BACKGROUND OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE HOLY TEMPLE OF SAINT NEKTARIOS OF CHANIA

 

The construction of the Holy Temple of Saint Nektarios of Chania, which was also the first Temple that was constructed worldwide in honor of the Saint and even before the end of the procedural of his official declaration as a Saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, is due, we could say, to the acquaintance of the pair Marika and Stefanos Koufakis, devout Christians of the city of Chania, with the monk Amphilochios Makris, a student and a friend of Saint Nektarios, who was the founder of the Brotherhood “Of the Mother of His beloved”, namely the Mother of God in Patmos.

On November 9, 1951 the Koufakis couple together with devout ladies attended an honorary religious event dedicated to Saint Nektarios, in the Holy Temple of Saint Nikolaos of Pefkakia of Athens.

This group will be the first godly core of believers in our city until the year 1956 during which a celebration will be held at the Holy Temple of Saint Panteleimon of Chalepa where an icon of Saint Nektarios was placed. It was then that the idea was formed of carrying out a fundraiser for the construction of an icon stand in order to officially place there the icon of the Saint.

But because the cost was deemed great for those times, they thought it would be better to build a small Temple in honor of the Saint. This thought gave birth to the need to create a union in order to proceed with the implementation of the agreed.

Thus, in the years 1957, 1958 and 1959, the Saint was hosted in the Holy Temple of Saint Luke where events of worship are carried out in honor of Saint Nektarios and a Paraklesis every Wednesday, with crowds of people attending.

In 1960 believers of Chania and from all around of Crete in general are blessed, with devoutness and awe, to embrace the Relics of the Saint in his Holy Temple in Pachiana of Chania.

The Holy Relic (Vertebra) that is kept in the Temple was given through the mediation of the Hieromonk Amphilochios Makris, the “Elder of Patmos” when on October 20, 1960 and while he was sick and hospitalized in the Red Cross of Athens, he received the visit of Mrs Marika Koufakis, to whom he said: “Now that are here, we will go to Aegina to see to it, that you will be given a relic of Saint Nektarios for his Temple, which is being built in Chania.”

So with the certificate, from 10.28.1960, of the Metropolitan Bishop of Hydra, Spetses, and Aegina Prokopios, a vertebra was given of Saint Nektarios, who throughout the route of the journey to Piraeus had a pleasant aroma, a fact which the fellow passengers of the ship realized and confirmed.

On October 29, 1960, on a Saturday at 4:00 p.m., Saint Nektarios of Pentapolis comes to Chania with the scheduled flight.

On November 8, 1960, on the eve of the Saint’s feast, humbly and plainly, without processions and factions, accompanied only by the pious and solemn percussion of the bell of the newly built and just finished Holy Temple, the Saint settles permanently now in his House, the first Temple of the Saint in the whole world, to be the protector of Chania and a successor to Nikon the “Metanoeite.

By the Protocol No. 260 of 04.20.1961 Patriarchal and Synodical Act of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Metropolitan Bishop of Pentapolis Nektarios Kefalas is declared as a Saint “… as from now and hereafter to eternity, the forever honored Hierarch Nektarios Kefalas is counted among the Osioi and Saints of the Church, honored by faithful and hymn praises, on the ninth of the month of November which was when his body’s life saintly ended due to old age”.

On September 22, 1965 the Christian Association “SAINT NEKTARIOS OF CHANIA was established, with the sole purpose of the construction of philanthropic institutions for the care of suffering members of our society.

The same people a few years ago and in particular on August 6, 1962, under the name “Association of Establishment of the Holy Temple of Saint Nektarios of Chania“, worked and erected the Holy Temple of Saint Nektarios of Chania, replacing the Association’s first temple that was erected, because it was deemed insufficient in space and appearance.

Within a short time the Association constructs new buildings for the Foundation,Home for Girlswhich will accommodate poor, orphaned and abandoned girls. In the first institution live and find affection and protection twenty-two (22) destitute and orphaned girls, who will remain under the aegis of the Foundations until their marriage.

The girls attend classes of cutting, sewing, embroidery, knitting, painting, iconography, foreign languages, music and other arts by their interests. A tailor shop specialized in holy vestments also functions for those interested.

Since 1976 a temporary shelter for the care of elderly monks operated, which was temporarily housed in a leased dwelling until the construction of the multistorey building adjacent to the church, where there were created new guesthouses, the Hagiographic House, the very rich Museum of Folk Art and the Spiritual and Cultural hall where recently every Sunday, volunteers of the newly established Association of Madams and Ladies, friends of the Institutions, offer coffee, soft drinks, etc., after the end of the Divine Liturgy to the entire congregation with beneficial and fruitful discussions on various issues that concern society today.

In addition to the private land of thirty [30] acres of Mrs. Marika Koufakis in Korakies of Akrotiri, which was selflessly offered to the church, children’s summer camps of the Institutions of the Holy Temple were built, where in the summer the children are accommodated, as well as the Cultural Center and Spiritual Retreat where numerous events have been held till today.

Since the launching of the “Housing for Girls so far there have been accommodated by finding the necessary warmth, protection and affection, eight hundred [800] girls from infants, toddlers to teenagers, and adults sometimes and of which more than one hundred [100] have been married and received the necessary dowry, and in addition all the girls receive dowry, regardless of the time that they were accommodated by the Foundation, as long as they wish it.

Furthermore, several girls studied in Technological Educational Institutes and Universities and found employment. The Foundation continues to monitor and take care of all the girls, that at times lived in it, by occasionally organizing various gatherings and other events, where they gather together with their families.

It goes without saying that available to the Institutions are, from the first moment of their operation, the appropriate scientific personnel such as psychologists, sociologists, social workers, teachers of Primary and Secondary education, doctors etc. some of which are on the permanent staff of the Institutions on payroll, and others are working as unpaid volunteers offering their services and to whom we once again strongly thank.

In the difficult times that our Homeland and our people go through, our church continues with undiminished zeal her charity work that from the beginning of the operation of the Association and the Institutions spread throughout the world.

It made available to the Monasteries, Holy Temples and chapels the holy vestment tailor shop decorating as a result with holy covers and holy vestments, a multitude of churches around the world and the Greek domain.

It also offered and offers to our distressed fellows household items, clothing and footwear while on a daily basis are offered approximately one hundred and fifty [150] food rations for free to those in need. Additionally, it provided and provides psychological support to expatriates who live abroad and call asking for consolation for the difficulties that they encounter while living abroad.

Also, the hostels of the Institutions and the Cultural Center in Korakies constantly accommodate people, from the first moment of their completion until today, who came to our town from all parts of the world, and asked to be accommodated.

A crowd of poor students have been hosted to them at times and we continue with the same zeal and fervor the charitable work of the Holy Temple of Saint Nektarios as it was envisioned by the Temple’s founders.

The text was written by Mr. John Pirovolakis (former supervisor of First Grade education).

 

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