The Three Holy Children, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) were all companions of the Prophet Daniel and fellow kinsmen in the tribe of Judah. During the reign of King Jechonias they were taken prisoner and led away as captives with other Jews during the Babylonian Captivity. Eventually they were taken into the court of King Nebuchadnezzar as servants, stripped of their Hebrew names, and given Babylonian names, which honored pagan deities.
In the Book of Daniel (chapter 3), King Nebuchadnezzar constructs a golden image of himself, which he orders worshiped. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah defy the king’s order, refusing to worship none but God alone. Nebuchadnezzar, in a fit of rage, orders that the three children be thrown in a furnace. Inside the furnace, Azariah prays for the forgiveness of his sins and those of his people, asking God to demonstrate his power to the Babylonians. They are delivered from the fire by an angel who makes the flames feel like a cool breeze over dew. The Church teaches that it was Christ taking the form of an angel who saved the youths from their torment. In icons of this miracle, the angel sports a halo bearing a cross, indicating that He is Christ. This vision is said to prefigure of Christ’s incarnation, the Son of God who is begotten and not made, destroying death through His Resurrection. Seen in the furnace walking with a fourth individual unscathed and praising God, the three children emerge. Nebuchadnezzar then orders the people to worship their God instead of the idol.