St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival


In January through March of each year, Church Schools under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America organize parish-level St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festivals named in honor of the great orator of the Church, St. John Chrysostom.

These parish-level St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festivals provide students in 7th through 12th Grade with the opportunity to select a topic (from those offered each year by the Archdiocese), write a speech, and deliver their speech to their fellow students, parents, and a panel of judges who score them for content and delivery.

The top-scorer (finalist) from each parish-level Oratorical Festival advances to the District level, whose top-scorer advances to the Metropolis level, and from there the top-scorer advances to the Archdiocese (national) level.

At our St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church,  all Church School students, from Preschool to 12th Grade, participate in our parish-level St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. Student participation depends on their age as described below.


Each year, the date for our parish-level St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival appears in our Church School Calendar. It is usually on a Sunday in March and is decided and entered in the Church School calendar by October of the previous year.

The 2020 dates and places for the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festivals (all levels) are:
  • Parish-Level: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church - Sunday, March 15, 2020
  • District (Michigan): Assumption Church, Grand Blanc, MI 48439 - Saturday, April 25, 2020 
  • Metropolis of Detroit: Holy Trinity Church, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 - Saturday, May 16, 2020 
  • Archdiocese (National): Metropolis of Denver and St. Spyridon Church in Loveland, CO, June 12-14, 2020.


All Church School students, from Preschool to 12th Grade, participate in our parish-level Oratorical Festival and must turn in their speeches or assignments to their teachers by the Parish Oratorical Festival due date.  Fr. Nick goes over all speeches and assignments and provides feedback to each student.

Preschool to 5th Grade

  • Students in Preschool to 5th Grade are given assignments by their teachers based on age, knowledge and skill level. These could be drawing pictures or writing short essays on selected topics.

6th to 12th Grade

  • Students in Grades 10-11-12 write an essay on one of the Senior Division topics.
  • Students in Grades [6]-7-8-9 write an essay on one of the Junior Division topics.
    (Note: Officially, the Junior Division includes Grades 7-8-9. At St. Nicholas, we ask our 6th Graders to write a Junior Division speech also, and if possible to deliver it before the panel of judges to give them a chance to get some practice for next year.)

The length of the Junior and Senior Division essays are determined by the official speech time-limits as follows:

  • Junior Division, Grades [6]-7-8-9:    minimum 3 minutes, maximum 4 minutes
  • Senior Division, Grades 10-11-12:   minimum 4 minutes, maximum 5 minutes

On the date of the Parish-Level Oratorical Festival, students in 6th through 12th Grade deliver their speeches to their peers and to a panel of judges.This is a wonderful experience and a requirement for formal participation and possible advancement in the Oratorical Festival.

Also, according to official regulations, Oratorical Festival participants must submit a printed copy of their speech to the Oratorical Festival Chairperson (Ms. Vicki Kiningham) before or during the Orientation Session (typed, double-spaced, on 8-1/2 x 11 paper).


To ensure uniformity and fairness, all parish-level St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festivals follow the same regulations (issued by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America):

The Archdiocese website for the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival is the official source of all information concerning the festival.

  • It describes the Purpose & Structure of the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival.
  • It also provides valuable guidelines for Preparing for a Local Oratorical Festival that can help our students get started.


The topics for the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival are different each year and are chosen by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Each year's topics appear in the following published by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

Our Church School guide provides practical tips on speech writing and presentation, as well as guidelines to help students get started with their speech.

Excellent tips on how to write a speech are available on line on


Fr. Alex and our parishioners Ms. Artemis Alex and Mr. Mark Moundros have made presentations to our Church School students about developing a speech for the Oratorical Festival in which they have emphasize both the written aspects as well as the necessary presentation skills.

As part of these presentations, Ms. Alex and Mr. Moundros have prepared handouts about developing oratorical festival skills that are available through the sub-menu "Oratorical Festival Skills" at the top of this page.


The sub-menu "Model Speeches" at the top of this page links to oratorical festival speeches from our parish that have been recognized at National Oratorical Festivals. They include the 2012 Oratorical Festival speech by Athena Chapekis that was awarded second place in the Junior Division and the 2003 Oratorical Festival speech by Nicholas Moniodis that was awarded first place in the Senior Division. They are both excellent models to follow.

NEW: The  St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America now includes the winning speeches from past years as examples to follow.


Our Church School continues to build a library with a valuable collection of recommended reference books to help our students prepare and write their speeches for the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival.

Our library already contains many recommended books, DVDs and CDs. They are available in a special bookcase on the South wall of our Church Conference Room. This bookcase is the first next to the door that connects the Conference Room to the Church Office. Students can borrow any of the material in the Church School bookcase by signing their name and making a note in the sign-out notebook kept in the bookcase.

The sub-menu "Library" at the top of this page provides a list of the material currently available.  Check it out!


Please address questions to our St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival program chairperson:

Vicki Kiningham
5675 Shelly Ct
Saline MI 48176