The Oratorical Festival for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco was held on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Belmont, California. Junior and Senior Category representatives from the five districts in the Metropolis participated, for a total of 17 youth. They are all to be commended for their poise, eloquence and dedication to the Orthodox faith.

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(L-R) Nektarios Delis, Junior Division winner, His Grace Bishop Ioannis of Phocaea, His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, and Johnny Cumbelich, Senior Division winner.

Congratulations to Johnny Cumbelich from the Ascension Cathedral in Oakland, California who received First Place in the Senior Division. Johnny’s presentation focused on the topic: “Christ says, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:1). He also says, ‘Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you’ (John 6:53). Explore the Orthodox teaching on the Eucharist by reading the prayers of the Divine Liturgy the writings of one or more Church Fathers.”

Nektarios Delis from the Holy Cross Church was honored with First Place in the Junior Division.

He offered a presentation on the topic: “On the Day of Theophany (January 6), we chant, ‘All those who were baptized in Christ have put on Christ’ (Gal. 3:27). Discuss the meaning of this hymn and the obligations it places upon us as Orthodox Christians.”

His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos congratulated all the participants sharing, “In a world that often challenges our beliefs and values, your unwavering commitment to living out your faith is both inspiring and commendable. Today, I want to take a moment to acknowledge your efforts and accomplishments in the Saint John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival, encourage you to continue proclaiming the Word of God, and empower you to demonstrate His love through your interactions with others.”

Special gratitude is extended to the organizing committee for the Metropolis, led by Dr. Eve Tibbs (Chair, Metropolis Christian Education Ministry), Mrs. Aristi Anagnos, and Johanna Carter (Director of the Metropolis Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries). In addition, special thanks to Rev. Father Peter Salmas, Rev. Father Emmanuel Aspiotis, Allison Virsik and the helpful staff and volunteers at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church for their hospitality and coordinating the on-site logistics for this event. The judges for the Metropolis Oratorical Festival were Bethany Geleris, Paul Gikas and Christos Pappademos. Karin Patterson served as the official timekeeper.

A presentation on Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology was offered by Christos Pappademos who also serves as a Field Representative for the Admissions Office at HCHC. He offered insightful information on the school and the various degree programs offered including the Semester of Faith.

Following the conclusion of the Oratorical Festival on Saturday afternoon, the participants and their families went on a local pilgrimage to San Francisco to venerate the relics of St. John Maximovich of Shanghai and San Francisco. They visited the “Old” Holy Virgin Cathedral, the parish of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk (the house where St. John used to live) and the “New” Holy Virgin Cathedral. The day concluded with a hosted dinner at Amici’s East Coast Pizza in Redwood City, CA.

We wish Johnny and Nektarios all the very best as they prepare to travel to Buffalo, NY where they will represent the Metropolis of San Francisco at the Archdiocese Oratorical Festival the weekend of June 7 – 9, 2024.


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Metropolis Oratorical Festival Senior Division participants.


First Place

Johnny Cumbelich
Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral – Oakland, CA

Second Place

Anna Virsik
Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church – Belmont, CA

Third Place

Magnolia Rush
Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church – Beaverton, OR

Honorable Mention

Yianni Kades
Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church – Pasadena, CA

Yioryia Prevas
Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church – Northridge, CA

Nile Solomon
Saint Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church – Peoria, AZ

Sophia Voudouris
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church – Sacramento, CA

Andrew Waldo
Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church – Chandler, AZ

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Metropolis Oratorical Festival Junior Division participants.


First Place

Nektarios Delis
Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church – Belmont, CA

Second Place

Maria Paraskevopoulos
Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church – San Diego, CA

Third Place

Stephen Young
Saint Lawrence Orthodox Church – Felton, CA

Honorable Mention

Maria Chende
Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church – Beaverton, OR

Jack Choukalas
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral – Phoenix, AZ

Costa Herrera
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral – Phoenix, AZ

Callie Oubeid
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church – Modesto, CA

Athanasia Paraskevopoulos
Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church – San Diego, CA

Petra Sheean
Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church – Beaverton, OR