October 12, 2010

Synaxis of All Saints of Athens

Synaxis of All Saints of Athens (Feast Day - October 12)

The Germans occupied Greece from 1941 until 1944. In the first year of the German occupation of Greece more than 300,000 civilians died from hunger - with Athens especially hit hard. Over 400,000 Greeks died during the Second World War, the vast majority civilians. On 12 October 1944 Athens was liberated from the German occupation and the government in exile returned. As the last German soldiers took the swastika down from the Acropolis and began to drive through the city towards the road north, they passed through crowds of Athenians in a state of joy, waving the blue and white Greek flags, embracing, while bells rang all over the city. It was a happy time for those in Athens who had survived the occupation, but their joy was not destined to last. They were about to enter the most divisive period of modern Greek history - the Greek Civil War.

To commemorate the joy of this occasion, the Holy Archdiocese of Athens issued an encyclical on 22/30 September 1999 that a feast be held to commemorate in a synaxis "all those saints in the city of Athens and the surrounding districts: holy apostles, hierarchs and righteous who lived, struggled and died in her." This synaxis was to be celebrated annually on October 12th.

Among those commemorated are St. Philothei, St. Nektarios, St. Dionysius the Areopagite, St. Paul the Apostle and many others who were associated with the city of Athens.