Keeper of the Light


Keeper of the Light: St. Macrina the Elder, Grandmother of Saints

By Bev Cooke

Illustrated by Bonnie Gillis

Conciliar Press

Once wealthy Christians, Macrina, her husband Basil, and her son Basil (whom she calls, "Mus," meaning "mouse") are forced to leave their home and run away from Roman rule. For seven more years, Christians are arrested and executed. Macrina must work hard, with her good husband Basil at her side, to provide for their small son.

Just when she thinks things are turning for the better, Macrina is pushed into poverty and danger in the city of Neocaesarea. While her husband is away trying to regain their home and Mus is being cared for by a priest, she is forced to tell stories to Roman children and is persecuted by a proud and hateful woman named Selina.

Finally, when she is on her last cup of faith in God, her life is restored when the Roman emperor legalizes Christianity. Soon after, Mus is grown up and married to Emmelia, who is Macrina's good friend. Together Mus and Emmellia have nine children not including the one who died due to Emmelia's sickly pregnancy. Three of these children grow up to be saints. Macrina dies telling stories of Gregory the Wonderworker to her beautiful grandchildren, content in the faith.

I recommend this book to ages eleven and up and to anyone else who might be interested in seeing what true faith looks like. Take it from me, a twelve year old girl, St. Macrina the Elder who was grandmother of three saints, will definitely show you what real faith looks like. St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Macrina the younger must be mighty proud of their old "Nona."

By Hannah E. Crenshaw

Christ the Saviour Antiochian Church

Anderson, South Carolina