St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, February 28 – Wednesday, March 6, 2019


SUNDAY 3/3 – Meatfare Sunday, Sunday of the Last Judgment
   + Orthros 8:45am, Divine Liturgy 10:00am, Church School following Liturgy
   + Women’s Month homily by Melissa Nassiff on the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-10)

WEDNESDAY 3/6 - The next meeting of the Parish Council is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30, in the church hall.


SATURDAY 3/2 – On Saturday, March 2, our sister parish of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 41 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, will be hosting a Concert and Meatfare Dinner/Dance with live Tambura music.  Vespers, chanted by our own Boston Byzantine Choir, will start at 5:00pm (no Vespers at St. Mary’s), followed by the concert at 6:00pm and the dinner/dance at 7:00pm.  Guest performers will be St. Nikolai Velimirovic Choir of Lake Forest, IL and our own Boston Byzantine Choir.  $25.00 admission for adults, $15 for seniors/students, free under 12. For more info contact


WOMEN’S MONTH HOMILIES – During the month of March a number of women from the parish will be giving homilies on the theme, “Faith in Action,” focusing on the parables of the Sundays of Lent from the old Jerusalem lectionary (the earliest set of readings known to us). Upcoming homilists will be:
   3/10 – Christina Palis on the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
   3/17 – Natasha Smith on the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14)
   3/24 – Teva Regule on the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
   3/31 – Ioana Popa on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR COFFEE HOUR – We need volunteers for coffee hour this Sunday, March 3, and for March 17. If no one volunteers, there is no coffee hour!  It can be as simple as coffee, juice, and cookies. and plenty of help is available.  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.  Please contact the church office if you can sponsor a coffee hour or are interested in using the Instacart option.

YES PROVIDENCE - Join teens and college students from the Diocese on March 8 through 10for an opportunity to serve the people of Providence RI.  Contact Trip Leader Michelle Hourani:
CONCERT – On Saturday, March 9 at 8:00pm, the Back Bay Chorale will present a concert of Rachmaninoff’s Vespers at St. Paul Church, Harvard Square. Our own Christopher Addis will be performing.


WOMEN’S MONTH – March is Antiochian Women’s Month. Each Sunday our women will be reading the Epistle, taking the Collection, taking part in the Procession, assisting during Communion, and giving the homily. 

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, March 10; pickup will be Sunday, March 17.
   + Baking of spinach triangles will be Saturday, March 16.  Please come and help, starting at 9:30 am. Lunch will be provided.

FORGIVENESS VESPERS – The last thing we do before beginning the Lenten fast is forgive each other, and ask everyone to forgive us.  Join us Sunday evening, March 10, at 6:00 pm for the very moving service of Forgiveness Vespers. 

GREAT LENT – This year Great Lent begins on Monday, March 11. Pascha will be on April 28.

DIOCESAN COMPLINE- Diocesan Compline services will be offered at 7:00pm every Mondayevening in Lent in a different church of the Diocese.  The schedule is: 3/11- Norwood, 3/18- Dedham, 3/25-Pawtucket, 4/1-West Roxbury, 4/8-Cotuit and 4/15- Worcester.
LENTEN SERVICES – On Tuesday and Thursday in the first week of Lent, March 12 and 14, there will be Little Compline with the Canon of St. Andrew at 6:30 pm. 
   + We will celebrate Pre-Sanctified Liturgy at 6:30 pm every Wednesday of Lent through Wednesday, April 17, followed by a Potluck Supper.
   + On the first five Fridays of Lent, March 15, 22, 29 and April 5 and 12, there will be an Akathist (Madayeh) Service at 7:00 pm.

PRE-SANCTIFIED POTLUCK SUPPERS – Every Wednesday during Lent (March 13, 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17), we need a leader to coordinate a potluck supper after pre-Sanctified Liturgy. Being the leader means a) providing a main dish, b) coordinating what others bring if asked, and c) coordinating setup and cleanup. Contact Tiffany Conroy ( for the potluck leader instruction sheet, or to sign up as a potluck leader. 

BIBLE BOWL - All Teens (13-19) and Pre-Teens (ages 10-12) interested in competing in this year's Bible Bowl, please contact Violet Robbat at 781-862-4388 or by e-mail at for further instruction.  This year we will be studying St. Paul's Letters to the Ephesians, Philippians and Collosians as found in the New Testament of the Orthodox Study Bible.  The Orthodox Study Bible is available from Ancient Faith Bookstore, Barnes and Noble, Holy Cross Bookstore and Amazon if you do not have one.  Our first meeting/practice will begin on Sunday, March 17 immediately after Church School, and every Sunday thereafter.  We will meet in the small area right outside Barbara's office.  Be sure to bring a chair in with you.  We look forward to having two great teams again this year!   

THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN WITNESS PROGRAM: SPIRITUAL PILGRIMAGE will hold its final retreat at St. Mary's on the topic of "Christian Hospitality - True Self and the Inner Kingdom" on Saturday, March 23from 9:00am-3:30pm. The retreat is an opportunity to reflect on your personal journey with God, expand your inner awareness, and deepen your faith and your contemplative and/or prayer practices. 
   The retreat will use small presentations, personal reflections, and small and large group discussions. Attendance at the previous retreats is not required. Although a donation of $35 per retreat is suggested (or any other amount), the donation is not a requirement for participation. Coffee, tea and a light breakfast will be provided (lunch is not provided). To register or ask questions, please email or call 617-274-8336.

DIOCESAN LENTEN RETREAT – The Antiochian Women invite you to a Lenten retreat at St. George West Roxbury on Saturday, March 30.  We welcome back His Grace Bishop ANTHONY.  This event will begin with Divine Liturgy at 9:00am and conclude with Great Vespers at 3:00pm.  Lunch is included. Registration $20, teens (12-18) and children (3-11) free.

SCHOLARSHIPS - Students graduating in 2019 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, 2019. 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, 2019.  If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at .
   + The Archdiocese will be awarding several Francis Maria Scholarships of $2500 each to students attending an accredited 4 year college. This scholarship is available on the Archdiocese Scholarship page, Applications must be postmarked by May 15.
HIERARCHICAL VISIT - His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH will be at St. Mary’s Friday-Sunday, May 3-5 for a Hierarchical visit to celebrate Divine Liturgy and our 90th year anniversary. On May 18, 2019 we will celebrate our 90th Anniversary at the Crowne Plaza in Woburn. 

ST. MARY’S ANNIVERSARY – Save the date: On Saturday, May 18 we will celebrate our 90thAnniversary at the Crown Plaza in Woburn.  Plan to join us for dinner, dancing and other festivities.  More details to follow.
   + WE WANT YOUR PHOTOS! - The Young Adult Ministry is collecting photos of St. Mary's from past and present for the 90th Anniversary Celebration in May. If you have photos of family, relatives and friends from events at St. Mary's, please email to stmarys90thphotos@gmail.comor share them through GoogleDrive. Suggestions are photos of Holy Days, sacraments or other milestones; however all photos are welcome!

FAMILY CAMP - Register now for Family camp at Antiochian Village, Friday-Monday, May 24-27.  The theme is “Fostering a Healthy Family” with Speaker Fr. Nicholas Louh.  Visit for more information.

CROSSROAD SUMMER INSTITUTE - CrossRoad Summer Institute, a 10-day academic summer institute for Orthodox high school juniors and seniors to help them grow closer to Christ, will be held June 15-25 and July 2-12 at Hellenic College Holy Cross.  Apply today at  

ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CONVENTION – This year’s Convention will be in Grand Rapids, MI, July 21-28, 2019. Hundreds of Antiochian Orthodox have already registered and purchased tickets. 60% of hotel rooms are already booked. See 

CHURCH SCHOOL HELP NEEDED - At the end of this Church School year our current Superintendent, Barbara Shoop, will be retiring.  Therefore we are looking for someone willing to take over the position.  The Church School ministry is extremely important to our children in helping them understand the faith, learn church doctrine and how to use their faith in their everyday lives.  Barbara is willing to stay on as Assistant Superintendent for the first year to assist with the weekly responsibilities.  If you are interested in taking on this role, please see Fr. Antony or Barbara Shoop.

HOSPITALITY GROUP – The Donald DiFiore Memorial Hospitality Group welcomes its new President, Tiffany Conroy!
   The group needs more volunteers to help it work to build community among the larger St. Mary’s Congregation, so that we can come together in service, celebration and fellowship outside of liturgy and coffee hour.  We need members to join us, and help with planning fellowship events such as Lenten Potluck Suppers, the Dormition Feast, our annual Picnic, etc. Even if you could commit to just one event per year, this would help strengthen the sense of community and family in our parish. We also welcome new ideas for fellowship gatherings. If interested, please email Tiffany Conroy at
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


            [The fourth Sunday of preparation for Lent] is called "Meat-Fare" because during the week following it a limited fasting – abstention from meat – is prescribed by the Church.  This prescription is to be understood in the light of what has been said [previously] about the meaning of preparation. The Church begins now to "adjust" us to the great effort which she will expect from us seven days later. She gradually takes us into that effort – knowing our frailty, foreseeing our spiritual weakness. …
            It is love that constitutes the theme of "Meat-Fare Sunday."  The Gospel lesson for the day is Christ's parable of the Last Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46).  When Christ comes to judge us, what will be the criterion of His judgment? The parable answers: love – not a mere humanitarian concern for abstract justice and the anonymous "poor," but concrete and personal love for the human person, any human person, that God makes me encounter in my life. …
            The parable of the Last Judgment is about Christian love. Not all of us are called to work for "humanity," yet each one of us has received the gift and the grace of Christ's love.  We know that all men ultimately need this personal love – the recognition in them of their unique soul in which the beauty of the whole creation is reflected in a unique way.  We also know that men are in prison and are sick and thirsty and hungry because that personal love has been denied them. And, finally, we know that however narrow and limited the framework of our personal existence, each one of us has been made responsible for a tiny part of the Kingdom of God, made responsible by that very gift of Christ's love. Thus, on whether or not we have accepted this responsibility, on whether we have loved or refused to love, shall we be judged.  …
   -Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

Do you wish to honor the body of the Savior? Do not despise it when it is naked. Do not honor it in church with silk vestments while outside you are leaving it numb with cold and naked. He who said "this is my body," and made it so by his word, is the same that said, "You saw me hungry and you gave me no food. As you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me." Honor him then by sharing your property with the poor. For what God needs is not golden chalices but golden souls."
   - St. John Chrysostom