November 2, 2015

Saint Nektarios as a Teacher of the Youth

Saint Nektarios, the Bishop of Pentapolis and Wonderworker, remains today a far-shining lighthouse and illuminates us with his many virtues, important writings and innumerable miracles.

Among other things, however, he was an excellent Educator and Teacher of the youth, whom he considered the golden hope of the Church and the Nation, as the "foundation of tomorrow". He describes adolescence as important and hurried. "Important indeed is the great mission for which it is allotted, hurried in its short duration, during which it must accomplish many and great things," as he notes in his discourse titled "On the Call of Teenagers in Society" delivered to the High School students of Lamia.

He called teenagers the "new generation" as well as the "successor generation" to whom the Nation and State deliver "the deposits of the ancestors and all the treasures of past generations." This is why he wanted to encourage young people in their spiritual struggles and strengthen them, by encouraging them in the exercise of virtue. He taught them with much love that they had to guard their faith in Christ, the true God, as a sacred deposit. They had to live a life in Christ, connected with Him through the salvific Mysteries of the Church.

He knew of the great difficulties they often had in their spiritual struggles. And he recommended to them as a victorious weapon, alertness and stability in their Christian life. To the students of the High School in Lamia, he said the following in his homily: My beloved children, your struggles require "a brave decision and unchanging morale to acquire virtue. Because the undecided, those who with negligence and indolence begin the struggle for virtue, are rapidly discouraged and defeated, and very easily become cowards and flee."

He recommended Holy Scripture as an indispensable guide for the knowledge of truth, for illumination and their preparation for salvation. And he stressed with all the strength of his soul that they had to combine "piety and science", for in this way they will progress and prosper throughout their lives. The central idea of ​​his speeches to young people was this truth, that "without the virtuous life, the ultimate destination of man is unattainable."

The Saint always taught the youth from words of Holy Scripture and the Fathers of the Church, and often used the words of ancient writers. Above all, his primary concern was to teach by example. And he succeeded, through struggle and the grace of the Lord. In fact, one of his students and spiritual children wrote in a letter to his friend in 1897: "Fortunately in our days there is the beautiful soul of our Revered Director... You see him live in this world and yet feel him to be a man not of this world... Without exaggeration he prays day and night... being forbearing, loving everyone and disarming with his innocent look... He consorts with various people, whom he calms and directs to the incarnate Savior with unprecedented kindness and gentleness... He is a man but lives like an angel."

Through the intercession of our great friend Saint Nektarios, let us walk according to his teachings.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.