The Greek Orthodox Saint Nektarios of Aegina
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One of the most beloved saints who lived within the last century is Saint Nektarios of Aegina who is celebrated on the 9th of November in the Greek Orthodox Church.
Born with the name Anastasios on October 1, 1846 in Selymbria in the Thrace region (which now is in now in Turkey). His parents Dimos and Maria were not wealthy. At 14 years old, he moved to Constantinople (Istanbul) for work and education. At age 20 he moved to Chios to teach. 10 years later he became a monk at a local monastery in Chios. Three years later he was ordained a deacon and his name was changed to Nektarios. Though a monk and an ordained deacon, Nektarios graduated from the University of Athens in 1885. Next he moved to Cairo, Egypt where he was ordained a priest.
In 1889 he was made the Metropolitan Bishop of Pentapolis (an area that no longer functioned as a Christian center, but which the position still remained). He served for 1 year as a bishop in Cairo, but was sent away from Egypt abruptly due to rumors and false accusations brought against him. After being stripped of his authority and duty as a bishop, he returned back to Greek in 1891. He served as a preacher and then a director of a school until 1908 but had helped establish the women’s monastery of the Holy Trinity on the island of Aegina in 1904. After retirement from the school in 1908, St. Nektarios moved to Holy Trinity Monastery he had helped establish.
St. Nektarios died at the age of 74 after having been in the hospital for treatment of prostate cancer. The Anathema from the Alexandrian Patriarchate of St. Nektarios wasn’t lifted until 1998, even after the Ecumenical Patriarchate declared him a saint of the Church.
The saint obviously lived a life where he was subject to unjust criticism, but he never made a fuss. His patience and understanding proved him to be saintly. St Nektarios became known as a saintly figure after his death. One of the many miracles happened immediately after his death. St. Nektarios had a paralytic who was in the next bed in the hospital, and when St. Nektarios passed, they took his shirt off of him and threw it on the paralytic’s bed, just to get it out of the way. This shirt, when it touched the paralytic, healed him and he jumped out of his bed praising God.
Many sufferers of cancer ask for St. Nektarios’ intercessions and he, through the grace of God, has healed many. There was a person who had a brain tumor who was going in for a CAT scan. After praying for intercessions, the CT scan showed no signs of a tumor, but miraculously there was also a picture of St. Nektarios in the scan. In fact, St. Nektarios is one of the few saints I know of who has a picture taken of him, which I must say, is pretty cool. We must not forget that we are called to be saints, even today in our non-stop, technology heavy world. May St. Nektarios intercede for us!
About Andrew Athanasiou
Andrew is a student of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, located in Brookline, Massachusetts. Andrew is a Masters of Divinity Student who is also a Seminarian. Andrew is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and his knowledge comes from five major sources: Greek Orthodox Seminary; Greek Orthodox Summer Camp; both being taught and teaching in Greek Orthodox Sunday School; and finally further readings and interests in other theological areas.
This post was written by Andrew Athanasiou