Encyclical on the 28th October 1940

My beloved in the Lord,

Each year, the Hellenic people celebrate bringing into mind the events of October 28, 1940, when Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas boldly declared that the Hellenic people would not bend to the voice of tyranny and oppression.  One simple word, “OXI”, expressed the mind, ethos, and soul of the Greek people.

While for many the word “OXI” carries a negative connotation and understanding, the reality was and is that this simple expression was an affirmation of the truth, tradition, and life of the Hellenic people.  The statement by the Prime Minister was an affirmation of the ideals were born in cultivated in the cradle of Hellenism.  The sacred values of freedom, democracy, truth, liberty and much more could not be forsaken and trampled upon by tyranny.  Like the Hellenes of old, the people of the last centuries demanded to be free and were ready to sacrifice everything for these ideals.  The voice and statement by the then Prime Minister was a reminder of the voices of Leonidas, Miltiades, Themistocles, Bouboulina, Nikitaras and the other great heroes, who fought for the liberty, the rights and freedom of the Greek people.

The struggle of the Hellenic people was a message of the greater world.  It was a statement that each and every nation, no matter how small, must have the right to determine its own future and identity.  Tyranny and oppression cannot be tolerated and accepted on any level.

The noble efforts of the Greek people were also a statement to the greater world.  The courage, determination, and commitment of heroes of this period summoned freedom-loving people everyone to join together in combating slavery and oppression.  We are called to remember once again their noble efforts and to imitate their commitment to the cherished values and ideals of liberty and freedom.  This then, is not just a celebration and a day of remembrance by the Greek people.  It is an invitation to all people to celebrate and join in not only honouring the past but also in charting a course for the future generations.  May God rest the souls of the heroes of the Second World War and all those who fought for freedom throughout the ages and may He also guide us and all people, so we pass our days in peace and harmony.

With parental blessings,

Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain