Protocol Number 175/17
October 28, 2017
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,
Today as we commemorate OXI Day and the significance of the stand against fascism demonstrated by the people of Greece on October 28, 1940, we are aware that we live in a world where forces of hatred and violence still threaten life and liberty. Just as the leaders of the Axis armies had no respect for freedom, were consumed with a quest for power, and demanded the surrender of Greece, we see movements and ideologies today that have no regard for human dignity and no compassion for the life and well-being of others.
We know from history and from our life experiences that these movements are a reality of the human condition and struggle in this world. We also know and affirm that as our forbearers stood firm against the forces of fascism, we are called to stand in truth and love. In 1940 the people of Greece met the demand for acquiescence and occupation with a resounding “NO” and a willingness to face tremendous sacrifices and hardships. With their love of freedom, and with an affirmation of self-determination as an expression of their cherished Hellenic ideals, they stood together. They stood firm with a hope in the endurance and triumph of these ideals and of liberty for generations to come.
As we commemorate their stand and honor their memory and sacrifice, we recognize that we are called to say “NO” to false ideologies that threaten life, incite fear and violence, and deny liberty as essential to our humanity. We stand firmly on the foundation of our faith in God and say “NO” to any movement that denies human dignity. We find strength in our hope in Him and the assurance of His promises to confront actions that tragically disrupt the lives of communities and families. With the power of love we embrace the displaced and the victims of violence and terror, offering peace and hope.
In our commemoration of this day and our remembrance of our fathers and mothers who stood so nobly and valiantly for what is right and true, may we be inspired by their example and led by our faith in God to stand for truth in love. As we cherish our freedom and champion freedom for others, may we demonstrate our liberty in Christ and be witnesses of the abundant, blessed, and eternal life we have in Him.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America