Oratorical Festival

Welcome to the Saint Barbara Parish Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival Webpage!

The 2014 Festival will be held in the Saint Barbara Church Community Center at 11am on Saturday March 29, 2014. We are planning to make this years festival the biggest and best one yet!

This year the festival has been expanded, adding essays and poetry to the public speaking competition.

As in the past, we will have three divisions of speeches:

Elementary Division - This division is non-competitive (i.e. no judging) and open to all Saint Barbara Sunday School students. All participants will receive a gift and a certificate.

Students may choose any topic of faith (Jesus, Prayer, Icons, etc.) and speak for 60-90 seconds. Students or groups of students may sing a song or re-enact a Parable or Bible story! Be creative!

Junior Division - Open to Grade 7-9 students of the Saint Barbara Sunday school. Students will write and deliver a three to four minute speech on one of the Junior Division topics. Cash prizes will be offered for the top three speeches. Division finalists will advance to the District Festival.

Senior Division - Open to Grade 10-12 students (and alumni) of the Saint Barbara Sunday school. Students will write and deliver a four to five minute speech on one of the Senior Division topics. Cash prizes will be offered for the top three speeches. Division finalists will advance to the District Festival.

New, this year, we will have two divisions of essay:

Junior Division - Open to Grade 7-9 students of the Saint Barbara Sunday school. Students will write and submit a 300-400 word essay on one of the Junior Division topics. Prizes will be offered for the top three essays. The top finalist will advance to the Metropolis Festival.

Senior Division - Open to Grade 10-12 students (and alumni) of the Saint Barbara Sunday school. Students will write and submit a 500-600 word essay on one of the Senior Division topics. Prizes will be offered for the top three poems. The top finalist will advance to the Metropolis Festival.

Also new, this year, we will have two divisions of poetry:

Junior Division - Open to Grade 7-9 students of the Saint Barbara Sunday school. Students will write and submit a poem in any form (sonnet, open verse, etc.) of betweeneight and thirty lines on one of the Junior Division topics. Prizes will be offered for the top three poems. The top finalist will advance to the Metropolis Festival.

Senior Division - Open to Grade 10-12 students (and alumni) of the Saint Barbara Sunday school. Students will write and submit a poem in any form (sonnet, open verse, etc.) of between eight and thirty lines on one of the Senior Division topics. Prizes will be offered for the top three poems. The top finalist will advance to the Metropolis Festival.

A student may only participate in one category of the Saint John Chrysostom Oratorica Festival: Speech, Essay or Poetry.

All participants in the Saint Barbara Saint John Chrysostom 2014 Oratorical Festival must register not later than March 22, 2014. Final form essays and poems are due not later than March 22, 2014. Speech draft texts must also be submitted not later than March 22, 2014. This is a firm deadline!

2014 Junior Division Topics (Grades 7–9)

1.     St. Paul writes, “God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NRSV). What are some times in your life in which you have experienced the truthfulness of St. Paul’s statements?

2.     The Artoklasia service concludes with the hymn Plousioi eptohefsan, “Rich men turned poor and went hungry; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 33/34, verse 11, from the Orthodox Study Bible, SAAS). Discuss the meaning of this hymn for our contemporary world.

3.    “I am an Orthodox Christian living in the 21st century.” What does this phrase mean to you?

4.    Select one of the Gospel readings of the Sundays of the Pentecostarion, between Pascha and the Feast of All Saints, and discuss its connection to you and your life.

5.     Why are the martyrs of the Church characterized as great athletes?

2014 Senior Division Topics (Grades 10–12)

1.     When you participate in a sacrament, you are called “the servant of God” (doulos tou Theou). What does it mean to be a servant of God today?

2.     Discuss a time when you experienced the presence of God, whether in church, in nature, or in other circumstances.

3.    Jesus said, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3, NRSV). Discuss the relevance of this teaching for Christians today.

4.    Fifty years after some of the landmark events of the American Civil Rights movement, racism and discrimination persist in American life. How should an Orthodox Christian respond?

5.     Some people support, others criticize the public declarations of faith of celebrities, athletes, and actors, such as Tim Tebow, Jonathan Jackson, and Troy Polamalu. How do their acts affect your attitude toward being open about your faith?

Please Note:  Everyone who is interested is encouraged to visit the Archdiocesan website for topics, speaker tips, and to view the official festival rules, which have been updated for 2014.

The website is  http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/religioused/sjcof

Keep watching this webpage for more information as the festival date draws near. Feel free to contact Saint Barbara Parish festival co-chairman Steven Yates at syates59@hotmail.com or 860-304-6007.

Good luck to everyone and may God continue to bless you all!

2014 Stewardship:


Parish Resource Guide:

Ministry Resource Guide 2014-2015: Part 1

Ministry Resource Guide 2014-2015: Part 2

Ministry Resource Guide 2014-2015: Part 3


Parish Publication:

The Winter 2014 Edition


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