Saint Nektarios the Wonderworker (1846–1920) has become one of the most well-known and much beloved Orthodox Christian saints of the contemporary age since his saintly glorification in 1961. Born in Selymbria in the Ottoman Empire, he was educated in Constantinople and in Athens. At the age of thirty, he was tonsured a monk and given the name ‘Nektarios’ on the island of Chios and then ordained as a deacon three years later.
It was during his years as a deacon and student of theology in Athens that Saint Nektarios first honed his skills as a preacher, for which he would later be renowned. The ten homilies compiled in the present book were delivered towards the end of this period, during and around Saint Nektarios’s final Great Lent as a deacon. With topics ranging from the free will of man, repentance, confession, and the Holy Eucharist, these sermons bring to light the emerging brilliance of the saint as a young man. Not only do they demonstrate his deep knowledge of Holy Scripture and understanding of the human person, which can only come from a grace-filled spiritual life and devotion to God, but also his sharp intellect and familiarity with subjects outside of scripture and patristics, as he draws examples from history, literature, and the Greek and Latin philosophers with great ease, bringing everything together to craft practical pastoral exhortations. These sermons were, without a doubt, immeasurably beneficial to the souls who heard him in person, as they will be to anyone who reads these words today.
While Saint Nektarios is already renowned for being a wonderworker, a prolific writer, a gifted preacher, and, of course, a divinely inspired spiritual father, his artistic talents have largely remained unnoticed. Completed in 1907, while he was the Director of the Rizarios Ecclesiastical School, this collection of his own hand-drawn calligraphy, primarily in the form of the Precious and Life-giving Cross, demonstrates his devotion to Christ and his Holy Cross by means of the graphic arts. Here we are given a rare glimpse into something which gave repose and joy to the saint when he was not preoccupied with his many other duties. English translations accompany each hand-drawn piece so that, for the first time, an exceedingly broad audience can enjoy and be spiritually edified by the fruit of the saint’s pen in a uniquely different way.