St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival

Sunday School Program Director: Denise Lansdell

Oratorical Festival Chair: John Margetis


Junior Division (Grades 7–9)

  1. The Orthodox Church honors the Virgin Mary as the Theotokos. Discuss the role she plays in the Church and as a role model for all Christians.

  2. Christ and many Church Fathers often criticized the wealthy. Do Christians need to live a life of poverty? Is it a sin to live a comfortable life?

  3. “Lord have mercy” is the most repeated phrase in the Divine Liturgy. What does it mean to truly have mercy?

  4. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Discuss the importance of reading Scripture in your life.

  5. The theme of the upcoming 2020 Clergy–Laity Congress is “the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Discuss the way St. Paul defines love in this important chapter of the Bible.

Senior Division (Grades 10–12)

  1. Discuss how the separation of church and state benefits us as Orthodox Christians in the United States.

  2. In his enthronement address, Archbishop Elpidophoros said, “We are all deacons.” Discuss the importance of being a deacon – a servant – in the Church.

  3. Discuss the significance of Constantinople in Church history and the struggles Orthodox Christians in Constantinople face today.

  4. How have modern-day saints from the past 100 years, from St. Nektarios to St. Paisios and others, helped Orthodox Christians live their lives today? 

  5. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). How might Orthodox Christians put this command into practice?

Speech time limits for each division are 

-    JUNIOR-minimum 3 minutes, maximum 4
-    SENIOR -minimum 4 minutes, maximum 5

A 15-second grace period will be given to speakers whose talks run over or under time
Note: The Elementary Division does not have pre-defined topics.  Please reach out to Denise Lansdell for more information

Important Dates & Deadlines

December 29th – January 13th: Interested participants sign up during Sunday School, on the relevant sign-up sheet.
January 11th (Saturday 4-6pm @ Holy Apostles Church):  Open discussion & possible ideas on how to approach the topic(s) you are thinking about.  The goal is to help you make a final, confident selection after this session.
Saturday, Feb 15th (2-4pm) @ Holy Apostles Church):  Live Rehearsal & instant feedback on your speeches.  This will allow time for you to make last minute adjustments prior to the Parish Festival.
Thursday, Feb 20th:  Deadline to email final drafts for review by the Oratorical Festival Chairperson & Father George Alexson.
Sunday, March 1st: Holy Apostles Church Oratorical Festival, following Divine Liturgy.
TBD (April): Regional VA district Oratorical Festival.
TBD (May): Metropolis of New Jersey Oratorical Festival.
June 12-14 (St. Spyridon Church – Loveland, CO): National Oratorical Festival.

A copy of the speech (typed double-spaced on 8½× 11 paper) must be given to the person conducting the Orientation Session, on the other hand speakers who advance to the District, Metropolis, or Archdiocese Festivals will be asked to hand in their speeches earlier. Your name, full address, phone number, email, and division (junior or senior) should appear in the upper right-hand corner, along with the name and location of your Church. Place the title of your speech (taken from the official list of Topics) right above the opening statement.

Important Links

-    Participant Registration (everyone must register)
-    Topics, etc

-    Preparing for a Local Oratorical Festival

-    2019 Participant Packet (2020 available soon)

-    2020 Packet (PDF link)

The Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church is under the dominion of His Eminence Evangelos, Metropolitan of New Jersey,