Monday, October 28, 2013

OXI Day and the South

It is generally well known that the Old South highly regarded ancient Greece - her poets, historians, philosophers, etc.  To this we ought to add an admiration for more recent Greek men and women.  For on OXI (pronounced ‘Ahki’) Day, 28 October 1940, the Greeks rejected Mussolini’s demand to station his troops in Greece:

On October 28th, 1940, the Italian ambassador to Greece, Emanuele Grazzi delivered an ultimatum from Benito Mussolini to Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas. The ultimatum was demanding the entry of the Italian army and the occupation of Greek territory.

. . .

When Metaxas was faced with this demand, he delivered an unequivocal response in French, (the diplomatic language of the day) “Alors, c’est la guerre.” This brief phrase, “Then, it is war,” was quickly transmuted into the laconic “Oxi” [which means ‘No’ - W.G.] by the citizens of Athens.

. . .

Metaxas addressed the Greek people with these words:
“The time has come for Greece to fight for her independence. Greeks, we must now prove ourselves worthy of our forefathers and the freedom they bestowed upon us. Greeks, fight now for your Fatherland, for your wives, for your children and the sacred traditions. The struggle is now for everything!”

In response to this address, the people of Greece spontaneously went out to the streets singing Greek patriotic songs and shouting anti-Italian slogans. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers, men and women, in all parts of Greece, headed to army recruitment offices to enlist. The whole Greek nation was united in the face of aggression.

Meanwhile, Italian forces entered Greece through a rough, wild terrain- the steep Pindos Mountains. There they met fierce and unexpected resistance.

This is an example that the South should bear in mind (along with the courageous example of our own forefathers and mothers) as the American Empire lurches more and more towards outright totalitarianism at home and abroad. 

But we cannot trust simply in our own efforts.  The Greeks also are wise in celebrating the Protection of the Theotokos on the same day as OXI Day (which is celebrated on 1 October in other parts of the Orthodox world).  To the Mother of God we must also turn:

From time immemorial, the Church has celebrated the Most-holy Theotokos as the patroness and protectress of the Christian people, who, by her intercessory prayers, implores God's mercy for us sinners. The help of the Most-holy Mother of God has been clearly shown numerous times, to individuals and to nations, in peace and in war, in monastic deserts and in densely populated cities. The event that the Church commemorates and celebrates today confirms the Theotokos' consistent protection of Christian people. On October 1, 911, during the reign of Emperor Leo the Wise, there was an All-night Vigil in the Blachernae Church of the Mother of God in Constantinople. The church was full of people. St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ was standing in the rear of the church with his disciple Epiphanius. At four o'clock in the morning, the Most-holy Theotokos appeared above the people, holding her omophorion outstretched as a protective covering for the faithful. She was clothed in gold-encrusted purple, and shone with an ineffable radiance, surrounded by apostles, saints, martyrs and virgins. St. Andrew said to Blessed Epiphanius: ``Do you see, brother, the Queen and Lady of all praying for the whole world?'' Epiphanius replied: ``I see, Father, and am struck with amazement!'' The Feast of the Protection was instituted to commemorate this event, and to remind us that we can prayerfully receive the unceasing protection of the Most-holy Theotokos in any time of difficulty.

Source:  St Nikolai Velimirovich, Prologue from Ochrid for the day of 1 October, accessible at

This translation of the Prologue is copyright © 1999 Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Western America and is hosted on the website of the Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Western America.

This version includes not only the Lives of the Saints, but also the Hymns of Praise, Reflection, Contemplation and Homily sections for every day, just as Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic wrote it in the original Serbian text. This first, complete version in English was translated by Reverend T. Timothy Tepsic and Very Reverend Janko Trbovich.

This internet publication is intended for the private use of people of good will and cannot be copied, published, or used in any other form without the written consent of the Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Western America, the copyright owner.

May God save our souls and our Southland through her invincible might.

No comments:

Post a Comment