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William Spyropoulos School at St. Nicholas in Flushing Celebrates ‘OXI’ Day

October 29, 2022

FLUSHING, NY – The William Spyropoulos Greek-American Day School of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Flushing held its annual ‘OXI’ Day celebration on October 28 beginning with the Divine Liturgy and Doxology presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America along with the community’s presiding priest Fr. Paul Palesty, Fr. Aristidis Garinis, and Fr. Panagiotis Papazafiropoulos.

In his remarks, Archbishop Elpidophoros noted that OXI Day, October 28, 1940, was “when the Greek people took their inspiration from all their ancestors from Pericles to Alexandros, from Thucydides to Socrates, and from all the heroes of myth, legend and history and yes, my dear children, and most of all the heroes of ‘OXI’ Day remind us of the brave 300 Spartans who stood their ground at the Hot Gates, in Greek Thermopylae, nearly 500 years before the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. There, the 300 Spartans with Leonidas became a wall of shields, a mighty phalanx that held off the invading Persian Empire for that one critical week, time enough to rouse their fellow Greeks and show them it was possible to defend their lands.”

Left to right: Archon and benefactor Stephen Cherpelis, Fr. Panagiotis Papazafiropoulos, Fr. Paul Palesty, and His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros at the the William Spyropoulos Greek-American Day School of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church ‘OXI’ Day celebration. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)

“By their courage, our ancestors, the heroes of ‘OXI’ Day caused the vital delay that helped the Allies win the war,” said His Eminence, adding that “we must never forget the heroes of 1940, the Greeks, those who refused to give up despite the tremendous odds against them.”

Fr. Palesty then thanked Archbishop Elpidophoros, noting that his presence brightened the celebration and demonstrated his love for Greek education, for our schools and the children being enlightened in the teachings of Hellenism and Orthodoxy.

Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Konstantinou noted that it is our duty to honor those who sacrificed their lives so that the later generations, us, our children and grandchildren, could be free. He pointed out that the ‘OXI’ 82 years ago united Greeks against the Axis forces, and once again demonstrated how Greece and her people are always on the side of freedom and democracy, it was not by chance that Greece joined the Allies and is an ally of the United States to the present day.

The second grade students of the William Spyropoulos Greek-American Day School of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church performing in the ‘OXI’ Day celebration. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)

“History shows that our homeland strengthens and overcomes every challenge when united… Greece will always say no to attempts to challenge its sovereignty and to violations of international law.”

Fr. Palesty then presented Minister of Migration and Asylum of Greece Notis Mitarachi with an icon of St. Nicholas and a book highlighting the efforts of the community’s students.

The celebration continued in the community hall with the presentation of the flags, the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthems of the U.S. and Greece, and the students performing hymns, poems and patriotic songs in honor of ‘OXI’ Day.

The fourth grade students of the William Spyropoulos Greek-American Day School of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church during the ‘OXI’ Day celebration. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)
The third grade students of the William Spyropoulos Greek-American Day School of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church during the ‘OXI’ Day celebration. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)

Principal Mary Tzallas gave the welcoming remarks, thanking everyone for attending the celebration honoring October 28, 1940, the day that changed the history of the world.

“Filled with love for the homeland, for freedom, with great magnanimity and dignity, with filotimo, love for God, and with self-sacrifice, they fought with all their souls and wrote pages of glory for our country’s history, for our Greece,” she said. “In spite of the difficulties, the Greek soldiers fought heroically and achieved a miracle, not only for themselves but for all the countries of Europe that were fighting the same foe.”

‘OXI’ Day was celebrated at the William Spyropoulos Greek-American Day School of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on October 28. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)

The students of the second grade sang ‘H Ellada Pote Den Pethainei’ enthusiastically, waving Greek flags as they took the stage and began reciting poems highlighting the historic day. The third grade then sang ‘Dio Paidia ap’to Vrachochori,’ followed by the fourth grade singing ‘O Dromos,’ and the fifth grade concluded the performance with ‘Gynaikes Epirotisses’ which refers to the women who fought bravely in the mountains during the war.

In her closing remarks, Principal Tzallas thanked the music teachers Eleftherios Eleftheriadis and Areti Giovanou as well as all the Greek department teachers Stella Vasileiadou, Peppy Volikas, Vicky Siolas, Eleni Ntrivalas, Christos Papatheodorou, and Antigone Vlachoyannis.

The fifth grade students of the William Spyropoulos Greek-American Day School of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church during the ‘OXI’ Day celebration. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)

PTA President Aspasia Hatzoglu thanked all the distinguished guests for attending and noted that the students’ performance made us all proud, proud to be Greek-Americans, proud of where we come from, and “the word ‘OXI’ reminds us to keep fighting for what is right.”

She then thanked the teachers of the Greek department, the music teachers, Assistant Principal Georgia Kakivelis, and the principal on behalf of the PTA and presented them with bouquets of flowers.

His Eminence also thanked everyone, especially the teachers who are heroes as are the parents for all they do for the children.

Among those present were St. Nicholas Parish Council President Peter Valasiadis, Archon and community benefactor Stephen Cherpelis, and President of the Archdiocese’s High Council of Education Athena Kromidas.

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