Oratorical Festival 2017

Special Announcement – Oratorical Festival – Scholarships up to $2000 for High School and College Students

The New Gracanica Midwestern Diocesan Canonization Weekend Writing Competition and Oratorical Festival

This summer, July 14-16 is dedicated to the Pan Orthodox Glorification of St. Mardarije of St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville and All-America.  St. Mardarije was the first bishop of St. Sava Monastery and its builder.

In honor of St. Mardarije and his canonization to saint, New Gracanica Midwestern Diocese is hosting a very special event in the history of the Diocese – The Glorification of St. Mardarije Honoring  100 years from the day Bishop Mardarije came to be the first Serbian Bishop in America. We expect thousands of people will witness, participate and attend events over this historic and memorable weekend.

As a part of this great historic celebration, we will have an event specifically for high school and college students of the Serbian Orthodox Midwestern Diocese. This competition is for those who would like to learn more about Saint Mardarije, who is so near and dear to us for his role as builder of St. Sava Monastery and the first bishop for Serbians in America. His body has been exhumed as the first part of the process to prepare for this great weekend. His body had shown to be incorrupt, when the grave was recently reopened and uncovered, even though he was buried nearly 90 years ago – This is a miracle of God.

The Youth Department of New Gracanica Midwestern Diocese is organizing a story-writing competition for the high school students, and a competitive essay-writing Oratorical Festival for college students.

Both the college students and the high school students will receive a digital electronic book in PDF format about the life of Saint Mardarije.  High school students are asked to submit an original story (10-15 minutes in length when read) written for elementary through middle school aged children. College students are asked to submit an essay (7 to 10 minutes in length) on one aspect of the St. Mardarije’s life, such as his life as bishop or his years as builder of the monastery or an Orthodox Christian as bishop in the New World.

A main component of the story and essay writing is that high school and college students work with the regular supervision of the student’s parish priest for advice, guidance, and understanding of the materials provided about the Life of Bishop Mardarije.

All students submitting writing for this competition will need to be at the event. The writings need to be in English – will be judged by American Orthodox Christians. Seven college students’ essays will be selected prior to the event but announced at the event, for oral reading at one of the Canonization weekend events. Three scholarships awarded for the college student essay competition.

Three original children’s stories from the high school writing competition will be chosen prior to the event but announced at the event, and read by a story teller at one of the Canonization weekend events. One of the competition’s original children’s stories will be chosen to be printed into a realchildren’s book. The top three high school writers’ stories will also receive financial scholarships.

All participants present will receive a special honorable mention award to note and remember their participation in this historic competition and Canonization weekend.

All contest entrants must register to enter by May 21. The college essays and the high school children’s stories need to be turned in by midnight, July 10th.

Essays and children’s stories can be submitted in written format by mailing them to:

Youth Department
7855 Marsh Rd.
Indianapolis, IN 46278.

Essay and story submissions must arrive by midnight, July 10th.

Stories and essays can be submitted via email by sending them to: essaystorysoc@gmail.com

Essay and story submissions must arrive by midnight, July 10th.

To register your participation:

Send an email to: essaystorysoc@gmail.com
Stating the following information:
Name –
Address –
Phone Numbers –
Cell –
Email Address –
Age –
Parish name –
Parish priest’s name –

Grade or year in college you will be entering in fall of 2017 –

Entry Category: High School Children’s story or College Essay

All email registrations stating your participation in the Canonization Writing Competition must arrive by midnight May 24.

Oratorical Festival 2017

Dear Participant (Must be part of Midwest Diocese),

Thank you so much for your interest. You can acquire the book on the Life of St. Mardarije through the Monastery bookstore at New Gracanica – call: 847-223-4300. The Youth Department of our Diocese would gladly pay for this book and the shipment of it – just let me know.

Fr. Dragan 317-374-3414.

The Number one requirement is that you work on this project with the help and counsel of your parish priest. Also:

– set aside the following dates when you will read the essay out loud: April 1, 2017 (mandatory) and one of the three dates during summer – July 14, 15th and or 16th.

– The essay when read should not be less than three minutes long more than seven minutes (8min. Tops) long.

– you would read the life of the Saint  and write about one aspect of his life from an Orthodox (Serbian) Christian perspective, titling the essay yourself.  For example: Suffering for Christ, or Confessor of Faith, or Awesome Pastor, or Bishop in America, or Much Lived in a Short Life…

– We need to receive your essay no later than 25 March through email: fr.dragan@st-nicholas-indy.org

– The essay needs to be in English but one may use Serbian or other languages in it as sayings or things of that nature. * The judges are Americans so they need to understand the essay :-).

In Christ,

Fr. Dragan – Director of Diocesan Youth Department


PS Your Priest may also contact me with any questions he has.


Oratorical Festival 2017– $500 scholarship

Dear high school student,

Every year around this time the youth department of our Midwest Diocese organizes an oratorical Festival and gives out scholarships up to $500.
We provide a theme and you write an essay 3-7 minutes long (when read)  – consulting with your parish priest. You will read your essay at the Diocesan assembly at the New Gracanica Monastery on Saturday, April 1, 2017. You may also be asked to read the essay on either July 14, 15th or 16th 2017.

The general theme for this year is: Saint Mardarije of Libertyville.
Each participant is to title their own essay and write about a specific aspect of the Saint from the orthodox Christian perspective – having read his life.
We will provide you with the life and works of the Saint.

If you are interested in participating, please immediately send a text message to the youth director of our Diocese Fr. Dragan at 317-374-3414. The message must be received no later than March 10, 2017.

*The picture is of the last year’s participants.


Out of nine awesome essays, three were chosen to be presented to the diocesan assembly of the Midwest Diocese:
Jakob Delic – won first place
Ivana Bozic – second
Nina Kostic – third
On the same day the youth board was chosen.  Following are the specific roles appointed by the diocesan youth director:
Ivana Bozic – President
Daniella Radunovic – First V. P.
Sara Vucic – Second V. P.
Nina Kostic – Senior member
Jakob Delic -Secretary

We are truly grateful to the parents, church school teachers and priests of all the participants.
Participants from Old Holy Resurrection, Chicago:
Sara Vucic
Jovana Stanojevic
Milica Videnovic

From St. Elijah, Merrillville Indiana:
Jakob Delic

From St. Nikola, Chicago:
Danijela Radunovic

From St. Basil of Ostrog, Lake Forest Illinois:
Gabriella Veljkovic
Ivana Bozic
Luka Pavlakis

We also take the opportunity to thank our wonderful Judges:
Hieromonk Alexei
Dn. Joseph Appling
Arita Damroze

Please look forward to these essays ( biographies and pictures) to appear in the Path of Orthodoxy.

An amazing event for which we are grateful to our Great God, our awesome Bishop Longin and members of the Diocesan Youth Department.

Dragan Petrovic- priest, Director of youth department for the New Gracanica Midwest Diocese