Saturday, March 12, 2011

Miracles of St. Nektarios to a Wife and Mother

St. Nektarios the Wonderworker, Bishop of Pentapolis (
Note: the following is an excerpt from the book: Traveling the Walls of the City, by Nun Porphyria. She was a disciple of Elder Porphyrios, and as she would drive her taxi throughout Athens, she would meet many different people, help them with their problems, and often hear of their experiences and miracles that happened in their lives.

Miracles of St. Nektarios to a Wife and Mother (Amateur translation)
11AM on a Friday, I was driving through an area of Athens. I ascended Marne Road, when a brother of mine called from the Airport.
“Rania, where are you?”
“In Marne.”
“Come to the Airport, because there’s a lot of work here.”
“I’m coming, thank you.”
I hung up and was thinking to try and pick up a passenger, so I wouldn’t be traveling so many kilometers empty. As I ascended Alexandra Highway, a lady holding a large travel bag raised her hand. I stopped.
“Can you take me to the Airport?”
“Of course I can, I was trying to find you, sweetheart!”

“I stopped, loaded the bag, and we set off. The lady sat next to me.
“Oh! How beautiful are your icons! [i.e. on the dashboard of her taxi]” she told me.
“Yes! They are my family, I worship them!” I replied.
“And I believe greatly; I especially love St. Nektarios.”
“Did he work some miracle for you, to believe in him so?”
“Of course! Do you want me to tell you?”

...The Lady laughed. “I have cancer,” she told me briskly, “and they removed both my breasts. From the day that I was married I got sick, I suffered grave sadness.”
“Why? Don’t you have a good husband?”
“On the contrary, my husband is very good. He takes very good care of me, and economically we are very well off.”
“Then why did you get sick?”

“I don’t know! Straightaway, I fell into deep depression without reason. A neighbor of mine said that someone cast a spell on me. ‘But I don’t have enemies’, I told her. She replied: ‘I believe that Panagiota did something to you, because she very much wanted your husband.’”

“Three years passed from the day of my wedding and my sickness, when I decided to tell my mother about it. She, as soon as she heard it, took me to a priest. He read a prayer for me and told me to go to Aegina, to St. Nektarios. Aegina was very far from our island, but my husband said that we should go. And the three of us left together for St. Nektarios.”

“When we reached there, having venerated and prayed, I wanted to meet the Abbess. I didn’t know why. I asked a nun to take us to her, and this is what occurred. The Abbess received us with all her heart, as if she were waiting for us. She removed a prayer rope from her pocket, and gave it to me to wear on my hand. I put it on while my mother related what I had. Right away, I stood up and told them:

“Let’s go to the cell of St. Nektarios, for he’s waiting for us!”

“I opened the door and exited towards the cell of the Saint. The Abess asked me: ‘Do you know where you are going? Have you been here before?’”

“No, but he is leading me there.”

“We reached his cell, and entering, I sat on his bed. St. Nektarios sat next to me, and spoke to me while I responded.”

“Do you want to tell us what he said?”

“No! The only thing I’ll say is that he told me not to be afraid, and that I would become well. From then, the sadness that I felt left, and was replaced by joy. Very quickly I became pregnant, and gave birth to a baby boy, whom I named Nektarios. I also bore a girl, and I named her Maria, the name of our Panagia. Later I got sick from cancer, and as I said, they removed my breasts. I suffered greatly, but St. Nektarios is always next to me. Since then it’s been twenty years. The Saint has never abandoned me. Every year on his feast, we are all there. My faith has strengthened me greatly, so that I don’t care what happens to me. I am prepared to face everything.”

Wishing to test her faith, I played devil’s advocate: “What if God takes one of your children? What would you do? Would you distance yourself from Him? Would that shake your faith?”

“Look,” she replied, “my children are His [God's]. He gave them to me, and if he wants them back, let Him take them. I would feel great pain, but my faith is unshakable. No one can do anything to shake it.”

“Is this true what you’re saying?”

“Of course! I have seen many miracles in these twenty years. That which I told you, was the first with St. Nektarios. Many more followed. The Saint is constantly next to me, and I sense him very close to me. Don’t think that I don’t love my children, because I said that He can take them. They are His, He gave them to me simply to raise them with Him. I feel proud, because He gave me very good children. With His help, of course.”

I rejoiced greatly when I heard this, and was jealous of the faith of this woman!
Amateur translation of an excert from: Traveling the Walls of the City (Taxidevontas sta Teixh ths Polhs), by Nun Porphyria (

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Selected Quotes of the Fathers on Great Lent

Selected Quotes of the Fathers on Great Lent

"As we are therefore beginning this sacred season, dedicated to the purification of the soul, let us be careful to fulfill the Apostolic command that we cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit (IICor. 7:11), so that restraining the conflict that exists between the one and the other substance, the soul, which in the Providence of God is meant to be the ruler of the body, may regain the dignity of its rightful authority, so that, giving offense to no man, we may not incur the contumely of evil mongers. With just contempt shall we be tormented by those who have no faith, and from our wickedness evil tongues will draw weapons to wound religion, if the way of life of those who fast be not in accord with what is needed in true self-denial. For the sum total of our fasting does not consist in merely abstaining from food. In vain do we deny our body food if we do not withhold our heart from iniquity, and restrain our lips that they speak no evil." - St. Leo the Great - 'Lent the Season of Purification
"Blessed is the mind that passes the time of its pilgrimage in chaste sobriety, and loiters not in the things through which it has to walk, so that, as a stranger rather than the possessor of its earthly abode, it may not be wanting in human affections, and yet rest on the Divine promises." - St. Leo the Great - 'Homily 49: On Great Lent
"...We must then so moderate our rightful use of food that our other desires may be subject to the same rule. For this is also a time of peace and serenity, in which having put away all stains of evil doing we strive after steadfastness in what is good. Now is the time when generous Christian souls forgive offences, pay no heed to insults, and wipe out the memory of past injuries. Now let the Christian soul exercise itself in the armour of justice, on the right hand and on the left, so that amid honour and dishonour, evil report and good, the praise of men will not make proud the virtue that is well rooted, the conscience that has peace, nor dishonour cast it down. The moderation of those who worship God is not melancholy, but blameless." - St. Leo the Great - "Lent the Season of Purification (The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers)
"When He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards was hungry, He gave an opportunity to the devil to draw near, so that He might teach us through this encounter how we are to overcome and defeat him. This a wrestler also does. For in order to teach his pupils how to win he himself engages in contests with others, demonstrating on the actual bodies of others that they may learn how to gain the mastery. This is what took place here. For, desiring to draw the devil into contest, He made His hunger known to him. He met him as he approached, and meeting him, with the skill which He alone possessed, He once, twice, and a third time, threw His enemy to the ground." - St. John Chrysostom - The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
"Special services, special foods, continence, not going to dances and events, all this awakes one to piety and reflection on our present purpose, on the past and on eternity. Seeing in ourselves a falling away from the commandments of God, we try to reconcile ourselves to God through repentance and communion of the most pure and life-giving Mysteries of Christ, which burn the thorns of our sins. You, when you have not fulfilled this duty during the year, of course will fulfill it during the Fast. The most merciful Lord loved us so much, that He gave us, through food and drink, His most pure Body and life-giving Blood, as a token of life eternal and the incorrupt future feast. Let us offer Him thanksgiving with pure hearts, lips and acts!" - St. Macarius of Optina (Letters...)
"And though every day a man lives may rightly be a day of repentance, yet is it in these days more becoming, more appropriate, to confess our sins, to fast, and to give alms to the poor; since in these days you may wash clean the sins of the whole year." - St. John Chrysostom - "The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers"
"Brethren and Fathers, our good God who gives us life and brings us from year to year, has brought us also with love for mankind to this present time of fasting, in which each of the eager, as their choice directs, enters the contest; one devoting himself to self-mastery, eating only every two or three days, another to vigil, keeping vigil for so long or so long, another spending even longer in prostrations, and others in other ascetic actions. Quite simply during these holy days it is possible to see great zeal and attention. But the true subject behaves with obedience not at any particular time, but keeps up the struggle always. What is the struggle? Not to walk according to one’s own will, but to let oneself be ruled by the disposition of the superior. This is better than the other works of zeal and is a crown of martyrdom; except that for you there is also change of diet, multiplication of prostrations and increase of psalmody are in accord with the established tradition from of old. And so I ask, let us welcome gladly the gift of the fast, not making ourselves miserable, as we are taught, but let us advance with cheerfulness of heart, innocent, not slandering, not angry, not evil, not envying; rather peaceable towards each other, and loving, fair, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits; breathing in seasonable stillness, since hubbub is damaging in a community; speaking suitable words, since too unreasonable stillness is profitless; yet above all unsleepingly keeping watch over our thoughts, not opening the door to the passions, not giving place to the devil. If the spirit of the powerful one, it says, rise up against you, do not let it find your place. So that the enemy has power to suggest, but in no way to enter. We are lords of ourselves; let us not open our door to the devil; rather let us keep guard over our soul as a bride of Christ, not set about with tumult, unwounded by the arrows of the thoughts; for thus we are able to become a dwelling of God in Spirit. Thus we may be made worthy to hear, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Quite simply, Whatever is true, whatever noble, whatever just, whatever pure, whatever lovely, whatever of good report, if there is anything virtuous, if there is anything praiseworthy, to speak like the Apostle, do it; and the God of peace will be with you all, in Christ Jesus, our Lord, to whom be the glory and the might, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen." - St. Theodore the Studite - Catechesis 53 "On fasting; and that the true fast of the obedient and the subject is the cutting off of one’s will. Given on Cheesefare Sunday."
The Feasts of Great Lent: the Sunday of Orthodoxy, Sts. Gregory Palamas and John Klimakos, the Crucifixion of Christ, St. Mary of Egypt, and the raising of St. Lazarus (

Forgive me, and may God forgive us all!
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!