2021 St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival - Parish Level - Summary


Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the 2021 St. Nicholas Oratorical Festival was held remotely. All speeches were delivered via Zoom as follows:

  • Senior Division (Grades 10-12)
    Friday, March 12, 2021

  • Junior Division (Grades 6-9)
    Saturday, March 13, 2021

Total No. of Speakers: 17

Comments from Fr. Nick:

The speakers in both divisions were excellent. They took the topics, did the research, and wrote and delivered speeches with unique thoughts and means of expression. This is actually the first time I was able to hear all the speeches live, and I was very impressed by each and every speaker. Well done!

JUNIOR DIVISION SPEAKERS (Grades 6 & 7-9; 10 speakers)


Helen Kolias

Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):

Isabella Apone
Olga Bekiares

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order):

Harry Kotsis
Anastasios Prokos
Nicholas Rouman
Demetri Tsilimingras
Niko Tsilimingras
Katerina Tsilimingras
Thea Yocum


    1. Discuss the challenges and opportunities of watching a church service that is live streamed.

    2. Prayer is called a “conversation with God.” Discuss the meaning of prayer in your life.

    3. During the pandemic, people noticed that our natural environment became cleaner. What can this teach us about our care for the natural world?

    4. Why is the Church still relevant, especially for young people, in our increasingly secular, post-COVID world?

    5. Choose one parable from the Gospel of Luke chapters 15 or 16 that is particularly meaningful to you and explain what we can learn from it.

SENIOR DIVISION SPEAKERS (Grades 10-12; 7 speakers)


Alexander Theros

Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):

Elizabeth Kolias
Zoe Patselas

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order):

Zachary Chalogianis
Katy Dernbach
Alexander Rouman
Sotiri Tsilimingras


    1. During the stay at home period of the pandemic, Orthodox Christians had to find ways to practice their faith without attending church in person or participating in parish activities. Discuss what you learned during those days.

    2. In July 2020, a Turkish court gave permission for Hagia Sophia to be converted from a museum into a mosque. Discuss the significance of Hagia Sophia in the history of Christianity and the power of monuments like it to inspire religious identity.

    3. We live in a highly polarized society – left vs. right, personal liberty vs. common good, and other issues where it seems everything is politicized. How are we as Orthodox Christians called to navigate this environment?

    4. St. Peter writes, “Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16). What is freedom and how does it become a basis for being a servant?

    5. In the Psalms we read, “If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you.” (Psalm 130:3-4, NRSV). Discuss how an Orthodox Christian understands sin, forgiveness, mercy, and repentance.



Rev Fr. Nicolaos H. Cotsis

Judges - Senior Division:

Fr. Michael Marcantoni, Marla Letter, Anastasia Mitropoulos-Rundus and Nicholas Kokkales

Judges - Junior Division:

Alexander Hostetler, Catherine Chengges, Ron Betzig and Dani Nadra

Church School Directors:

Fr. Vasilis Pliakas, Photios G. Ioannou

Church School Teachers:

Tony Michalopoulos, Dani Nadra

Nick Chapekis Jr., Dr. Sophia Grias, Cindy Templeman

Ioana Nadra, Deno Prokos

IT and Zoom support

Erica Foster

Oratorical Festival Chair:

Dr. Vicki A. Kiningham