St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week of December 21- December 28, 2017


NATIVITY SERVICES – Royal Hours for the Nativity will be Friday, December 22 at 9:00 am
   + Saturday, December 23 – Great Vespers 5:00 pm
   + Sunday, December 24, Eve of the Nativity – Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; no Church School
   + Festal Orthros 6:30 pm; Festal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil 8:00 pm., followed by Festive Celebration (see New Announcements, below)
   + Monday, December 25, Christmas Day – No services at St. Mary


FESTIVE CELEBRATION  - Before heading home or to your respective family gatherings after the Christmas Evening Liturgy this Sunday Night, December 24, come and join your church family for some hot mulled cider, wine, cheese and crackers, Christmas goodies, music, and more.  The reception is hosted by Natasha Smith, Bonnie Michal, Teva Regule, and Rose Njuguna.   

PLEDGE CARDS - Pledge cards have been mailed to the homes of St. Mary’s parishioners and friends.  Please return your pledge card to the church office or fill out the ePledge form on our website by December 31, 2017A new pledge card is requested each year, even if your financial and volunteer contributions aren’t changing.  If you did not receive a pledge card and would like to become of member of St. Mary’s, please see Fr. Antony or Barbara Shoop for a new member packet.

THEOPHANY SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE - Theophany School, 754 Greendale Ave, Needham, invites you to an Open House on Thursday, January 18 from 3:00-5:00pm. There will be activities for children and refreshments.  Come meet the staff and learn more about their preschool, pre-K and K programs.  For more information go to

NO FASTING - From Christmas Day until January 4, inclusive, there is a general dispensation from all fasting.

SUMMER CAMP REGISTRATION – Registration for Summer Camp at the Antiochian Village opened this week for children ages 9-17. Registration fills up quickly!  Register online, right away, at .  St. Mary’s children attend the third session, July 15-27.  The camper fee is $800 for the two-week camper session.

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE – Help support our Canned Food Drive! Sunday, December 31is the last day to 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.

THEOPHANY SERVICES – There will be a Joint Diocesan Celebration of Theophany at St. George Cathedral, Worcester, on the morning of Saturday, January 6. Orthros 8:30am, Hierarchical Divine Liturgy 10:00 am with the Blessing of Waters. There will not be any services at St. Mary’s that morning. 
   + In the evening, the Young Adult Ministry at St. Mary’s invites you to come for Vespers at 5:00 pm with Bishop JOHN, followed by a concert by the Boston Byzantine Choir at 6:00 entitled The Twelve Days of Christmas, followed by a potluck supper. The concert will consist of Orthodox sacred chant from Christmas to Epiphany (Nativity to Theophany), in English. In this program, the Boston Byzantine Choir will take us on a journey of sacred chant through the 12 Days of Christmas starting with the Nativity and ending with Epiphany.  Each day from December 25 to January 6 brings its own hymnography rich in the theology of the season, beautifully expressed through the Byzantine musical tradition. Everyone is invited.

BIBLE STUDY - The next meeting of the Bible Study/Adult Education group will be Wednesday, January 10 at 7:00 pm, in the church hall. We learn about the word of God, pray, and have fellowship together. Everyone is welcome to attend. For questions, study materials, or to be added to the email list, contact Ioana Popa at or Steve Walker at .

PARISH COUNCIL – The Parish Council will meet on Wednesday, January 17 at 7:30 pm in the Church hall.

ANNUAL PARISH MEETING - The Annual Meeting of St. Mary’s parish will be held Sunday, January 28, 2018, immediately after Liturgy (snow date: Sunday, February 4). At this meeting the members of the parish will approve the Year 2018 budget. The proposed budget will be available on the previous Sunday, January 21. It is important that all members of St. Mary’s Church attend this meeting.

OFFERING ENVELOPES - For those who use Offering Envelopes, the 2018 envelopes are available for pickup at the Bengarri. Calendars are also available – please, only one calendar per family.

CROSSROAD PROGRAM – CrossRoad, a ten-day academic summer institute in Boston and Chicago, prepares high school juniors and seniors to make big life decisions and invites them to connect with the Orthodox Christian theological and spiritual tradition. The deadline for application to this program is Thursday, February 1. For more information go to

PRE-LENTEN RETREAT and YOUTH DAY – The 2018 Pre-Lenten Retreat & Youth Day, sponsored by the Diocese of Worcester & New England Antiochian Women and the Missions Council, will feature Bishop ANTHONY and our very own Fr. Antony Hughes. This is a day for all ages, 3 years old and older. DateFebruary 10. Time: 9:00am-2:30pm.  Place:  St. John of Damascus, Dedham.  Cost:  $20/Adult.  Make checks payable to Antiochian Women-DOWNE, and mail registration and check to Kh. Erin Kimmett, 17 Austin St., Norwood, 02062.  (See Bulletin Board for registration form)

SCHOLARSHIPS - Students graduating in 2018 from high school who are children of membersof St. Mary’s may apply for the Diocese of Worcester and New England Scholarship.  Deadline is March 31, 2018. Contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at for more information, including what it means to be a member.
   + 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, 2018.  If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at .

COFFEE HOUR MADE EASY! - To make sponsoring a Coffee Hour a little bit easier, St. Mary’s offers 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

JOIN US ONLINE - St. Mary’s Church services are broadcast live each week through an internet video stream. If you can't attend a service in person or want to share this ministry with a friend or loved one, the live stream can be viewed at during regularly scheduled service times (see the schedule of services or online). If you have questions or comments about this ministry please contact us at

Today the Virgin comes to the cave where she will give birth in an ineffable manner to the Word who is before all the ages. Rejoice, therefore, O universe, when you hear it heralded; with the angels and the shepherds glorify Him, who chose to be seen as a new-born babe, the God who is before all the ages.
   - Kontakion of the Preparation of Christ’s Nativity

As the fruit of David’s seed, Mary was registered of old with the Elder Joseph in the little town of Bethlehem, as she conceived with a seedless and pure conception. Behold, the time was come that she should bear her Child, but no place was found within the inn for them; yet the cave proved a delightful palace for the pure Lady and Queen of all. For Christ is born now to raise the image that had fallen previously.
   - Troparion of the Paramon (Eve) of the Nativity