Introduced in 1983, the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival has for over 30 years, provided Orthodox youth with the opportunity to write and speak about their faith in public formats. An annual event that begins at the parish level, the Oratorical Festival Program is divided into three divisions:
- Elementary Division (for Local/Parish-Level Festival only) for Students Grades 4–6
- Junior Division for Students Grades 7–9
- Senior Division for Student Grades 10–12
Top presenters from the Junior and Senior Divisions advance to the district level. Two finalists in each district division then go on to represent their district at the Metropolis Oratorical Festival. The top speakers in each metropolis division are then selected to participate in the Archdiocese Finals, which is hosted by a different metropolis each year.
All eighteen finalists at the Archdiocese Finals participate in a weekend of activities, the highlight of which is the delivery of their speeches on Saturday morning. The Oratorical Festival Scholarship Fund provides college scholarships to the top speakers. In 2015, the top three speakers of each division received college scholarships of $2,000, $1,500 and $1,000. This year, each Honorable Mention speaker was awarded $500.
For those youth and families interested in participating in this annual event, please contact your Sunday School teacher, and click here for this year's newly released Oratorical topics.