Oratorical Festival

 

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 and Vocal Solo. 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 iat 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.

Here is the timeline for the 2023 Program:

  • March 16, 2023:  Parish Submissions are due
  • March 22, 2023:  Parish Oratorical Festival
  • April 29, 2023:  Ascension is honored to host the Metropolis of Chicago level Festival!
  • June 9-11, 2023:  Archdiocese National Oratorical Festival hosted by St. George Church in Clifton, New Jersey.

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 2023 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.

The Oratorical Festival will offer 6 categories (Speech, Essay, Poetry, Iconography, Vocal Solo, and Vocal Chant), each with 2 divisions (Senior and Junior).  New in 2023, the Metropolis added a separate Vocal Chant category to accommodate the growing interest in this ministry.  Youth are invited to register for as many as two separate events.  The guidelines for all categories are contained in the Parish Information Packet below.  

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. 

Note:  This year’s promotional poster (above) features the icon written by George Bentley of Ascension of Our Lord Greek Orthodox Church of Lincolnshire, Illinois, winner of the 2022 Senior Iconography Division.

2023 St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival Topics & Resources *

TOPICS

Junior Division (Grades 7–9)


TOPIC 1
Orthodox tradition teaches that the saints remain spiritually active beyond their earthly life. Discuss how we ask the Saints to intercede and pray for us and why.

TOPIC 2
Orthodox Christians honor the Virgin Mary, the Most Holy Theotokos. What does the Orthodox Church believe about her and her role in our salvation?

TOPIC 3
The sacraments are the mysteries of the Church through which God gives us His grace by actions, words, and material objects (for example, oil, wine, and bread). Pick one sacrament and explain its meaning.

TOPIC 4
Jesus models and teaches humility throughout His life and ministry. Discuss the challenges of living according to Jesus’ teachings in a society that does not necessarily emphasize humility.

TOPIC 5
Consider and discuss why and how icons are central to our faith and Orthodox practice.


Senior Division (Grades 10–12)


TOPIC 1
The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople is the highest seat and the Mother Church of Orthodox Christians. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. Discuss how the Patriarchate has been a symbol of unity, a source of missionary growth, an advocate of dialogue among Christians, and a defender of the historical Orthodox Faith.

TOPIC 2
During times of crisis, our faith is tested. How are Orthodox Christians taught to understand and manage pain and suffering?

TOPIC 3
The Christian message in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has influenced many believersof Christ.How has another work of fiction inspired people to seek Jesus Christ?

TOPIC 4
We have lived through a pandemic and emerged with deep societal divides. How can our faith in Christ heal us and take us forward together?

TOPIC 5
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ both transforms the relationship between God and humanity and alters the course of history. How would you explain its significance to someone who has not heard about it or is unsure if God exists?


 

RESOURCES

 

 

TOPIC TIPS & RESOURCES

Click for more information on the topics listed above as well as tips and resources for researching these topics.   

INFORMATION PACKET 

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.

2023 MUSIC SELECTIONS


2023 METROPOLIS & NATIONAL EVENTS


CHICAGO METROPOLIS FESTIVAL, APRIL 29, 2023 @ ASCENSION OF OUR LORD CHURCH, LINCOLNSHIRE

The Metropolis of Chicago Annual Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical and Fine Arts Festival will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at Ascension of Our Lord Greek Orthodox Church in Lincolnshire, IL.  Our parish is honored to host this long-standing fellowship event as part of the celebrations we are holding throughout 2023 in honor of Ascension's 25th anniversary. 


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, is scheduled to take place during the weekend of June 9-11, 2023, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Clifton, New Jersey.  At the national event, Orthodox youth present speeches discussing the Greek Orthodox faith and the Church. Youth get to explore and deepen their faith and hone their speech writing and public speaking skills. They can also earn an award and possibly a scholarship at the Nationals. The Oratorical Festival centers around faith, education, and fellowship.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:


Visit the Metropolis of Chicago Oratorical Webpage HERE

Visit the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America's official 2023 Oratorical Website HERE

For more information, please contact Ascension's Pastoral Assistant, John Anton at janton@ascensiongoc.com 



LAST YEAR'S 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 Metropolis of Chicago 39th Annual Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical and Fine Arts Festival was held on Bright Saturday, April 30, 2022 at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee.    All entries were due to the Metropolis by April 11, 2022, following submission first to Ascension.  (Submissions are first submitted on a parish level and those that advance will be asked to complete a registration form and forward their presentations to the Metropolis by April 11, 2022, for review and integration into the April 30th festival!  In order to apply, you must be registered in either the Sunday Church School program, Jr. GOYA/GOYA, or the Girls' Chant group.)  Please contact Desiree Petros, our Parish coordinator, with questions at ddpetros@comcast.net. 

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)!

Click HERE to view the 2022 Metropolis Oratorical Program.

 

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.


2021 ORATORICAL FESTIVAL

ASCENSION'S PARISH-LEVEL ORATORICAL FESTIVAL TOOK PLACE AFTER LITURGY on April 11, 2021.  It was a blessing to hear our youth inspire and teach us as they offered their unique point of view about the Christian Faith!  Their speeches, essays, poetry, chanting, and iconography were truly inspiring! We congratulate all 11 of our participants and thank our 3 judges who joined us from other parishes.  A special thank you to the parents who encouraged our youth to participate in this important component of our community’s religious education. More information on the Oratorical program can be found below. 

A recording of this year's Oratorical program is available HERE and photos from this joyous event are posted in our website gallery HERE.  Submissions from the Jr and Sr Divisions (grades 7-12) that advance will present at the Metropolis of Chicago's Oratorical festival on Bright Saturday, May 8.

Click HERE to view the 2021 Metropolis Level Program Book.