Δευτέρα, 22 Οκτωβρίου 2012

THE 28TH OF OCTOBER ENCYCLICAL OF HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN SOTIRIOS



NO and SACRIFICE During Peacetime
Encyclical for the 28th of October

by Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios

In the middle of the night,  "before the chirping of the birds in the morning",  the Italian Ambassador Grazzi delivers an ultimatum to Greek Prime Minister Metaxas.  The Fascist dictator Mussolini wants to invade and enslave Greece.
   The Greek Prime Minister, on behalf of all the Greek people, answered with the heroic “NO” – we will not accept this ultimatum.  And this NO is supported by the Greek people through their sacrifices and heroism. So great is their heroism and valour, that Prime Minister Churchill of England, along with all mankind, states that:  "from now on, we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks."  All mankind bows down in admiration before the glory and heroism of Greece. Greece is reliving her past ancient glory. Everyone admires the Greeks in their finest hour, as they win victory after victory, chasing the enemy out of their homeland.
   This is what they did during wartime. But now in peacetime, what is the situation in Greece and with every Greek in general today?
    Unfortunately, the truth and the reality is bitter to swallow. Greece is now struggling to survive. Her economic problems are such, that the economic woes of Greece are in the daily news and in the media blogs throughout the world. Everyone speaks with contempt for Greece and for the Greek of today. How and why did we get to this sorry state?
   We arrived there, because we have forgotten our ideals and our values as a people and as a nation.  Above all, we have forgotten the true God, and our faith in a power greater than ourselves.  Some of our misguided compatriots want to return to worshipping the false gods of Olympus. We have abandoned our moral principles and values. We have forgotten that even in times of peace, we must sometimes say NO, and make many sacrifices to lead a virtuous and ethical life.
    In order for every Greek and our homeland to continue their way of life unimpeded, we must learn to say NO when it is necessary. We must say NO to opulence; NO to waste; NO to tax evasion; NO to bribery; NO to laziness; NO to fraud and trickery; NO to infidelity; NO to the total abandoning of ethics and morals; NO to living one’s life by the motto, "eat and drink today, for tomorrow we die".
    It is not enough to say NO to all that is wrong.   During times of peace, it is necessary to say YES to that which is positive and good. We must be willing to say YES to a conscientious work ethic;  YES to cultivating proper character;  YES to integrity;  YES to honesty; YES to sincerity; YES to good, honest and sincere cooperation with our neighbours; YES to sacrifice; YES to thriftiness and economizing, because only frugality defeated poverty.
     Let no one think that whatever we have said previously, only concerns matters relating to our daily lives on earth.  They relate to spiritual matters as well. They also involve the afterlife. Whoever does not believe in the afterlife and in the final rendering of Divine justice, has gambled and lost eternity with God.  He has lost the compass of life. He falters, and then sooner or later, becomes the laughing stock of everyone.
   Today, because we did not learn during times of peace to say NO, and to make necessary sacrifices, not only does Greece and every Greek citizen suffer, but also some of our small Communities in Canada suffer.  Fortunately, they are only a few.  Along with Greece and every Greek in general, these Communities must learn to do and apply what we have said previously.
   There is no doubt that we have reached rock bottom.  What are we to do?  Will we simply throw our hands up in the air and surrender unconditionally? Will we simply keep taking matters as they come, and accept the final destruction that looms upon us? ABSOLUTELY NOT ! ! !
   It has been said many times: "Greece will never die."  This is what we will do.  We will recognize and take responsibility for our own mistakes. We will change course. We will roll up our sleeves and work harder - with sincere faith in God.  By believing in ourselves and in the righteous goal that we are striving for, not only will we survive, but we will again build up our material and spiritual prosperity.  We will prove to ourselves and to the entire world that “Greece, once again, proudly marches forward to greater heights of glory”.
   This can only happen when we repent; when we alter our ways; and by making an honest effort and many sacrifices. For our beloved country of Greece and every Greek, we will again take our rightful place that we deserve in the world. We were once the most glorious race in the world, and this is where our place is.  With this change of course, our sincere efforts and sacrifices, and above all, by the grace of God, we will be able to inherit the eternal Kingdom of God.  It is this Kingdom that we must make our own property and possession forever.
   With these thoughts, without disenchantment, and by optimistically looking forward, I invite all of you to celebrate our second National Holiday of October 28, 1940. It is never too late. The present and the future belong to us. The support of God is certain. What is necessary is our own efforts. Let us learn to say NO where we must, and to SACRIFICE where it is necessary, in order to lead a good and virtuous life every day of our lives. We must do it in times of peace. This, only, is what we deserve and what is fitting for us.

With fatherly love and fervent prayers,
Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios of Toronto (Canada)

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