Monday, 27 September 2021

Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
121, Saint Nektarios Church, Rethymnon

Saint Nektarios Church … a modern church in the heart of the old town of Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Patrick Comerford

This was a busy weekend, with the Limerick and Killaloe Diocesan Synod meeting on Saturday and two church services on Sunday.

Before today begins, I am taking a little time this morning for prayer, reflection and reading. Each morning in the time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

My theme for these few weeks is churches in Rethymnon on the island of Crete, where I spent two weeks earlier this month.

My photographs this morning (27 September 2021) are from the Church of Saint Nektarios beneath the slopes of the Fortezza in the old town of Rethymnon.

Inside Saint Nektarios … the church has a fresh, cool and inviting interior (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

The Church of Saint Nektarios on Ioannou Melissinou street in Rethymnon is named in honour of Saint Nektarios of Aegina (1846-1920). Saint Nektarios is also the name of the parish church in the village of Tsesmes, where I was staying this month, the Monastery of Agios Nektarios in Anogeia, about 52 km far from Rethymno, and the church in the village of Saint Nektarios, 75 km south-east of Chania.

Metropolitan Nektarios of Pentapolis, known as the ‘Wonderworker of Aegina,’ is one of the most renowned Greek saints.

Saint Nektarios was born Anastasios Kephalas on 1 October 1846 in Selymbria, to a poor family. At the age of 14, he moved to Constantinople (Istanbul) to continue his education. In 1866, at age 20, he moved to the island of Chios to begin teaching post. At the age of 30, he became a monk on 7 November 1876, in the Monastery of Nea Moni.

Later, he graduated from the University of Athens in 1885, and went to Alexandria, where he was ordained priest and served the Church of Saint Nicholas in Cairo. He became titular Metropolitan Bishop of Pentapolis in 1889, and served as an assistant bishop in Cairo for a year.

However, he was suspended from his post without explanation and returned to Greece in 1891. There he spent several years in priestly education in Athens, developing courses, writing books, and preaching.

At the request of several nuns, he established Holy Trinity Monastery for them on the island of Aegina in 1904, and he ordained two women as deaconesses in 1911.

He resigned in 1908 at the age of 62, and retired to the convent on Aegina, where he lived the rest of his life as a monk. He died on 8 November 1920, at the age of 74. Saint Nektarios was officially recognised as a saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1961.

The church is a modern building beneath the slopes of the Venetian Fortezza (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Luke 9: 46-50 (NRSVA):

46 An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. 47 But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, 48 and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.’

49 John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.’ 50 But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.’

The icon of Christ the Great High Priest on the bishop’s chair or throne in the church (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (27 September 2021) invites us to pray:

Let us pray for the Diocese of the Windward Islands, and the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Grenada.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The apse at the east end of Saint Nektarios Church (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

Votive candles lighting in the church in the afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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