Messages from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Archbishop Makarios on the occasion of the the heroic “NO” of October 28, 1940

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 Eighty years ago, Greece answered fascist Italy’s hostile advances with a resounding ‘όχι!’ (no). With that single word, Greece stood bravely against the rush of totalitarian triumph of the Second World War.

On this day, we join with the people of Greece, and the Greek Australian community, to honour Oxi Day as a beacon that lit our way to victory.

In acknowledging the courage of his people, General Ioannis Metaxas declared that Greece’s determination arose from,

the eternal principles of morality, justice and liberty, established 3000 years ago on the sacred soil we are now defending.

Those principals inspired Australian and New Zealand forces in their fight alongside Greek soldiers and civilians in 1941. They fought knowing that tyranny, if not confronted together, would eventually have to be confronted alone.

Despite the courage of the men and women involved, the ill-fated campaign ended in defeat. But we have never forgotten the selflessness and courage of the Greek people in the face a long night of brutal tyranny. An imperishable bond of friendship was forged in defence of liberty.

Eventually tyranny was vanquished and this year we celebrate 75 years since the end of the Second World War.

Devotion to freedom and self-determination inspires the steadfast resistance of free people to tyranny in all its forms. It is the foundation of Australia’s sovereignty and commitment to the ideals of a liberal democracy.

We share those values with the generations of Greek Australians who give so much to shape our national story. As the most successful multicultural nation on earth, migrant communities enrich and invigorate our social cohesion.

This year the commemoration of Oxi Day will be different – here in Australia, in Greece and around the world. The unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways in which we gather and celebrate. But the spirit of our commemoration remains the same.

On 28 October, I will join in reflecting on that day 80 years ago with respect and admiration – for the tragic losses of war, and for the bright future born of that time.

Lest we forget.

 The Hon Scott Morrison MP

Prime Minister of Australia


Archbishop Makarios of Australia: The heroic “NO” of October 28, 1940, is flanked with pride, gratitude and responsibility

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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