A ‘love story’ of a Greek nun that just happened...





The Theotokos Greek Orthodox Girl’s Orphanage was started in 1999 by Ignatios, the Bishop of Madagascar, and Sister Nektaria Paradisi, the orphanage’s current director. The orphanage provides food, shelter, love and education for over 100 Indian girls. In just the past year, it has adopted many girls, sent four to college and also opened a boy’s orphanage.

How did a Greek nun end up in India in the first place?

Sister Nektaria says, “I never thought about India.I was always wanting to help poor people. I was thinking of going to Africa, because my my second language is French. But I was sent to South Korea.In 1991 one priest from there came to Kolkata reopen the Greek Church in Kolkata.It belongs to the Greek State. It has been declared a Heritage building by the Kolkata Municpality. It was closed for 20 years because there was no Greek community anymore. It was in a pitiable state almost abandoned. I was told to help the Greek priest who came from Korea to help him with the renovation work.” She adds, “I never had an intention to stay here, infact I didn’t pay any attention to learning the language. By end of 1992 I left back for Greece as I felt sick. Later on in 1997 I came back to India just to meet people with whom I met here during festivals.Once you come to India you never forget. You always want to come back!!.In 1998 the orphanage was established and I was asked to take care of the orphan children. I thought I would stay here for a couple of years and then return. When you have an orphan baby who has no one in his life, you raise her up, you are touched by them. You can’t abandon them. So I stayed back.” 


For instance Debi who came to sister when she was 9 months old. She was on her lap all the time.She slept in her arms. Sister used to sing in Greek to make her sleep.

The first word she spoke was a Greek word!

 But the financial situation in Greece has prevented the flowing of donations from Greece to India . The Greeks in Greece used to be a main donor for this philanthropic effort in India.Sister Nektaria says, “As it is not like before. I am not unhappy. I beleive God will provide, it is His children, His work. He will provide. I want to build a wall close to our backyard. But I have stopped it due to lack of funds.We have five schools and five dispensaries in the remote villages. Everything is free of cost. We have to pay teachers. We have to pay teachers and staffs. We have to pay taxes.” If things improve she has many plans. “One is a new building to for high school.Another is to reduce expense, to start farming inside, grow fish in our pond, have cows for milk, rear poultry and grow vegetables so that we don’t need to buy it from outisde. But for this one need to have capital. But right now it isn’t possible” says Sister Nektaria with a lot of hope and excitement. “My happiness is to see these orphans grow up and be capable to stand on their own feet.I think love. If you love you forget yourself.” sighs of Sister Nektaria.

4 comments:

  1. Love your post! We have supported this wonderful orphanage for many years. Please contact us. Would love to publish this article. rosa@deamant.com

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  2. @Rosa thats wonderful I tried sending you email but it didnt work. Could you please email me-abhijitganguly2006@gmail.com. Thank You

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  3. Hi Abhijit, I sent you an email yesterday mine rosa@deamant.com.

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