The following is taken from an address given by St. Nektarios when he was first assigned dean of Rizarios Ecclesiastical School.
“My children, in each of you there exists a future priest, an important element of the history and future life of our suffering country. You should be proud to wear your cassocks (anteri). Pray to the Almighty that He grants you the ability to serve His Church, for this vocation is not merely a job but is a mission which begins on earth and continues in heaven. Please heed these humble words and may your souls continuously shine with the eternal truths of our Holy Gospel…
“My children, I also want you to be proud of our Orthodox faith.
Orthodoxy is our treasure, our priceless pearl, if you will. Orthodoxy is also the light that guides us. If we were ever to lose this treasure, this light, then we would be scattered to the ends of the earth like dust, ceasing to exist as a people and as a nation. There are so many aspects of our treasure that I want to share with you, but our time today does not permit it. We will, however, have the chance to explore these aspects in future lectures.
Today, I would like to touch upon some other thoughts that I would like to share with you. My children, our lives begin like a clean piece of slate. It is up to us to determine what will be written on that slate. If on this virtues and good God-fearing acts are written, then we have lived up to our divine mission…
“So my children, I hope that from this day on we will live together as one family in Jesus Christ. We should, in essence, create a blessed brotherhood. I promise that I will stand by your side always as a spiritual father. As I close my talk to you today, may I comment on something which bothers me.
I have noticed that almost all of you are beardless. Why are you shunning this natural and beautiful tradition? Do not be swayed by the Europeans. We Greek Orthodox have our own traditions, which date back to the Apostles and early Fathers of the Church. I ask that you follow their manly examples, and hold yourselves to it. Do it for the struggles and hardships they endured for the early Church. This is, after all, the least we can do.”
Source: Saint Nektarios: The Saint of Our Century, Sotos Chrondropoulos, Holy Trinity - St. Nekatarios Convent: Aegina