The heroic “NO” of October 28, 1940, is flanked with pride, gratitude and responsibility. These three words which echo through our ears only to travel to our thoughts, overwhelm our very existence today.  

We stand with pride because 80 years ago the small and poor nation of Greece stood up to the mighty war weapons of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, only to become an example of heroism and self-sacrifice for all the peoples of the world.

Reflecting on this spirit of self-sacrifice and strength with which our ancestors fought for our Faith and Homeland, we bow with respect to their memory and express our deepest gratitude. Without their struggle, none of what we enjoy today would be possible. 

At the same time, we give praise and show gratitude to the Blessed Theotokos for the protection and comfort she gave to the struggle of the Greeks during the epic of 1940. Today’s anniversary, which coincides with the feast of Her Holy Protection is another reminder to all that in the critical moments of history, the Blessed Theotokos with Her grace fortified and sheltered the Nation of Greece.

As we can appreciate, we have a sacred obligation and responsibility to pass this legacy which was given to us by our ancestors, to the generations that will follow. It is not just dates, names, and “bare” information that our young people need to memorise. Above all, it is the ideals and values of our Nation and Faith, which prompted our ancestors with solidarity to resist heroically and willingly, sacrificing even their lives. 

It would be an omission if we forgot that the Epic of 1940 and World War II as a whole, were a historical circumstance in which the bonds of friendship between Greeks and Australians were further strengthened, after they fought together on the same side of history.

With these thoughts, on behalf of their Graces our Assistant Bishops, together with the holy clergy, the monastics and honest people of our Holy Archdiocese, I wish all Greek women and men everywhere around the world, many blessed years sheltered by the Holy Spirit!

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