Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.
“The three holy youth were cast in the furnace; they did not forget their piety, they sent their prayers to heaven... The fire became like a wall, the furnace a fountain; although it received them bound, it set them free.”
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 4 on the Statutes
The Three Holy Youth
The three youth lived in Judah during the Babylonian conquest in the 6th century BC. They, along with their friend Daniel the prophet, were among the best and brightest of Judah. These young men were captured at the command of King Nebuchadnezzar and taken to the Babylonian palace to serve in the king's court. (Dan. 1:4) Upon their arrival, the king ordered that they be taught and trained for three years in preparation for the service of the king.
Babylon, however, was a pagan empire and did not know the God of Israel. The three youth were therefore expected to eat, drink, study and worship according to Babylonian customs and beliefs, and to disregard the commandments of God. Despite the pressures of their peers and trainers, and at the risk of being sentenced to execution by burning in a furnace, the three youth remained steadfast in their faith and insisted on living a life according to the commandments of God. As result of their faithfulness, they not only excelled among their peers but were also delivered from the midst of the fiery furnace, to the glory of God's name. (Dan. 3:28-9)
The biblical story of the Three Holy Youth is a powerful testament to the grace and blessings bestowed upon those who persevere to live a holy life in a world that rejects holiness. Their conduct displayed both faithfulness and virtue in their encounters with their Babylonian superiors. They exhibited grace, wisdom and courage, and their deeds inspired Nebuchadnezzar to glorify God, who blesses and protects all those who are faithful to Him.
We hope and pray that, through the blessings and prayers of these saintly youth, all of the graduates of HYCA may also succeed in all their endeavors, and be counted among the saints for living a life of holiness and virtue for the glory of God's name.