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The First Allied Victory of World War II: The Feast of the Holy Protection of the Holy Theotokos

The First Allied Victory of World War II: The Feast of the Holy Protection of the Holy Theotokos



Today worldwide, Greek Orthodox Christians mark the feast of the Holy Protection of the Virgin Mary. A feast which was moved from its original date to the 28th October due to the countless miracles that the Holy Theotokos wrought with God’s grace for the Greek people during one of their darkest and trying moments in their long history. The deprivations endured for a war in which they were dragged into by the Italians and assured of help by the British, along with German assurances of mediating a settlement for peace never materialized.

The Greek nation was systematically invaded and occupied by 4 armies consisting of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Albania and Bulgaria. Despite the odds being stacked against them, they stood firm in their Orthodox Christian Faith and their love of nation and freedom. They went to the frontlines despite not having reliable supply lines, fighting with outdated and antiquated weapons, and in defeat kept fighting. A nation whose resolve saw over 10% of its population die, many other starve, others deported. The only nation in all of occupied Europe which did not offer its youth in the service of the axis powers. A nation which despite its continual betrayal by its so-called allies before, during and after World War II, still remained a faithful ally. A nation and its Church which was awarded the greatest number of “Righteous amongst the Gentiles” by the Jewish people for their heroism in defending their fellow Greek citizens who were Jews, as well as those Jews who escaped other parts of Europe using Greece as a place of shelter and transit to safer locales.


A nation which together with the heroism and self-sacrifice of the Maltese and the Russian peoples, were crucial to the defeat of the Axis powers and their allies.


And yet in victory, forgave these axis nations of their evil transgressions and the debts of reconstruction so as to ensure the peace and future prosperity of Europe and the world….


And all through this, their Orthodox Christian Faith and their personal determination was sustained by the countless miracles the God’s grace bestowed directly or through his innumerable saints, as well as sheer human courage and dignity.


On 27th April 1941 when the Germans enter Athens, a  German officer at the Acropolis gave command to the Evzone guard Constantine Koukidis to bring down the Greek National Flag so that the Nazi Swastika could be raised in its place. The evzone guard took down the flag crying with great sorrow and chanting the National Anthem, wrapping himself with the flag, he then threw himself off the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis, plunging to his death.

Meanwhile, the radio station of Athens emphatically announced within the news bulletin that in a few moments that the radio station will cease being Greek. In seeking to exhort and encourage the afflicted populace of Athens, the radio announcer, Constantine Stavropoulos cites with his characteristic calmness his final free words:
Here is still free Athens, Hellenes! The German invaders are now at the gates of Athens.
Brethren! Hold well within your souls the spirit of our struggle.
The invader comes with all his power and protections into the deserted city with all its closed houses.
Hellenes! Hold high your hearts!
Pay close attention for the radio station of Athens will shortly cease to be Greek, but become German and will speak  lies and deceit.
Hellenes! Do not listen!
Our war and struggle continues, and will continue until our final victory!
Long live the Nation of the Hellenes!

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