It was a hot summer afternoon. St. Nektarios, dressed in his work clothes and with a dirty straw hat on his head, was working at the entrance of the monastery. The other workers had just finished their meal and were resting somewhere further, in the shade. Upon arriving at the monastery, Father Philoteos did not recognize St. Nektarios in his attire and thought he was one of the working monks. Approaching the place where he was working, he asked:
– Is His Eminence here?
– He is here, replied St. Nektarios.
– Is he inside the monastery?
– Yes, he is inside.
– Go and tell him that a spiritual son of his, a deacon, has arrived and wishes to see him immediately!
– As you wish, responded St. Nektarios and invited him to wait in the room that he had just painted.
After only five minutes, St. Nektarios returned dressed in a different attire, with his episcopal staff and cross.
Speechless, Father Zervakos saw that the person he had spoken to with such pride was his own spiritual father. He knelt down and with tears began to ask for forgiveness for his attitude. And, of course, in his kindness, the Holy Father forgave him, embraced him warmly, and began as usual to guide him with spiritual advice. Then, Venerable Philoteos asked him:
– How can I overcome this sin of pride, Your Holiness?
And the Saint replied:
– The Holy Fathers teach us that every sin is overcome by practicing the virtue that opposes it. Thus, pride is overcome by cultivating humility, hatred of one’s neighbor by practicing love, love of money by practicing generosity, greed by fasting and moderation, and so on.
It was indeed a lesson in humility that his disciple never forgot.
Excerpt from St. Nektarios the Wonderworker by Deacon Phd. Morlova Nicușor, Egumenita Publishing House.