January 15, 2015

Saint Nektarios and the 15th of January

By Panagiotis S. Panagiotopoulos

Saint Nektarios the Wonderworker is connected with the date of January 15th. It is an influential date in the earthly life of the Saint.

First, on this date, the 15th of January 1847, he received in his homeland of Selybria in Eastern Thrace, the sacred Mystery of Baptism, taking the name "Anastasios", which was the name of his uncle, just three and a half months after his birth, which had taken place on 1 October 1846, in the same city.

On the same date, 15 January 1877, at the ripe age of 30, two months after his tonsure, "Lazarus D. Kephalas, Monk from Selybria Thrace" (as noted by his own hand in the Codex of the Monastery of Nea Moni in Chios) was ordained Deacon with the name Nektarios, at the Cathedral of Saints Menas, Victor and Vikentios of the city of Chios, by the local Metropolitan Gregory.

Here it is worth noting that Saint Nektarios, since for almost seven years he was a teacher in the village of Lithi in Chios, and having a strong desire for the monastic life - the monastic citizenship which is the "boast of the Church of Christ" (according to Isaac the Syrian) - he entered in the year 1873 into the above historical Monastery, where after a three-year ascetic novitiate, he was tonsured a monk in November 1876 and named Lazarus.

And, O the strange wonder, on the same day, the 15th of January 1889, a Sunday, Archimandrite Nektarios Kephalas was ordained a Bishop and elected "Metropolitan of the ancient brilliant Metropolis of Pentapolis".

The ordination took place at Saint Nicholas Church in Cairo, by the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria Sophronios, and concelebrating with him were the Archbishops Anthony of Kerkyra and Porphyrios I of Sinai.

In the Great Codex of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, under number 61 on pages 394-396, written by the hand of Patriarch Sophronios himself, are both the Announcement of the Election and the Act of Ordination, with the Confession of Faith, which was made by Saint Nektarios as the elected Metropolitan shortly before he was ordained Bishop, and it is in the archives of the Monastery in Aegina.

Lastly, on the same date, 15 January 1998, under Patriarch Petros VII of Alexandria, the restoration of the Holy and God-bearing Father took place after being expelled from the Alexandrian Church, and so in the Alexandrian Patriarchal Synod on this day it was announced: "With great care the Holy and Sacred Synod, bends down with the fear of God and before the icon of the Saint found in the Synodal Hall, and we declare the restoration to canonical order and beseech forgiveness from our Holy Father Nektarios for the persecution and unjust wrath against him, by the spiteful influence of the evil one."

May we this day, then, as everyday, praise and honor him with hymns and exquisite tones, in the churches and outside, and everywhere, the Saint of our time, "who appeared in these last days", and may the intercessions of our Holy Father Nektarios, the Metropolitan of Pentapolis, the Wonderworker, give unto all of us "all sorts of cures to those who reverently call upon" his holy name.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.