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 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,
It is with thanks to God that we greet the arrival of the Twenty-Eighth of October, "OXI Day." Each year on this day, we commemorate the resounding "No" of the Hellenic nation in 1940 against the dark forces of Fascism that were sweeping Europe at that critical time in the history of our world. We commemorate on this day a lasting and universal demonstration of Christian courage and faith over the brutish ideologies of hatred, racism, bigotry, and violence.
As proud bearers of a Hellenic and Orthodox Christian legacy that had been shaped for several millennia, the resounding voice of "OXI" by the Greek people to the intimidation tactics of the Axis powers had its origin in long established notions of democracy and liberty. It was for this reason that the people of Greece could not and would not compromise their values to the demands of a dictator. It was also for this reason that the voice of "OXI" by the Greek people was indeed made on behalf of all concerned citizens of Europe that too were threatened with tyranny and unlawful occupation.
Today, as we remember the heroic acts of our Greek forebears in the name of freedom for all humanity, we continue to be inspired by their example of a decisive, sustained, and firm defense of liberty, democracy, and justice. As American citizens and residents, we identify readily with these values, which we proclaim at home and abroad. More importantly, as Orthodox Christians, we honor these ideals by our constant worship and praise of Almighty God, Who overcomes darkness with light, Who sustains us in our faith, and Who provides us with the courage to confront all forces of injustice, terror, and tyranny in our contemporary world.
Indeed, our contemporary world continues to harbor voices of hatred, racism, bigotry, and violence. These voices do not know the peace and the love that comes from God; they do not know "the true light that enlightens every human being" (John 1:9). Thus, our utterance of the word "No" to such harmful voices serves a dual function. It serves as a guarantee that others who live in conditions of oppression or threat might be free, and it serves to educate those whose hearts have been hardened by pointing them toward the salvation that is offered by our God. As such, the cry of "No" is a voice that emerges out of patience, courage, and hope; out of uncompromising love for freedom and peace.
May this courage and hope that is embodied in the Twenty-Eighth of October continue to guide and inspire us in our commitment to liberty and justice, so that the unending love and protection of God for all humankind may be known by all people and in all places throughout our world.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America