Beloved in the Lord,

“Save your people and your town. You are the peace of those in conflict, the calm of those in turmoil, the only protection of the faithful. From the Theotokia of Paraklesis

On October 28, 2020 we commemorate OXI Day, marking the 80th Anniversary of the day when the people of Greece stood in unity and proclaimed “No” to the oppressive leaders of the Axis forces. They endured many hardships during this period, and the Nazi occupation that followed. Though this was a dark time in history, the Greeks demonstrated their bravery and resilience, striving to restore peace and freedom for their people. The personal freedom we have been given by God is a sacred inheritance and it is our responsibility to preserve that freedom for all of God’s creation.

On this day, we also celebrate and call to remembrance the blessings of the Mother of God and commemorate the Protection of the Theotokos, giving thanks for her watchful care. The Virgin Mary was the ultimate example of free will. She could have said “no” when the Archangel Gabriel appeared, telling her she was to conceive and give birth to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But, she put aside her own desires and chose to follow the path set forth for her life by God. It is this same free will that we have been granted, and it is up to us to also make decisions for our lives that help us grow spiritually.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America has shared with us an Archpastoral message on this day, which I ask that you reflect on, so that this day, the valiant efforts of our ancestors may not be forgotten. We must remain vigilant in prayer that freedom may be preserved for all God’s people, keeping this spirit of our forefathers alive through such tremendous examples of courage.

With Love in Christ,

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisc

Encyclical Lp

Prot. No. 187/2020

Τὴν Σκέπην σου, Παρθένε, οἱ πιστοὶ μεγαλύνομεν.... (Ἀπολυτίκιον τῇ 28ῃ Ὀκτωβρίου, Τῶν Νικητηρίων)

Your Protection, O Virgin, do we the faithful magnify.... (Apolytikion for October 28th, the Feast of Victory)

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, we celebrate the eightieth anniversary of our magnificent Feast of Victory – τὰ Νικητήρια of the Theotokos, who on October 28, 1940, came to the aid of Greece and her noble people. We honor those Greeks who, as the Lord enjoined in His commandment, ‘let their “yes” be “yes,” and their “no” be “no”’ (Matthew 5:37). On this day, the Greek People said a resounding “Yes” to freedom, to conscience, and to justice; even as they roared ΟΧΙ to the forces of fascism, tyranny, and hatred.

Eighty years later, there are a diminishing few who remember in real time this heroic hour that cost Greece so dearly, and who lived through the days that followed: the suffering, the struggle, and the oppression that were wreaked on the Birthplace of Democracy. But all of us – and not only us but the entire world – have been blessed with the legacy of the sacrifices of full measure that adorn the mountain passes, the fields of honor, and the island bastions of freedom.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said: “When the entire world had lost all hope, the Greek people dared....” Indeed, they did! They dared to stand up against the monstrous waves of cruelty unleashed upon Europe. They dared to hope against hope in the Holy Protection of the Virgin whose colors blaze on the banner of the Nation. They dared to say “No” to evil, and risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, as once did other lovers of liberty.

My beloved Christians, let us honor their sacrifice with our prayers for their eternal memory, their everlasting rest, and our commitment to ever remain under the Protection of the Holy Virgin. May we always exercise and defend in righteousness and true piety, the duties and responsibilities of Democracy with decency, dignity, and in defiance of those who would attempt to seize our freedom.

With paternal love in our Lord Jesus Chris,

† ELPIDOPHOROS Archbishop of America