Effy Alexakis Book honours "The Giving Heart" of Father Nektarios

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Acclaimed Greek Australian photographer Effy Alexakis has honoured the charitable work of the remarkable and much loved Father Nektarios, in her recently published book entitled: The Heart of Giving - Father Nektarios' Soup Kitchen which was launched at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville by His Grace Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia.

The book looks at the philanthropic work - through photography and oral interviews – of Father Nektarios and the selfless support of his volunteers. The book is mostly in English with Father Nektarios' life story in both Greek and English.

Although having served for decades at the Church of Saints Constantine & Helen in Newtown where he fed the poor and destitute irrespective of ethnicity and religion through his well known soup kitchen,  and from where he was recently retired from,  Marrickville is where Father Nektarios started his journey.

“ When I first started the soup kitchen (here in Marrickville), it was not so much for the food. But for people to be together. The people would talk about what they had gone through, their sorrows and their hardships in Greece. I would look forward to sit and eat with them and to share their life stories. It was my favourite day of the week, and I couldn’t wait for Mondays to come around.”

In February 202I, Effy Alexakis went to meet Father Nektarios and there began her 2 year journey documenting his philanthropic work and the soup kitchen. She would visit once or twice a week with her camera and her i-phone recorder. She decribed it as a busy and welcoming space, sometimes stressful and uncomfortable witnessing the dramas and chaos of people going through difficult times and experiencing hardships.

"The book documents the last few years of Father Nektarios’ work, it looks at the soup kitchen, it looks at the volunteers who are now continuing their volunteering with Father Nicholas Stavropoulos, and are adding to the legacy initiated by Fr Nektarios.

"Without sounding too melodramatic, the book and the philanthropy and kindness of the people I met has changed me. The book looks at community, it looks at people showing kindness and support for each other. It is an amazing feel good story, especially post Covid." said Alexakis.

The book launched was attended by close to 400 people including the Consul General of Greece in Sydney Mr Ioannis Mallikourtis.


Father Nektarios speaks about his book by Effy Alexakis.
GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.

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