About the Festival
Introduced in 1983, the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival provides Greek Orthodox teenagers the opportunity to write and talk about their faith. The Oratorical Festival Program begins at the parish level and is divided into three divisions:
- Elementary Division (local festival only) for students in grades 4–6
- Junior Division for students in grades 7–9
- Senior Division for student in grades 10–12
The top speakers in the Junior and Senior Divisions advance to the district level. Two finalists in each district division represent the district at the Metropolis Oratorical Festival. The top speaker in each metropolis division is then selected to participate in the Archdiocese Finals, which is hosted by a different metropolis each year.
All eighteen finalists at the Archdiocese Finals participate in a weekend of activities, the highlight of which is the delivery of their speeches on Saturday morning. The Oratorical Festival Scholarship Fund provides college scholarships to the top speakers.
Download: 2017 Oratorical Festival Flyer
Download: 2017 Oratorical Festival Topics and Tips
Download: 2017 Oratorical Festival Topics Only
Junior Division (Grades 7–9)
- The opening petition of the Divine Liturgy is “In peace let us pray to the Lord.” What is this peace, and why do we need it to begin our prayers?
- St. John Chrysostom said, “Our alms are judged not by the measure of our gifts, but by the largeness of our mind” (Homily 52 on the Gospel of Matthew). Discuss how even small acts of kindness and generosity can make a difference.
- Discuss the role of bread and its symbolism in the Bible and the life of the Church.
- The Orthodox Church venerates saints and martyrs every day. Talk about a saint whose life inspires you to be a better Orthodox Christian.
- Explain why the Orthodox Church focuses more on the resurrection than it does on the passion and suffering of Christ.
Senior Division (Grades 10–12)
- The gap between the rich and the poor in the United States and worldwide is arguably wider than it has ever been. How should we as Orthodox Christians address such terrible financial inequality?
- Although many people diet for health or vanity, the discipline of fasting is found in many religious traditions. What is the difference between dieting and fasting, and why is it important?
- Psalms are an integral part of matins, vespers, and many other Church services. Talk about a psalm that impacts or influences your life.
- The Lord commanded us not to create idols (Exodus 20:4), yet people continue to do so. Discuss the kinds of idols people make or worship today and the response that an Orthodox Christian should have when confronted by them.
- Jesus said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). When no political party represents genuine Christian teaching, how does an Orthodox Christian navigate political conversations and make political judgments?