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All Generations of the Boston Community Honored ‘OXI’ Day

BOSTON – Every generation, people of all ages, philhellenes and members of the Greek-American Community of Boston the auditorium of the Maliotis Cultural Center on October 30 to celebrate with glory and honor the 28th of October – known as ‘OXI’ Day.

The event, which included greetings, poems, dances, speeches, songs and a reception with Greek delicatesses was organized by the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of New England in cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston and the Maliotis Cultural Center.

Fr. Athanasios Nenes, presiding priest of the Taxiarchae – the Archangels – parish in Watertown, Massachusetts representing Metropolitan Methodios of Boston offered the opening prayer and Chrysoula Kourkounti, director of the Maliotis Center welcomed the participants. George Cantonis, President Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology offered greetings, as did the Federation’s president Vasilios Kafkas.

A commemorative photo of the celebration of the 28th of October at the Maliotis Cultural Center. (Photos: TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

Poems were recited by students of the Greek Schools of the following parishes: Annunciation of Brockton, Annunciation of Woburn, St. Nectarios of Roslindale, and Taxiarchae of Watertown.

The following dance groups performed Greek dances from various parts of Greece: Pontiaki Estia, Metropolis of Boston Youth Dance Group, Sons & Daughters of Alexander the Great, and Boston Lykeion Ellinidon.

The keynote speaker was the newly appointed Consul General of Greece to Boston Symeon Tegos. He said among other things that “on this beautiful day, I have the great honor to talk about the epic victory of Greece against the Italians fascists in 1940. The First victory of any allied army against the axis. While bigger European nations were surrendering one after the other, some event without a fight, Greece not only denied the Italian ultimatum, but actually won. Just please first allow me to say a few words in Greek and then I will continue in English, since I want our message today to reach as many as possible.”

Consul General of Greece to Boston Symeon Tegos delivers his keynote speech. (Photos: TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

He declared: “Monday October 28th, 1940. After month of provocations, threats and efforts of intimidation, the Italian Ambassador in Athens, delivers to the Greek PM at 3 AM the ultimatum of his country against Greece. In his memoir, the Italian Ambassador mentions that the Greek Prime Minister after reading the text, told him in French ‘Αlors c’est la guerre” (so, this means war) and when Grazzi replied “not necessarily” Metaxas replied, “No, it is necessary.” A few hours later, and before the expiration of the ultimatum, the Italians attacked. Everything seemed to be against us. They had double the forces, and their military equipment were the best of the time, so much better that ours, that was mostly from the previous World War. Mussolini was telling his subordinates that ‘this time Hitler will get the news from the newspapers.’”

The amphitheater of the Maliotis Center was filled with many generations. (Photos: TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

Tegos continued, “and indeed he got some news. But it was not what was expected. The Italians, after a few small gains, had to retreat quickly, loosing thousands. Once more, the world had to watch the Greek soldiers winning another war against all odds. Once more, the whole world was watching with admiration and respect. And the Italians suffered, badly. Soon, after securing our borders we counter-attacked. Up in the mountains of Pindos and the harsh Greek winter, their [the Italians’] superiority counted for nothing. Bravery, character, faith is what matters in the field – I know you are familiar with those values, it is what your fathers and grandfathers brought here, with them. The Italians, like so many in the past, lost all the battles. Hitler learned the news indeed. He must have been displeased not only because of the humiliating defeat of his partner, but because he had to postpone his attack to Russia to deal with us, a choice that proved catastrophic for his plan to dominate Europe and the world. The rest is history.”

A reception followed sponsored by Dimitrios Mattheos, a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation and president of the Evoikos Society of New England.


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