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November 9, 2019

The Veneration of Saint Nektarios in the Village of Sykia in Laconia, Greece

In 1959 the sailor Antonios Karastateris from Lachi in Neapolis spoke with the priest Fr. Dimitrios Anastasakis, who was originally from Sykia, about St. Nektarios and his miracles. He also gave him a book by Metropolitan Titus of Paramithia about the life and miracles of the Saint.

Though St. Nektarios had net yet been officially canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, he was still honored and venerated on November 9th, which was the day of his repose. Fr. Dimitrios Anastasakis decided to celebrate the feast of the Saint on his feast day, and he informed his parishioners about this at the Church of Saint John of Monemvasia, instructing them to attend the Divine Liturgy, but they did not want to, having never heard of him before.

Fr. Dimitrios later came down with an illness due to his heart condition, so he retired and returned to his village of Sykia. There he spoke with the parish priest Fr. Haralambos Tsakonas about the life of St. Nektarios, and he believed in the Saint it seems after being healed by him of some ailment through his intercessions. When the feast of the Saint came on November 9th he performed a Divine Liturgy in his honor, and despite it being a work day the church was full. Within a short time the Saint became known since Fr. Harlamabos often spoke about him, gave out icons of him, and the people of Sykia read the periodical "Hagia Marina" that recorded his miracles. Furthermore, Fr. Dimitrios buit a sacred shrine to the Saint at the entrance of the village which became for the people like another Pool of Siloam.

Many from Sykia and the surrounding area received healing of various ailments through the vigil lamp oil in the shrine of St. Nektarios, and some of these miracles were recorded in the book by the late Dimitrios Panagopoulos titled Nothing is Incurable for Saint Nektarios. With this many began to think about erecting a church in the village in honor of St. Nektarios. In 1962 the abbot of the Monastery of Longovarda in Paros, Archimandrite Philotheos Zervakos, who was from the nearby villages of Molai and Pakia, and who had been a spiritual child of St. Nektarios, brought a portion of the relics of the Saint from his monastery in Aegina, and offered his help in building the church.

The late Protopresbyter Fr. John Despinakis, who was a parish priest in Monemvasia, offered a plot of land that belonged to him for the building of the church, and the engineer Leonidas Papadakos drew up the plans for the church free of charge. When everything was ready, only money was needed, so the people, both locals and those abroad, began to offer their donations.

The foundation stone was laid on October 14, 1962, and was completed on August 31, 1963. The consecration was held by Metropolitan Kyprianos of Monemvasia and Sparta on September 29, 1963. After some time, a hospice was built. Then in 1973 Metropolitan Hierotheos of Monemvasia and Sparta turned the Church of St. Nektarios from the chapel of Sykia to a shrine of the Holy Metropolis of Monemvasia and Sparta, and it is managed by a committee chaired by each Metropolitan of Monemvasia and Sparta.

For the last thirty years the presiding Metropolitan of Monemvasia and Sparta, Eustathios, had the church decorated with iconography, built a chapel, a bell tower, and a ceremonial hall, and the whole building was covered with stone, while providing aid to students coming from Sykia and all Laconia and helping in both philanthropic and missionary work. Charitable and cultural projects of Sykia are also being strengthened.

A Divine Liturgy takes place in the Church of Saint Nektarios every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the year, and every Wednesday after the Divine Liturgy a Supplication Service to Saint Nektarios is done.