The Boy, a Kitchen, and His Cave by Catherine K. Contopoulos (published by Saint Vladimir’s Press in 2002), tells the story of Saint Euphrosynos the cook. As a boy, Euphrosynos struggled in school, forgot things, and made thoughtless errors; but instead of feeling damaged by the taunts of others, he turned to God in simplicity and humility.
As he grew up, God led him to a monastery on Mount Athos, where he found peace and a sense of belonging–even though he couldn’t keep up with many of the things the monks were discussing and doing. Euphrosynos was not clever, but by humbly doing what was set before him and trusting God, he set a powerful example. The Abbot said of Euphrosynos, “Yes, he is simple, but he is honest and full of love. Is this not what God intended for us?”
St. Euphrosynos’ struggles reflect experiences that many children can relate to. His simple, trusting, and practical reaction to his problems could be a refreshing inspiration for children who struggle in the stress-filled schools of our modern times.
The story has enough maturity to engage older children while the lovely illustrations by Chrissanth Greene-Gross bring the text to life, capturing the attention of younger listeners too. Elementary through middle school children will find this story engaging and inspiring.