“Constantinople! The name of the city rolled off Nicholas’s tongue. He said it slowly, syllable by syllable. Con-stan-tin-o-ple! He said it as fast as he could. Constantinople! He sang it. Shouted it. Whispered it.”
And Then Nicholas Sang is based on a traditional Byzantine story that recounts the origins of an ancient hymn now known as the Trisagion Hymn. The origins of this hymn are not known for certain; but tradition tells us that it dates back to the reign of Saint Proclus as Patriarch of Constantinople (434–447), during the time when Constantinople and the surrounding region were plagued by earthquakes. This work of fiction is built around that beloved tradition.
“Annie liked to go walking and wherever Annie walked, her angel went, too. “I’m going for a walk in the woods, Angel. What are you going to do?”
“I’m going with you.”
“I hear a brook in the woods saying ‘Gurgle, gurgle.’” said Annie. “What do you hear, Angel?”
“I hear a brook in the woods saying ‘Gurgle, gurgle’ and I hear a brook in heaven saying, ‘Glory, glory!'”
Annie takes a walk in the woods with her guardian angel and hears all the heavenly counterparts of the sounds she hears in the woods. This story shows young children that heaven and earth are not so very far apart, after all.
“Mary Magdalene draped her scarf over her hair as she hurried to the door. For months, since Emperor Tiberius had moved to the island of Capri, she’d hoped and prayed she would have a chance to meet with him. Now at last she had an invitation to attend a banquet at his villa. She’d spent the last few days praying that while she was there, she would be able to tell him the good news—the news that Jesus Christ is risen.”
At Pascha, Orthodox all over the world dye and bless red eggs. Here is the story of how this tradition started —way back in apostolic times, with St. Mary Magdalene and a blessed miracle that dazzled the unbelieving Roman emperor with the reality and power of Christ’s Resurrection.
“The wind took a breath and then gently, oh so gently, let it out again. And as it did, the flowers in the fields swayed softly. And the bee that had just finished sipping the last drop of nectar from one of those flowers flew with the breeze across the field, over the stream, and back to its hive.”
In the Candle’s Glow reveals the life of a prayer from before its inception to its journey heavenward to the throne of God: the labors of a bee, the making of a beeswax candle, and the delight of a young child as she lights the candle and fills the flame with her prayers.