Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Welcome to Know Thyself!


Dear Reader:

This website is exclusively dedicated to the translation of a book written by St. Nektarios of Aegina titled Know Thyself. Know Thyself was published by St. Nektarios in Athens in 1904. The full title of the work is To Gnothi Sauton, etoi Meletai Threskeutikai kai Ethikai ("Know Thyself, or Religious and Ethical Studies").

Know Thyself is an Aretology, a work concerned with the virtues and the vices opposed to them. The virtues dealt with are: faith, hope, love, justice, truthfulness, the virtues of the cognitive part of the soul, those of the spirited part (the will and emotional power), and those of the appetitive part.

In treating these subjects, St. Nektarios draws from Holy Scripture, the Orthodox Fathers, especially John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, Gregory of Nyssa and Cyril of Alexandria, as well as the ancient Greeks, particularly Plato, Aristotle and Plutarch.

At the end he appends a discourse on virginity in the form of a letter addressed to the Nun Eusebia. This discourse is an exaltation of virginity and the monastic life, and at the same time a work of spiritual counsel.

Significantly, the Appendix of Know Thyself, in which the discourse on virginity appears, was written just one day before St. Nektarios went to Aegina - a small island not far from Piraeus - with a view to founding a monastery for nuns. He went to Aegina on September 10, 1904 for this purpose, accompanied by three nuns. The next day he found a suitable site, the ruined Monastery of Zoodochos Pege. There he began the necessary steps to reconstruct it. He renamed it the Holy Trinity Convent. This place would become a haven to put what is written in the book Know Thyself into practice.

The reason I decided to translate this book, never before fully translated into English, is because I consider it to be St. Nektarios' greatest publication of his many writings, his magnum opus, and one that is always timely which should inspire Christians to acquire the virtues in their fullness and put off all vice. It is written beautifully and is simple to understand, based on the wisdom of those who were pinnacles of virtue in both ancient Greece and early Christianity.

The goal is to eventually have this published as a book, when it is completed. Reproduction or copying of this text in any form is prohibited. I am sharing it online at this site only for free for the benefit of all until its completion.

With love in Christ,

John Sanidopoulos