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"Now if we are willing to examine the Scriptures in this way, carefully and systematically, we shall be able to obtain our salvation. If we unceasingly are preoccupied with them, we shall learn both correctness of doctrine and an upright way of life.” (Hom 53 On John)
Since its inception in 1983, the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival has provided thousands of teenagers the opportunity to discover the fullness of the Orthodox Faith. The Oratorical Festival provides them the opportunity to learn, write, and speak about their faith, strengthening their understanding and appreciation of their identity as Greek Orthodox Christians.
The oratorical program is called an Oratorical Festival rather than a contest to minimize the competitive spirit and emphasize a joyful learning experience. Each year starting in the fall, each Metropolis Hierarch selects their Metropolis and District Chairmen along with the dates and location of the Metropolis Festival so that the districts and parishes have ample time to plan and prepare for their festivals. The Department of Religious Education of the Archdiocese provides the list of topics, topic tips and bibliography of the Oratorical Festival. Beginning first at the Parish Level, the program is divided into two divisions; the Junior Division for students in the 7th to 9th grades and the Senior Division for teenagers in the 10th to 12th grades.
Appointed by the Parish Priest the Parish Festival is organized by an Oratorical Chairperson and Committee. A Parish Oratorical Festival takes place between January and March. Each Parish sends its finalists to a District Festival.
The District Festivals are composed of parishes in specified areas of a Metropolis. District Festivals take place between March and April and the finalists advance to the Metropolis Festival.
The Metropolis Festival takes place between April and May and includes the finalists from each District. The first place Junior and Senior Speakers of each Metropolis, advance to the Archdiocesan Festival.
The Archdiocesan Festival takes place in early June. All national finalists will receive a college scholarship or a US Savings Bond as follows: The top three speakers in each division receive a college scholarship in the amount of $2000, $1500, and $1000 respectively, and the remaining finalists receive a $500 US Savings Bond. These awards are made possible by many generous donations to the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival Scholarship Foundation.
Saint Katherine has participated in the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival, since 1994 and also hosted the District Festival in 2003. If you have ever witnessed an Oratorical Festival you have been inspired by the presentations. A well presented speech requires determination and resolve on the part of the student, but it also requires the help and enthusiasm of someone that is a caring and dedicated Parish Chairperson/Advisor. In order for the Oratorical Festival to be a success it needs the benevolent guidance of Orthodox Christians who have devoted their time throughout the years to be available for these youngsters to coach, motivate, encourage and to prepare them, in order that they might have the confidence to be able to participate from the Parish level all the way through the Archdiocese level. Each year, this is accomplished by the young teenagers with the support their families, their Parish Priest and their Advisor. This in turn inspires more teens to participate in future festivals.
Please continue to support the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival by helping to make it one of the most successful programs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and of Saint Katherine.