tuesday, 4/11 – Presanctified Liturgy 7:00 am;  Bridegroom Matins 7:00 pm

   + Holy Wednesday, 4/12 – Holy Unction 7:00 pm (no Presanctified Liturgy)

   + Holy Thursday, 4/13 – Vesperal Liturgy 7:00 am;  Washing of the Feet 6:45 pm, 12 Gospels 7:00 pm

   + Holy Friday, 4/14 – Children’s Retreat 9:30 am;  Royal Hours 1:00 pm, Unnailing Vespers 3:00 pm; Lamentations 7:15 pm followed by Procession to Central Square

   + Holy Saturday, 4/15 – Vesperal Liturgy 9:00 am, with Coffee Reception to follow;  Vigil/Rush Service 10:00 pm, Resurrection Matins 11:00 pm

   + Great and Holy Pascha, 416 – Divine Liturgy 12:00 midnight, Paschal Festivities in the Church Hall following;  Joint Agape Vespers (Baouth) 11:00 am at St. Mary’s, reception following

HOLY FRIDAY VIGIL –  Following the Lamentations Service on Holy Friday evening, April 14 , St. Mary's TEEN SOYO will hold an All-Night Vigil at the Church.  All youth ages 13-18 (grades 7-12), are encouraged to participate in reading Psalms, keeping watch at the tomb. See Holy week schedule for further details.


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 are able to participate, please 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

SERMON SCHEDULE - This month a number of women from the parish are sharing their thoughts on “The Iconography of the Great Feasts.” They have been focusing on the feasts of our Lord, in particular the Nativity, Transfiguration, Pascha, and Pentecost.  The final sermon will be on The Icon of the Feast of Pentecost.

ANNUNCIATION – Evening Liturgy for the Feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos is Friday, March 24 at 6:30 pm

   + Our Lady of the Annunciation Melkite Church, West Roxbury, MA invites you to a celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation on Sunday, March 26 at 12:00noon, after Liturgy.   Homemade Food, Coffee and dessert, $15/person.  Free parking.

TEEN SOYO RETREAT – There will be a Diocese of Worcester and New England 2017 Teen SOYO Retreat, entitled “Packing My Lenten Lunchbox,” Friday-Sunday, March 31-April 2.  All teens Grades 7-12 are invited to attend.  Location: Saint Methodios Faith and Heritage Center, Contoocook, NH. Cost:  $95/teen, $50/advisor. For information contact Fr. Joseph Kimmett, or John Abud,

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE – 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

DIOCESAN PARENTING RETREAT - Our Diocesan retreat, Parenting Within Orthodox Families, is scheduled to take place at the Cathedral on Saturday, April 1.. This promises to be a great retreat, led by three qualified and faithful Orthodox Christians (including our own Ioana Popa). The retreat is for parents of all ages. Cost is $20 per person, $30 for couples. Register by March 29, by contacting the Cathedral Office at 508-752-9150 or email them at

PYSANKY (UKRAINIAN EGG) WORKSHOP: The Hospitality Group invites you to join us on April 1 or 2 (one or both afternoons) to learn the beautiful art of Ukrainian Easter egg coloring. Seraphim Davis has generously offered to teach. We are offering two afternoons because last year people needed more time to finish, but participation does not require attending both dates. If you are interested, please respond ASAP to Diana Yousef ( with the following information: (1) which afternoon(s) would you attend? (2) Will you need a kit with the materials? (3) Will you need childcare? (NOTE: We might need to cap participation, to keep the numbers manageable, so please respond soon with any interest).

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 Our next meeting will be Saturday, April 1.

BAKE SALE – The Women’s Club will hold their annual Pascha Bake Sale on Sunday, April 2. Plan on purchasing all your Pascha/Easter desserts, pastries and goodies.  If you can help bake please call Marilyn Robbat at 781-729-3033 or e-mail the church office at  

LAZARUS SATURDAY – On Saturday, April 8, Matins will be at 8:00am, and Divine Liturgy at 9:00, followed by Communion Breakfast at 10:15. Our annual Church Clean-Up in preparation for Pascha will follow immediately after breakfast. Please plan to come and help.

DONATIONS FOR HOLY WEEK – For the special services of Holy Week, the Church needs donations of olive oil for the Unction Service (Wednesday), flowers for the tomb of Christ (Friday), flowers to distribute on Great and Holy Friday, rose water to anoint the faithful (Friday), incense, Paschal lilies and other flowers,  and candles. Deadline is Palm Sunday, April 9. Please use the donation form in the Bulletin.

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE - The 2017 Food for Hungry People program of our Archdiocese began with the start of Great Lent. Collection Boxes for use at home are on the Bengarri; please fill them during Lent and return them on Palm Sunday, April 9. “Whoever gives a hand to help his neighbor is helped by God’s own hand.” (St. Isaac the Syrian)

FISH DINNER – The annual Palm Sunday Fish Dinner, sponsored by the Hospitality Group and donated by Ed and Lisa Brylczyk, will be held on Sunday, April 9. Cost is $8.00 per person; $16 per family. Volunteers will be needed to help with setup, serving, and cleanup. Please plan to help.

MARRIAGE WORKSHOP – The Diocese of Worcester and New England will host a “Marriage Preparation and Enrichment” Workshop on Saturday, April 22, to be held here at St. Mary’s, from 10am-3pm. The Workshop leader will be Bishop JOHN.  This workshop is open to anyone, not just those getting married.  Register by April 15.  To register, email ( with your name and phone number or call Barbara @ 617-547-1234.  This workshop is free of charge.

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE – Scholarships from the Antiochian Women 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.

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

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


The cross, inseparable from the descent into hell, the resurrection, and the ascension to the right hand of the Father, is seen as fundamentally life-giving.  Its dimensions make of Christ the truly cosmic Man who transfigures the universe:  "Henceforward all is filled with light, the heavens, the earth and even hell," according to the Easter liturgy in the Byzantine rite.  To be crucified in Christ is to die to one's own death in order to enter into the sacrifice that restores wholeness, and to understand, as St. Paul says, "the breadth and length and height and depth" of love (Ephesians 3:18-19).

   - Olivier Clément, The Roots of Christian Mysticism

The Cross is the guardian of the world. The Cross is the beauty of the Church. The Cross is the strength of Orthodox Christians. The Cross is the support of the faithful. The Cross is the glory of the angels and the wonder of demons."

   - Exapostilarion of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

But it is our whole faith that by His own death Christ changed the very nature of death, made it a passage — a "passover," a "Pascha" — into the Kingdom of God, transforming the tragedy of tragedies into the ultimate victory.

   - Fr Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent