November 9, 2021

Saint Nektarios, Patron Saint of Athletes

Saint Nektarios, after a proposal of a committee of Physical Education Teachers in Greece, was proclaimed the Patron Saint of Athletes, as he blessed the establishment of an Athletics Association in Kymi as "something excellent", with the goal of such clubs being physical exercise and spiritual development, two poles around which the perfect education and upbringing revolves. Later, as the Director of the Rizareio School, he took special care of the students involvement in sports and the improvement of their nutrition. Also, in the same School, he established soccer as a sport for the students at their request. Thus he was the first to introduce soccer as a sport in the school environment.

We have preserved the discourse in praise of exercise and youthful involvement in sports at the inauguration of the Athletics Association in Kymi on August 21, 1893 titled "On Exercise". This text was published slightly adapted for general use on May 3, 1901 in a magazine of the time.