St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Update for the week Thursday, March 14 – Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Update for the week Thursday, March 14 Wednesday, March 20, 2019


THURSDAY 3/14 - Little Compline with the Canon of St. Andrew at 6:30 pm. 

FRIDAY 3/15 – Akathist (Madayeh) 7:00pm

SATURDAY 3/16 – Lenten Food Sale Cooking 9:30am at Church.  Lunch provided!  All adults are welcome to help.  Learn the techniques from the professionals.

SUNDAY 3/17 – Sunday of Orthodoxy
   + Orthros 8:45am, Divine Liturgy 10:00am, followed by Procession with Icons.
   + Women’s Month homily by Natasha Smith on the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14.
   + Church School music lesson following communion (children will return to church for Procession)
   + Join us during coffee hour for Enlightener Of Ireland, a slide show journey to the summit of Croagh Patrick where the Bishop of Armagh and Enlightener of Ireland fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights.
   + Pick-up of Lenten Food Sale orders

WEDNESDAY 3/20 – Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 6:30, followed by Pot Luck Supper. This week’s Potluck Leader is Tiffany Conroy – any questions about what to bring can be directed to her at  


MONDAY 3/18 - Diocesan Compline services are offered at 7:00pm every Monday evening in Lent: 3/18 in Dedham, 3/25 in Pawtucket, 4/1 in West Roxbury, and 4/8 in Cotuit and 4/15 in Worcester.


LENTEN RETREATS – A  Diocese Lenten Retreat will be held at St. George West Roxbury on Saturday, March 30.  We welcome back His Grace Bishop ANTHONY.  This event is sponsored by the Antiochian Women and will begin with Divine Liturgy at 9:00am and conclude with Great Vespers at 3:00pm.  Lunch is included. Registration is $20; teens (12-18) and children (3-11) free.
   +A Teen SOYO Overnight Lenten Retreat with Bishop Anthony will precede the Diocese retreat, beginning Friday March 29 at 6:00pm at St. George Norwood. RSVP by March 22 at
PASCHA BAKE SALE – The Women’s Club Annual Pascha Bake Sale will be held on Sunday, April 14. Plan on purchasing all your Pascha/Easter desserts, pastries and goodies! If you can help bake please call Renay DiFiore at 617-327-6361or e-mail the church office:

YES in PROVIDENCE – Join teens and college students from the Diocese Friday-Sunday, May 10-12 for an opportunity to serve the people of Providence, RI. Register online at Any questions? Please contact our Trip Leader, Michelle Hourani: or Katrina Bitar, YES Program Director:

PARISH LIFE CELEBRATION – The Diocese of Worcester & New England Parish Life Celebration will be held this year on Saturday, June 22 at St. George, West Roxbury, hosted by St. Stephen Church, Springfield and Emmanuel Church, Warren.
   + The Diocese of Worcester & New England Oratorical Festival will be held on Saturday, June 8 at St. George, Norwood 


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.  The homilies will be 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:
   3/24 – 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)

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 ingdom" 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.

LENTEN SERVICES – 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. 

PYSANKY WORKSHOP - The Hospitality Group is offering an adult session to learn the beautiful art of Ukranian egg coloring (Pysanki) on Sunday, April 7, from 1:00-6:00pm. If you are interested in attending, please respond ASAP to Diana Yousef ( with the following information: (1) Will you need a kit with the materials? (2) Will you need childcare? Please respond as soon as possible so we can make arrangements!

SERVICE BOOK FOR HOLY WEEK AND PASCHA – If you would like to purchase the book, “Services of Holy Week and Pascha,” as used in the Antiochian Archdiocese, you can order it from the Ancient Faith Store, $35.00. The book has a hard cover with gilded pages and double ribbon markers.

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE – The Food for Hungry People 2019 program began with the start of Great Lent and continues until Palm Sunday, April 21. Collection boxes are available at the Bengarri.

GUEST VOLUNTEERS INVITED – The St. Mary Prison Ministry would like to extend this Lenten opportunity for honorary guest volunteers to visit prisoners at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Concord, MA, every Monday at the Catholic chapel 6-8:30 PM. One of our permanent volunteers is on paternity leave, so we are actively looking for assistance. There is no prior experience or commitment needed as a guest, but please let Fr Antony know in advance for security reasons on the day you wish to visit.  The inmates appreciate volunteers who take time out of their busy day to spend the evening with them.
   For those interested in volunteering on a frequent basis, certification as a permanent volunteer is required. Please talk with Fr. Antony if interested in this ministry. For information about the Prison Ministry at St. Mary’s you can subscribe to our mailing list at 

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 Colossians 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!  

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.
   + 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.
   + Antiochian Women’s Scholarships are available to females 26 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, 2019.  Applications are available at the Bengarri and in the Church Office.  E-mail with any questions.

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. 
ST. MARY’S ANNIVERSARY – On Saturday, May 18 we will celebrate our 90th Anniversary 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!

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22.

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. See 

HOSPITALITY GROUP – The Donald DiFiore Memorial Hospitality 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


Whenever we have any feast or joy in the Church, we Orthodox first of all look back — for in our present life we depend on what happened in the past. We depend first of all, of course, on the first and the ultimate triumph -- that of Christ Himself. Our faith is rooted in that strange defeat which became the most glorious victory — the defeat of a man nailed to the cross, who rose again from the dead, who is the Lord and the Master of the world. This is the first triumph of Orthodoxy. This is the content of all our commemorations and of all our joy.
   This man selected and chose twelve men, gave them power to preach about that defeat and that victory, and sent them to the whole world saying preach and baptize, build up the Church, announce the Kingdom of God. And you know, my brothers and sisters, how those twelve men — very simple men indeed, simple fishermen — went out and preached. The world hated them, the Roman Empire persecuted them, and they were covered with blood. But that blood was another victory. The Church grew, the Church covered the universe with the true faith. After 300 years of the most unequal conflict between the powerful Roman Empire and the powerless Christian Church, the Roman Empire accepted Christ as Lord and Master. That was the second triumph of Orthodoxy. The Roman Empire recognized the one whom it crucified and those whom it persecuted as the bearers of truth, and their teaching as the teaching of life eternal. The Church triumphed. But then the second period of troubles began.
   The following centuries saw many attempts to distort the faith, to adjust it to human needs, to fill it with human content. In each generation there were those who could not accept that message of the cross and resurrection and life eternal. They tried to change it, and those changes we call heresies. Again there were persecutions. Again, Orthodox bishops, monks and laymen defended their faith and were condemned and went into exile and were covered with blood. And after five centuries of those conflicts and persecutions and discussions, the day came which we commemorate today, the day of the final victory of Orthodoxy as the true faith over all the heresies. It happened on the first Sunday of Lent in the year 843 in Constantinople. After almost 100 years of persecution directed against the worship of the holy icons, the Church finally proclaimed that the truth had been defined, that the truth was fully in the possession of the Church. And since then all Orthodox people, wherever they live, have gathered on this Sunday to proclaim before the world their faith in that truth, their belief that their Church is truly apostolic, truly Orthodox, truly universal. This is the event of the past that we commemorate today.
   - Alexander Schmemann, “Sunday of Orthodoxy” ( from )