Protocol Number 143/12
October 28, 2012
Be strong in the Lord
and in the strength of His might.
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our annual commemoration of OXI Day and the stand of the people of Greece against the forces of fascism in October of 1940, is a cherished recognition of the power of our faith and heritage when faced with adversity and tremendous challenges. On October 28, 1940, this power was evident in the resounding “OXI”, the “NO” given in reply to the ultimatum of the Axis leaders who wanted to occupy Greece without resistance. The leaders and people of Greece stood firm in the face of overwhelming military might, unwilling to compromise their freedom and their human dignity and rights, gifts granted to them by the Almighty God.
This stand of our forbearers and their acceptance of the sacrifice which followed, revealed the power of their faith and heritage because they relied on the spiritual might of God to endure. While many acts of bravery were offered in defense of Greece and her people, her armies were no match for the war machine of the totalitarian regimes. Most people had only their voices, their wills, their identity, and their faith. This faith and a heritage of the highest ideals of life and community were the source of their victory against the fascist army and of the resilience that led the people of Greece through the remainder of the war and its aftermath. As generations before had endured centuries of occupation, they found hope in their faith in God, and experienced His blessings.
The witness of OXI Day and of the valiant stand of the people of Greece reminds us that we share in this heritage and faith, and that this relationship offers us guidance in the midst of great struggles. While the threats are not always the spread of fascism or of occupation, we often face tremendous adversities that threaten us or the well-being, freedom, and security of others. It is in this time that we must be resilient through the power of our faith. As those who endured the hardships that followed October 28, 1940, we can find peace in great turmoil by trusting in the One who calmed the storms. Following the example of our Lord, we can show compassion for those who are hurting while having the strength to bear our own burdens. By His wisdom we can affirm our boldness for what is just and good, and we can enhance our unity in Him by giving to our brothers and sisters in need.
In our commemorations of OXI Day, may we be challenged by the witness of those who found the strength to endure, and may we honor this legacy by doing the same. May we make every effort to assist our brothers and sisters in Greece, affirming that the power of God and of faith in Him is much greater than the temporal conditions of this world. To all in need of hope and care, let us offer the words of the Apostle Paul followed by our acts of love, May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy (Colossians 1:11).
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America