St. Nektarios

How a TV Personality’s Faith Helped Her Overcome Her Health Challenges

American television talk show host Maria Menounos recently shared details about her newborn daughter, her intentions to raise her family within the Greek Orthodox Church, and recent health concerns. 

“Bringing my daughter up in the Greek community is going to be really important, giving her those strong roots, going to church and letting her know it’s [good] to have and be a good member of the community,” she told, the online arm of NBC News’ daily morning show broadcast, according to a September 6 article published on the website.

After battling infertility for a decade, the longtime Greek-American entertainment journalist turned TV personality claims her prayers were answered when she had her first child—Athena Alexandra—in June 2023 through a surrogate mother. 

Menounos, who hosts “Heal Squad,” a daily digital Apple podcast about holistic healthcare, has faced a series of formidable health difficulties. She underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor the size of a golf ball in 2017—a year after her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. She was subsequently diagnosed with diabetes, which runs in her family, and this year she disclosed her struggle with pancreatic cancer, along with undergoing surgery to eliminate a tumor.

Asked in an October 24 video interview by Action News 5, a Memphis, Tennessee news channel, how she overcame those challenges, Menounos, the daughter of Boston-based Greek immigrant parents, replied that she relied on “incredible [positive-thinking] tools that help, along with my faith, and knowing that faith kind of guides me through so much of this.” [1:50 minutes into video]

Earlier this year, Menounos visited Aegina, an island in the Gulf of Greece known for its patron saint, Nektarios, who played a significant role in the Greek Orthodox Church during the early 20th century.

Nektarios was renowned for his miraculous healing abilities, which extended to a wide range of medical conditions such as cancer, heart problems, epilepsy and arthritis, according to Menounos in an Instagram post from June.

“Ever since my mom and I were diagnosed with brain tumors friends would tell us they were going there to pray for us,” Menounos said, referring to the island, where she visited a shrine dedicated to Nektarios.

“We attended St. Nektarios church in California but going to his church in Greece was always the dream,” she added in her Instagram post. “I wanted to say thank you for all the miracles and healings we have been blessed with.”

Having heard stories that the faithful can hear St. Nektarios in a tomb, Menounos knelt before it and instantly heard faint knocking sounds. She asked a friend accompanying her as a guide “if that was him and she said yes,” the TV host wrote.

“But I couldn’t believe it,” Menounos added, explaining that she kept her ear glued to the tomb for a long time. “I prayed to St. Nektarios and said please make it undeniable,” she wrote. “I don’t want to leave here unsure if I heard you.”

As she was offering prayers for those in her life battling cancer, recounted Menounos, she says she heard a loud noise that made her scream, “‘I hear him!’”

“It was definitely undeniable,” she concluded. “I sobbed with joy.”