Oratorical Festival

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

The 2018 Festival will be held in the Saint Barbara Church Community Center after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday March 11, 2018. We are planning to make this years festival the biggest and best one yet!

This year the festival will feature essays and poetry in addition 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 at Holy Trinity, Waterbury the following Saturday March 17, 2018.  

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 at Holy Trinity, Waterbury the following Saturday March 17, 2018.  

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. 

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. 

Also, 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 between eight and thirty lines on one of the Junior Division topics. Prizes will be offered for the top three poems. 

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. 

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

All participants in the Saint Barbara Saint John Chrysostom 2018 Oratorical Festival must register not later than March 3, 2018. Final form essays and poems are due not later than March 3, 2018. Speech draft texts must also be submitted not later than March 3, 2018. This is a firm deadline!

2018 SJCOF Topics

Junior Division (Grades 7–9)

1. In John 15:13–15, Jesus teaches about friendship to His disciples. Discuss the importance of friendship in your life.

2. Choose a parable from the Gospel of Luke and discuss how it speaks to our contemporary life.

3. Talk about a time and circumstance when you were in awe and wonder – where you sensed the majesty of God.

4. Discuss how prayer, fasting, serving others, or study of Orthodoxy assists you with your relationship with Christ and the Church.

5. In Mark 2:1–12, four men remove a roof in order to bring a paralytic to Jesus to be healed. How inventive are we in bringing people to Jesus for healing?

Senior Division (Grades 10–12)

1. People often say, “It felt right” in order to explain their decisions. How many of our decisions factor in not only our feelings but also the will and commandments of God?

2. Christ’s disciples made the commitment to follow Him without knowing what the outcome might be. What does it mean to follow Christ today?

3. How can we have religious conversations on social media in an age of trolling?

4. Christ said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:9). The Lord said this with reference to the way we hear the word of God. What is our response?

5. Our lives are saturated with violence, not only in terms of the proliferation of war and terrorism but even as entertainment through movies and video games. In such an environment, how can a Christian cultivate virtues that lead to empathy, peacemaking, and self-sacrifice?

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 2017. The website is  http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/religioused/sjcof

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!

2017 Stewardship:


Parish Publications:

2017 Winter Edition

Part One

Part Two


2018 Ad Journal


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