OXI Day - October 28, 2009
For you, brethren, have been called to freedom.
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,
With gracious hearts for our blessed faith and heritage, we observe the annual commemoration of OXI Day once again. The significance of our remembrance of this special day originated in a firm stand against the forces of tyranny and oppression that threatened Greece and the world in 1940. It is also inextricably linked to our identity as Hellenes and Orthodox Christians.
The resounding “NO” to the occupation and subjugation of Greece that was proclaimed in the words and deeds of the people, affirmed the deep faith of these people in words of St. Paul, you have been called to freedom (Galatians 5:13), and stated emphatically the love of freedom and truth that characterized the Hellenic mind, a mind that had sustained generations through centuries of oppression, and that nurtured the hope of many as they waited for justice and peace. The reply to the leadership of Fascist regimes was also marked by courage and honor. The military resources of Greece were no match for the terrorizing war machine of the occupiers. The reply of “NO” to their requests could only be supported by the courage to stand for what was right and the honor to endure the sacrifice that would follow. For the people of Greece did suffer for their stand, and on this day we commemorate the sacrifice of life, property, and well-being for the sake of freedom and justice.
As Orthodox Christians we also can affirm in our commemoration the strength and power of the faith that we share with those who endured the pain and tragedy of occupation. As believers in the One who loves us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5:2), we know the redemptive power of God’s grace, which instills within us courage to endure and have hope in all circumstances. We also share in a divine love that inspires us to stand for freedom and truth, to offer our lives and resources in service, and to carry a cross of sacrifice so that others may know the ineffable joy of freedom and redemption.
On this OXI Day of remembrance may we offer prayers for the blessed memory of those who sacrificed so much in their stand for what is just, true, and honorable. May we also affirm our commitment to the unwavering defense of freedom, truth, and justice by all means and always under the guidance and protection of our loving God.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America