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November 18, 2019

The House of Saint Nektarios on the Island of Chios

House of St. Nektarios in Lithi

Lithi is located at the side of the mountain Erikani, about 120m above sea level, 23km west of Chios town, with panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. The population is probably no more than 500 people. It is one of the 22 villages on the island of Chios that cultivate the unique mastic tree that produces the masticha.

It was in this village that Saint Nektarios lived for a significant portion of his life. In 1866, at age 20, he moved to the island of Chios from Constantinople to take a teaching post, until 1873 when he entered as a novice at the nearby Monastery of Nea Moni. Three years later, on November 7, 1876, he became a monk, at age 30, in the Monastery of Nea Moni, for he had long wished to embrace the ascetic life. On January 15, 1877 he was ordained a Deacon in the Metropolis Cathedral of Chios, taking the name Nektarios (he was previously named Anastasios Kephalas).

Kyriaki Rorou-Karanikoli with the icon of St. Nektarios

If you visit the island of Chios today and go to the village of Lithi, you can visit the house in which Saint Nektarios lived, and across the street from this house is the elementary school he taught in. Today the owner of the house is Kyriaki Rorou-Karanikoli, who has said the following about the house:

"This house was owned by some of our uncles who lived in America, they sold it, and my family bought it. The house was habitable when we received it and there was nothing to remind us that Saint Nektarios had lived in this place. We repaired it and had an icon of the Saint made - at the exhortation of our Bishop and with our complete agreement - which is located now in the house. It is a great blessing to know that in the place you live there lived at one time a great Saint of Orthodoxy. It is something that cannot be described. You can only feel happy about it."

Elementary School of Lithi

Today the interior of the house has been renovated and it is an entirely modern home. Residents of Lithi speak proudly of the fact that Saint Nektarios lived and taught in their village. "Here, in this village, Saint Nektarios lived. It is a great honor for us. May we have his blessing," said one resident.

Students of the Elementary School in Lithi with the Metropolitan holding icons of St. Nektarios.

In 2015 the Metropolitan of Chios undertook a remarkable initiative, in order to honor the Saint in his village. He began a scholarship fund called the Saint Nektarios Scholarship for the academic year of nine months of 100 euros a month for the elementary school students of Lithi. These students, every year on the feast of Saint Nektarios on November 9th, recite the Lord's Prayer in the nearby Chapel of Saint Nektarios during the Divine Liturgy.