St Nectarios and the Village in Romania

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In a village of Romania, the people constantly pleaded with their Patriarch to send them a priest. Unfortunately, the Patriarch had no priest to send, and since no priest was in the village, no Sacraments or Liturgies could be performed: no marriages, baptisms or funerals.

One day a car pulled up outside the village church and out came a priest. The villagers were surprised but pleased. They warmly welcomed him and asked how the Patriarch was able to send him when he told them he had no extra priests. He answered: “Didn’t you want a priest? Look, I have come”. He began immediately to perform Sacraments and serve the Divine Liturgy for the faithful to participate in Holy Communion.

One day he told the people he had completed his work and had to leave. The villagers did not want him to go, but he insisted. So they thanked the priest and reluctantly farewelled him. Shortly afterwards, the villagers visited the Patriarch and thanked him for sending them a priest, asking if he could also send another. The Patriarch however was confused and told them he did not send a priest. He rang his vicar-general, who also confirmed that no priest was sent.

The patriarch then asked the villagers what did the priest do in the village? They told him that he performed marriages, baptisms, funerals, and whatever else a priest does. The Patriarch enquired if he left any paper records for these Sacraments. “Of course”, said the villagers, “He left them in the parish records”. “Did you see what he wrote? With what name did he sign?” The people responded that the papers were in Romanian but the signature was in a foreign language. He asked to see the papers. When the villagers returned, the Patriarch couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw that that the paperwork was written in Romanian, expect for the priest’s signature which was written in Greek:

Nectarios, Bishop of Pentapolis

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Source: October-November 2014 Lychnos Edition