With the blessing of Archbishop Elpidophoros, the Archdiocesan St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival Committee has decided that the Archdiocesan, or National level Festiva,l scheduled for June 11-13, 2021 will be a virtual festival.
While everyone is hopeful and optimistic, given the current state of the pandemic and the vaccine rollout, there are still many uncertainties that have affected planning. There is a high likelihood that some of the students and families who would attend the National festival in June may not feel comfortable traveling by plane, staying in hotels, etc., or attending a large in-person event. We also considered the challenges of hosting a weekend-long large gathering with all the necessary safety precautions that we anticipate would still need to be in place. Out of concern for the families and the host parish, we decided that this is the best way to proceed at this still difficult time.
Taking inspiration from the many Church programs that have continued during the pandemic with virtual events that build fellowship, the plan is to host a multi-day virtual festival the weekend of June 11-13, 2021 that will include several opportunities for the students to get to know one another, an online prayer service and the junior and senior level speaking sessions. His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros has been invited to participate in the Festival to hear the participants’ speeches and to share remarks at a virtual awards ceremony. The same awards that we have provided at in-person festivals will be granted to the speakers. The Festival itself, the speaking program and awards ceremony will be live streamed so that a broader audience can benefit from hearing the speeches.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and support. We look forward to hearing our young people share their faith and insights. We know they will continue to inspire all who hear them.