The Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical and Fine Arts Festival is a long-standing tradition that provides a unique opportunity for our youth both to learn about their faith and to display their talents in the areas of Speech, Essay, Poetry, Iconography, Vocal Solo and Vocal Chant. The Oratorical Festival is divided into the Senior Division (grades 10-12) and Junior Division. (grades 7-9). The participants start by participating in the parish level festival. Those who are successful at their individual parish festivals in the Junior and Senior divisions are invited to participate at the Metropolis Festival, where the top three finalists in each category and division will be awarded. Those who place first in the Junior and Senior Speech (only) divisions will proceed to the National Festival, which is hosted by a different metropolis each year.
ATTENTION ASCENSION 7th -12th GRADERS!
Express Your Faith! Represent your Parish! Do you like to write? Draw? Chant? Present your point in front of an audience? Don’t miss the opportunity to show your God-given talents as a writer, speaker, artist and vocalist by participating in the 2024 St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. If you are in 7th – 12th grade, you are encouraged to participate in this program, which gives you the opportunity to reflect upon and express what your faith means to you.
4th-6th GRADERS, THERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU, TOO!
If you are in 4th-6th grade, there's a program for you, too, that helps you reflect about your faith and help you practice for when you are older! The purpose of the Elementary Division is to offer children the opportunity to express their feelings about their Faith and Church while gaining confidence and laying the groundwork for later participation in the Junior and Senior Divisions. Click HERE for more information on the Elementary Division Program.
For more information about Ascension's Oratorical Program, please contact Ascension's Pastoral Assistant, John Anton at email@example.com.
IMPORTANT 2024 DATES
- Ascension's Parish level Oratorical Festival will take place on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in the Anagnos Fellowship Hall following 9th Hour & Pre-Sanctified Liturgy. Submissions are due Thursday, April 4, 2024. Entries that make it to the Metropolis level must be submitted to the Metropolis by April 22, 2024.
- With the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael, the 40th Annual Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical and Fine Arts Festival will be held on Bright Saturday, May 11, 2024 at Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church, Westchester, IL. Plans are underway to offer a 40th anniversary weekend of spiritual celebration and fellowship for all in attendance.
- The National Oratorical Festival, which includes the Metropolis winners for the Speech category only, is scheduled to take place during the weekend of June 7-9, 2024 at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Buffalo, New York.
2024 CATEGORIES, TOPICS & RESOURCES
The Metropolis level Oratorical Festival will once again offer 6 categories (Speech, Essay, Poetry, Iconography, Vocal Solo, and Vocal Chant), each with 2 divisions (Senior and Junior). Youth are invited to register for as many as two separate events. The guidelines for all categories are contained in the Parish Information Packet, also linked below.
Click for the Information Packet complete with all submission guidelines (length of speech, essay, format for icon and vocal submission, etc.), presentation guidelines and evaluation criteria. NOTE: The Music Selections (for Vocal Solo and Vocal Chant) are contained in the Parish Information Packet above.
The Topics Tips & Resources includes a bibliography with expansive resources such as books, articles, videos, websites, and liturgical documents. It also includes helpful suggestions to assist participants in brainstorming, developing, and writing their Oratorical Festival speeches.
JUNIOR DIVISION (Grades 7-9)
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has earned the title of the Green Patriarch, and was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, for His teachings about humanity's spiritual responsibility for taking care of God's creation — planet earth. His All-Holiness stands on the shoulders of Saints, who taught that the world is a gift from God, and that taking care of His creation is a way to connect with God. Explore and discuss the teachings of His All-Holiness and the Saints on the creation of the world. What are some of our practical responsibilities as stewards of our planet, and how does that enrich our lives as Christians?
Many of us have heroes to whom we look up. It may be an older brother or sister, an athlete, or a musician. We have heroes in our religious life, as well as people who inspire us to practice
our faith. They teach us, usually by example, how we ought to live as Orthodox Christians. Select a Saint or person who has been the most influential in your spiritual life. Describe the particular and practical ways that influence has taken place.
On the Day of Theophany (January 6), we chant, "All those who were baptized in Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27). Discuss the meaning of this hymn and the obligations it places upon us as Orthodox Christians.
When reading the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32), we learn about the various stages of repentance. What are they? How do they relate to the reversal of the son's journey
away from the father? What does the father's reaction upon seeing his son teach us about our relationship to our Father in Heaven?
The Orthodox Church has a rich heritage of sacred hymns that "contribute radiant and poetic splendor to Orthodox worship," thus, opening the way to God. Select your favorite Church
hymn and talk about how it strengthens your faith.
SENIOR DIVISION (Grades 10-12)
Slandered without cause, convicted without a trial, exiled unjustly — this was the life endured by one of the greatest saints of our times — Saint Nektarios of Aegina. Forgiving others who
hurt us that deeply and unjustly seems almost impossible. What can we learn from Saint Nektarios, whose life was about forgiving what some might call the impossible?
Apostle Paul refers to Adam as the first man, and Christ as the Second Adam. The Fathers of the Church, especially Saint Irenaeus of Lyon, refer to Christ and Panagia as the Second Adam
and the Second Eve. Why is the Most Holy Theotokos called the "Second Eve"? And why is Christ called the "Second Adam?" How do Christ and Panagia fulfill and go beyond their
Christ says, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:1). He also says, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have
no life in you" (John 6:53).Explore the Orthodox teaching on the Eucharist by reading the prayers of the Divine Liturgy the writings of one or more Church Fathers.
The number of natural disasters worldwide continues to increase, resulting in more communities destroyed and more lives lost. How would you respond to someone who
questions why God allows natural disasters to happen when we know God can intervene at any moment? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, how can He allow evil things to
During the Divine Liturgy, before the Consecration of the Holy Gifts, we hear the priest say the following: "Your own of Your own we offer to You, in all and for all." What does this petition
mean to you as an Orthodox Christian? Why is it important for us to focus on giving back out of the gifts we have been given by God?
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
For more information about Ascension's Oratorical Program, please contact Ascension's Pastoral Assistant, John Anton at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Metropolis of Chicago Oratorical Webpage HERE
Visit the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America's official 2024 Oratorical Website HERE
2023 METROPOLIS & NATIONAL EVENTS
CHICAGO METROPOLIS ORATORICAL FESTIVAL HELD AT ASCENSION OF OUR LORD CHURCH, LINCOLNSHIRE ON APRIL 29, 2023
It was an inspirational and historic day at Ascension on April 29, 2023 when our Parish hosted the Metropolis of Chicago St. John Chrysostom Oratorical & Fine Arts Festival for the first time in conjunction with the year-long celebration of our 25th Anniversary. Metropolitan Nathanael, along with more than 200 people, from 26 parishes, throughout 5 states across the Midwest, gathered to witness 7th-12th grade youth express their Orthodox faith through Jr. & Sr. Division Categories in Speech, Song, Chant, Essay, Poetry, and Iconography.
We are very excited to announce that the following Ascension parishioners placed first across 5 of the 6 Jr. Division categories offered: Dina Anteliz, 1st Place, Poetry; Thanasi Maglaras, 1st Place, Iconography; Alexis Petros, 1st Place, Essay; and Maria Malamis, who placed 1st in both Vocal Chant and Speech Categories. Maria Malamis will go on to represent Ascension and the Metropolis of Chicago in the Jr. Division Speech category at the National Oratorical Festival, June 9-11, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Clifton, New Jersey! AXIOI to all our youth! We are so proud of you!
NATIONAL ORATORICAL FESTIVAL, JUNE 9-11, 2023
With the blessing of Archbishop Elpidophoros, the Archdiocesan National St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival, which includes only the Metropolis winners, both Junior and Senior, for the Speech category, took place the weekend of June 9-11, 2023, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Clifton, New Jersey. Congratulations to Maria Malamis who represented the Metropolis of Chicago and Ascension of Our Lord at the 2023 Festival!
2023 Parish St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival
We congratulate our 11 presenters and thank our 3 judges who participated in this year’s Parish Oratorical Festival held March 22, 2023. It is very heartwarming and inspirational to witness our Orthodox faith and history through the perspectives and hearts of our youth. AXIOI! Speech, Chant, Essay, Poetry, and Iconography submissions that advance from the Parish festival presented at the Metropolis of Chicago's St. John Chrysostom Oratorical & Fine Arts Festival, which was held at Ascension on Saturday, April 29 (see above).
2022 St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival
In 2022, Ascension's Parish Oratorical Festival took place at Ascension on Wednesday, April 6th. Submissions were submitted by Thursday, March 31st.
At the Metropolis level, the Annual Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical and Fine Arts Festival was held on Bright Saturday, April 30, 2022 at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee. Ascension had six of our young parishioners compete at the Metropolis level Oratorical Festival on Βright Saturday in Milwaukee and all six placed and received awards! One of our young parishioners advanced to Nationals and took first place in the Jr. Division Competition (see below)!
ASCENSION PARISHIONER PLACES FIRST IN 2022 NATIONAL ORATORICAL FESTIVAL JR. DIVISION COMPETITION
AXIOS! On June 4, 2022, Chris Zouras represented Ascension and the Metropolis of Chicago at the 38th annual festival in Dallas, Texas, and placed first against finalists in the Jr. Division from each Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Metropolis throughout America! Chris’ presentation focused on The Sunday of Orthodoxy, and in particular, the service that took place in 2020 just before COVID halted worship services that year. Chris, who is an active member of Ascension’s Jr. GOYA and the Acolyte ministries, first competed on April 6th at our Parish Festival, moved on to take first place at the Metropolis of Chicago festival on Bright Saturday at Annunciation Church in Milwaukee, and then was among the nine finalists competing in the National Festival at Holy Trinity Church in Dallas. We are very proud of Chris for using his God-given talents to express his faith, and also offer our congratulations to his parents, John & Nectaria Zouras. Read More in the Orthodox Observer article HERE.