Dear readers,

Today is dedicated to the Feast of the Holy Protection of the Theotokos, when we commemorate the Theotokos’ deliverance of the city of Constantinople from invaders in the 10th century. In the Greek tradition, we celebrate this feast on October the 28th so that it coincides with  “ΟΧΙ” day – the day in 1940 that the Hellenic Republic famously said “No!” to Italian occupation during World War 2. In this way we also recognise the protection of the Theotokos of the Greek nation.

As we commemorate this day, we are reminded of another “οχι” which we commented on this time two years ago: the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW saying “No” to schism, rejoining the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and being restored to canonical status. This day two years ago was a very special Οχι! day, because it marked the first time since the schism began in NSW that GOCNSW was represented at the Archdiocesean Cathedral in Redfern for their “Οχι!” day celebrations together with the Archdiocese. Likewise, this year’s celebration is also special because it is the first “Οχι!” day that Fr Nicholas Despinoudis has commemorated in the canonical Orthodox Church, having followed the example of GOCNSW two years earlier by himself saying “No!” to the irregularities and corruptions within GOCSA, “No!” to schism.

May the blessed Theotokos by her intercessions, protect our holy nation (the Orthodox Church) from the evils that currently afflict us in this city (schism and division). And by her intercessions, may GOCSA also one day soon find the courage to follow the example set by their NSW counterparts and by their beloved former clergyman Fr Nicholas, saying “Οχι!” to the prospect of continuing schism in our blessed city.

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