Keeper of the Light is a story about St Macrina the Elder written by Bev Cooke and illustrated by Bonnie Gillis (Conciliar Press, 2006). This St. Macrina was the grandmother of three famous saints – St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Macrina the Younger. This book tells the story of her faithfulness in the face of great loss and danger.
I was attracted to this book by the cover and hoped for an Orthodox Snow White with tamed forest creatures or something, but instead it’s an action packed story of a Christian family in AD 303 fleeing from ruthless Roman soldiers while preserving their faith. After years of hiding, eating those cute forest friends depicted on the cover, and living in caves, St. Macrina’s family returns to their city home only to face a more sophisticated form of persecution through unfair laws and societal pressures. Through all their sufferings, their faith matures as they choose to trust God.
Keeper of the Light is written for teens, but adults can enjoy it too. The plot advanced quickly and kept my attention. There are nice pen and ink illustrations which enhance the story. It’s a sweet book, shows the courage of early Christians, and although much of the story is fictionalized, is clearly Orthodox in spirit throughout.