Dedicated to making the wisdom of the ancient Orthodox Christian Faith accessible to the modern child.
Our Latest Publication!
For ages 9 and up. The goal of this work is to transport the modern reader into the ancient world of the early Hebrew and Mesopotamian peoples and to present their history in a ‘living’ story form. This is a work of historical fiction but is influenced by some of the ancient historical narrative beliefs of Judaism, teaching their history through utilizing their own oral tradition and literature that has been handed down through the ages. Extra-biblical sources have been drawn upon to add detail and plot, such as the Midrash, a Jewish commentary on Scripture with ancient origins, Legends of the Jews from the Haggadah, traditional nomadic Jewish folktales of the Arabian Peninsula, and Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews. Excerpts of Chaldean writings have also been incorporated but offered in comparison and contrast to the Holy Scriptures, to which they bear some remarkable similarities. In every case, however, it has been our objective to present the Holy Bible as the authoritative Word of God.
We make no claims as to the historical accuracy of either the Midrash, the Haggadah, or Josephus’ great work, Antiquities of the Jews. But these ancient writings present Abraham as a fearless defender of the One, True God in the midst of a very pagan world. Their portrayal of his noble and faithful character, while enduring great persecution and hardship, provides credible detail and plot direction for the story-line of this narrative, as well as opportunity for spiritual edification that otherwise would be lacking in this volume.
The chapters in this coming book can either be read as stand-alone short stories, or read together as a chapter book for sixth grade and up. We plan to publish a series of volumes to compliment Our Young Folks' Josephus.
Volume 1, of Stories from Church History
Which compliment the first half of
A Children's History of the Church,
Volume 2, of Stories from Church History,
which complements the second half of
A Children's History of the Church,
are now available!
Boris in Russia
From the preface:
In this story of Russian life, one sees broad fields of grain and flax, herds of sheep and cattle grazing on the grassy steppes, slow rivers creeping for hundreds of miles across the vast plains; and one feels the deep religious fervor of the people and grasps the nation's wonderful opportunity for power and progress. In contrast to the humble home of the peasant, with its bare furnishings and meager fare, there is the magnificent splendor of the cathedral with its ceremonies, its jeweled icons, its thousands of flickering candles,--tiny flames symbolic of desire, which once kindled, burns forever in the human heart.
Boris Antonovitch, the young peasant of the story, typifies the Russia which feels a stir of might and looks for a place among the great nations of the world. Born in a country village on the Volga River, he grows to be a sturdy, active lad, doing his share of the work in the fields, and taking his part in the fun of the village festivals. But he longs to see the world, and with his father's permission he goes to the great fair at Nizhni Novgorod, which has been held annually for over five hundred years. Later he goes to Moscow where he sees the snowfall over the city, just as it fell in 1812, driving Napoleon and his French army out of Russia in disastrous defeat. He is in St. Petersburg for the blessing of the waters of the Neva, and for the joyous celebration of Pascha; and it is here that he decides to find his place in the work of progress for his people.
Our Young Folks' Josephus
Author: William Shepard
“Our Young Folks’ Josephus” is a simplified retelling of the great historian Flavius Josephus’ epic narratives, “The Antiquities of the Jews” and “The Jewish Wars.” It covers the history of Israel from the time of Abraham until the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, following the Septuagint chronology. This work is an invaluable supplement to the study of Old Testament history, covering a broad period of time in detail, yet at a more manageable pace suitable for the mid-elementary level through middle school. Now Available.
"...a must have for every bookshelf." ~ Eclectic Homeschool Online
Paperback with illustrations, 6"X9", 480 pages.
Recommended for ages 9+.
Also available as an MP3 audiobook read by Jim Hodges with accompanying music and sound effects. Recommended for ages 8 and up. 8+ hours of audio. For an audio sample:
Author: Alfred Church
ONE OF THE GREATEST TRAGEDIES IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD The "Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem" is an adaptation of Josephus' dramatic first-hand account of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 in his famous historical work, "The Jewish Wars." It captures in detail one of the greatest tragedies of all time, often overlooked in more contemporary histories. Some of the scenes are particularly graphic and are not suitable for younger or more sensitive readers. But this text is an invaluable addition for the more mature student who is interested in studying the final history of Ancient Israel, yet does not have the time to read Josephus' original but very lengthy work. Includes a scriptural quotation at the beginning of each chapter prophecying the events taking place. Paperback. 144 pages.
Other Planned Projects:
The Queen's Rebellion
Author: John Davis
It is the year 377 AD, and the reign of Constantine is but a distant memory. The Roman Empire is beset by enemies on all sides, and within its borders the regime of the Arian emperor Valens will stop at nothing to destroy those it deems a threat. The agents of the emperor search high and low for the slightest hints of disloyalty, and punishment is swift and brutal. For those Christians who hold to the Nicene Faith it is an especially dark time, as the Arian emperors have reintroduced the ancient penalties first instituted by their pagan predecessors. Countless bishops and priests have disappeared, seized by the emperor’s ever-watchful spies, and banished to die as slaves in the hellish mines of Phaino on the shores of the Dead Sea. But even as the Arians struggle to crush their enemies, many in high places whisper to one another of casting out the cult of the Galilean altogether, and returning the old gods to their rightful place of honor.
In the midst of all this the chief of the Nicene Tanukhid Arabs dies, leaving his widow Mawiya as the sole ruler of the tribes. The Tanukhids are a proud people, and when the Roman government gives them cause for offense, Mawiya is more than willing to remind the Romans who the true masters of the desert frontier are.
Hundreds of miles away from Syria and Palestine, Silvanus Flavius Victor, a distinguished Roman officer and diplomat, is looking forward to his imminent retirement after brokering a treaty with the Persians. But as events back home spiral out of control, he finds himself recalled from his negotiations and tasked with a new mission–tracking down the queen who has humiliated the legions and ending her revolt by any means necessary.
As Victor sets out on his new task with grim determination, rumors flying on the wind from oasis to oasis tell of strange happenings in the deep desert. They tell of a hermit named Moses who can heal the sick, and they whisper of great and terrible signs that have appeared on the Mountain of the Prophets. As these tidings draw Mawiya and her people towards the wilderness of Sinai, with Victor close behind, the stage is set for a fateful encounter that will change their lives and the course of history.
The Queen’s Rebellion, and the planned trilogy of which it is the first part, is based on true events and real people, and draws from a wide array of period sources to tell a story long forgotten. It is a story of bravery, martyrdom, and intrigue that unfolds across the Roman East, from the desert stronghold of Dumat al-Jandal to the fetid slums and canals of Alexandria to the glittering palaces of Constantinople. It is the story of an Arab queen who shook the throne of an emperor with her spear and won an Orthodox bishop for her people. And it is the story of how a man who once served at the right hand of Julian the Apostate became the friend and confidant of men like Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus, and would eventually turn his back on the glories of the earth.
A Tale of Four Cakes
by Matushka Anna Crawford
Read by Sophia Lyda
A story of a young Orthodox girl choosing between marriage or monasticism.
A Children's History of the
Author: John Mason Neale
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
John Mason Neale beautifully captures the struggle of the early Church from her humble beginnings in Jerusalem, through her rapid spread throughout the ancient world as the Apostles scattered far and wide to proclaim the Word of God, to her challenges of preserving the Faith in spite of many temptations that flooded the Church after its legalization. Included in this volume are stories of some of her greatest saints,-Martyrs glorifying God under intense persecution, and Defenders of the Faith fighting for Truth against a wide assortment of heretical teachings. Using an immensely engaging style of narration, this work is truly a classic, offering great historical detail in a story form that captures both the mind and heart of a child.
Includes many added illustrations of early Christian artifacts, added historical and patristic references and much more!
A Spark From God: Volume 1:
In spite of being published over 100 years ago, this book was treasured during the Communist era and has remained in use by pious Orthodox families in Russia and Ukraine until this day.
Originally published in Russia and Ukraine in 1903, A Spark From God was compiled by Archpriest Gregoriy Dyachyenko, a well known and respected theologian and spiritual writer of his time. This compilation focuses on the spiritual and moral formation of girls and women of all ages. This was the first work of its kind intended specifically for girls and women, and teaches through short stories, lives of saints, spiritual counsels, and poetry. It conveys the ideals of Christian womanhood: acquiring virtue, family relationships, motherhood and the upbringing of children, as well as monasticism. This is volume 1 of a three-part series, and is intended for young girls ages 8-12.
Stories from Church History
Author: A Collection
"And the Gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18
Withstanding outside persecutions, and fighting heresies from within, the Church has continued to struggle to survive and to transform the world around her. A selection of short stories of the major people and events from the time of the Apostles until modern times are retold here in an engaging style that will inspire as well as inform. Writings from re-knowned authors of the 19th century, who especially loved to excite their younger audience with stories of faith, struggle and triumph, are gathered in this volume, arranged in chronological order. Volume 1 covers A.D. 66–312; Volume 2 covers A.D. 312-450; Volume 3 covers A.D. 450-1800's.
The Egyptian Wanderers
Author: John Mason Neale
“Why should I speak of the multitude of them that wandered in deserts and mountains, and perished by hunger, and thirst, and cold, and diseases, and robbers, and wild beasts?—of whose victory those among them that were survivors are witnesses. But I will produce one of these occurrences as an example.” –Eusebius Ecclesiastical History vi. 42.
"The following story is based on that passage of Eusebius, which I have quoted as its motto. That during the fury of the persecution the Egyptian Deserts were filled with confessors, most of whom perished there, is abundantly testified by that historian, who had himself visited Alexandria while the remembrance of their sufferings was yet fresh. The anecdotes occasionally introduced are with one exception, taken from the early ecclesiastical historians, or from the Martyrologies."
~John Mason Neale, Sackville College, March 16, 1854
This story begins at the library of St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, where the narrator finds an ancient tattered volume telling of one family's struggle of faith as they flee into the Egyptian wilderness during the tenth great persecution of Rome.
A collection of lives of early martyrs and ascetics of Egypt and north Africa, written close to their lifetime by well-known saints. The goal of this audiobook series is to make these ancient patristic texts accessible and interesting, while still reverent, to a younger audience through engaging reading and music.
The Exiles of the Cebenna
Author: John Mason Neale
A Flight into the Wilderness...
Told from the perspective of Aurelius Gratian, a Priest of the holy Church of God, "The Exiles of the Cebenna" is a moving account of the community of Christians in the Church of Arles during the Decian persecution (249-251 AD). Written in lively 19th century English by John Mason Neale and annotated by Paidea Classics for contemporary readers, the tale weaves together the tribulations of the Christians who remained in Arles for the persecution with the experiences of those who, led by Father Gratian, dared an escape from the city. The Exiles of the Cebenna is at once a suspenseful adventure story and an especially heartening lesson to inspire and fortify children for the life of faith that all true followers of Christ are called upon to live. Paperback.
A Fourth Century Travel Journal
The approach to Sinai...
“...were pointed out according to the Scriptures. In the meanwhile on foot to a certain place where the mountains, through which we were journeying, opened out and formed an infinitely great valley, quite flat and extraordinarily beautiful, and across the valley appeared Sinai, the holy mountain of God.”
An unprecedented first-hand account of a pilgrim who journeyed to both Sinai and the Holy Land from A.D. 382-385. While following the steps of Moses through the story of Exodus, she gives witness to the monastic life of the desert fathers who were flourishing in Sinai at that time. Her journey also leads her to the Holy Land where she follows the path of Genesis and ends in Jerusalem where she vividly describes the worship services of Holy Week and Pascha.
Her incredible narrative combined with stunning color photography, Scripture and complimentary early patristic passages, along with additional historical information brings the reader along on her unforgettable pilgrimage.
If you ask what is the good in general of the paideia, the answer is easy. The paideia makes good men, and good men act nobly.”
-Plato, when quoting Socrates.
The Greek word paideia, “pie-day-yah” (English pronunciation) describes an ancient form of education which strived to develop the whole person intellectually, bodily, and in character. In Proverbs in the Greek Septuagint: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6) the Greek word used for 'train' is 'paideia'. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul deepened the meaning of the word, when he exhorted the Ephesians to: “…bring up your children in the 'training and instruction' (paideia) of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In the Christian context, it includes discipline and training for the life long spiritual struggle for repentance against the passions (Galatians 5:24, 1Peter 2:11) and striving to be clothed in the virtues of Christ, our wedding garment (Matthew 22:11, Galatians 3:27, 1Peter 5:5).
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training (paideia) and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training (paideia) in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16).
“It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline (paideia), and do not lose heart when He rebukes you…’” (Hebrews 12:5).
“No discipline (paideia) seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).