October 28, 1940
The Sacrifices of 1940
By Metropolitan Sotirios
The sacrifice of Greece in 1940 during the Second World War was tremendous, no matter how one analyzes it. It was not a holocaust, but it was a great sacrifice.
It was a sacrifice for freedom. It was a sacrifice for the motherland. For honour; for family; for the holy faith of Christ.
The results of this sacrifice were striking and impressive. This victory over the fascist forces stopped the galloping of slavery. It reversed the course of history. It helped the Allied forces decisively and finally, freedom prevailed.
All of humanity stood with amazement and admiration before the awesome sacrifice of Greece in the Second World War. The leaders of the world, starting with Winston Churchill of England, spoke with great respect about Greece and her accomplishments. Others referred to the immortal Greek spirit; to the faith of the Greeks in Freedom and Democracy; to the bravery and sacrifice of the Greek soldiers.
Seventy-six years after this great historic victory, where do we find ourselves today? The results of a proper examination of the reality is truly bitter. In Greece, salaries have been lowered; pensions have been cut; hospitals are without linen and necessary drugs; the debt is tremendous; and people are suffering due to these privations.
How did we get to this serious situation? It is because we became accustomed to enjoying wealth and good times. We lived in luxury. We forgot that on the soft bed of opulence, all empires eventually died. We ate and squandered even that which we did not have and even that which did not belong to us. We put ourselves, our children, our grandchildren and who knows how many more generations into greater debt.
Now, the questions is this: what can we do? Should we surrender to the impending destruction? No, and a thousand times no. Greece never dies. From its ashes, it will arise and be reborn again like the phoenix. It will take determination, change of direction and return to living within our means.
It means turning to diligence and to working hard; to being honest; to cultivating love for our motherland; for the belief in the ideals of our people; and above all, a return back to the True God.
With this shift in emphasis, and by returning to our tradition of sacrifice and hard work, and by imitating the great sacrifices of the 1940, we will eventually get out of this impasse. The future belongs to us. It befits us. We deserve it. We and our descendants must enjoy it.
Here in Canada, I invite you all to celebrate and commemorate the great sacrifices of our people that took place in 1940. Let us work harder and longer for ourselves but also for others. Let us do all we can to support and assist our Motherland Greece, that is suffering greatly right now. I encourage all of you to do fundraising for the foundations and institutions that are in your towns and villages of ancestry, as I have requested from you on previous occasions. I kindly ask you to consider adopting a family in Greece who is suffering. Always say a good word for our Greek Nation. Perhaps we should consider visiting Greece even during the winter for our vacations.
Beloved Greece: we will never forget your many sacrifices during the Second World War in the 1940’s and those of your children. We believe in you. We will always remain by your side and we will continue to support you out of great love and respect for what you have given us throughout the ages.
With fatherly love and blessings,
Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios