Australia’s Greek communities commemorate OXI Day with special ceremonies

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Over the weekend, Greek communities across Australia commemorated OXI Day with a number of special wreath laying ceremonies and church events.

OXI Day is celebrated on October 28 every year and marks the day in 1940 when former military general and Prime Minister of Greece, Ioannis Metaxas, said “OXI” (NO) to an ultimatum made by Italian Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini, an ally of Nazi leader Hitler.

Here’s how the important national day was celebrated in Australia:

Wreath laying ceremony at the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady in Sydney:

In Sydney, OXI Day was celebrated this year with a small ceremony at the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady in Redfern, Sydney. His Grace Bishop Emilianos of Meloa presided over the doxology service, with the national anthems of Greece and Australia being played at the end. A young student from St Euphemia College also recited a poem.

The service was followed by a small wreath laying ceremony. The Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr Christos Karras, and representatives of the expatriate organisations of Sydney and New South Wales were present.

St Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church in Burwood, Sydney:

Greek school students from St Nectarios Burwood also held a small event to commemorate OXI Day. Greek School teachers spoke in Greek and English about the importance and relevance of OXI day, while students recited poems and sang songs to mark the day.

St Spyridon College:

School students from St Spyridon College also took part in a special doxology service at St Spyridon church on Sunday, October 25.

Year 10 student, Penny Kezalas, and Michaela Deftereos from Year 6, recited poems on the history of OXI Day, while Year 11 students Billy Bourdaniotis, Franklin Pyliotis, James Bletsas and Valandi Michael were flag bearers.

All Saints Grammar:

A special commemoration for the 80th anniversary of OXI Day was held at All Saints Greek Orthodox Church over the weekend. Students from All Saints Grammar attended the event, with some laying wreaths and others holding the Greek and Australian flags.

St Euphemia College:

A small representation of students from St Euphemia College attended the doxology service celebrated at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of our Lady on the occasion of the commemoration of OXI Day.

The students were treated to a morning tea from His Grace Bishop Emilianos of Meloa.

Nicoletta Lafogiannis of Year 9 recited the poem Η Πίνδος in the Cathedral. The school Captains laid the wreath at the Cenotaph.

OXI Day celebrations in Perth:

On Sunday, October 25, a special doxology was conducted in commemoration of OXI Day by His Grace Bishop Elpidios of Kyaneon at the Church of St Constantine and Helene in Perth, Western Australia.

The church service opened with a blessing by the Reverend Fathers and His Grace Bishop Elpidios, and it was followed by poems from students of St Andrew’s Grammar and the Immaculate Heart College.

Following the service, a wreath laying event took place at the State War Memorial Cenotaph in Kings Park.

Australian and Greek dignitaries paid their respect by laying wreaths at the cenotaph and the ceremony was concluded with short speeches by the Consul of Greece in Perth, Ms Georgia Karasiotou, Mr Simon Millman MLA, representing the Premier of WA, and Mr Peter Katsambanis MLA, representing the Leader of the Opposition.

READ MORE: Georgia Karasiotou: ‘No matter how far we are, Greece is always in our hearts’.

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