Saint NameThekla, follower of Apostle Paul : S00092
Saint Name in SourceΘέκλα
Image Caption 1Squeeze; from Sittig 1914, 3.
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)
Evidence not before1
Evidence not after600
Activity not before1
Activity not after600
Place of Evidence - RegionAegean islands and Cyprus
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcLapethos
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Lapethos
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsPrayer/supplication/invocation
SourceA white marble slab, broken and lost on the right- and left-hand side. H. 0,085 m; W. 0,37 m; Th. 0,093 m, letter height 0.03-0.033 m. First recorded in February of 1914 by Ernst Sittig, close to the northern wall of a modern church dedicated to St Menas near Lapethos/Lapta, by the road from Kerynia/Girne to Myrtou/Çamlıbel. Sittig made a squeeze and the inscription was first moved to the church, and then to the Cyprus Archaeological Museum in Nikosia.
DiscussionThe inscription mentions the name of Thekla, follower of *Paul the Apostle and the first female martyr, in the genitive form. The editors completed the text as a command to remember Thekla, probably addressed to the reader. This is strange, as normally, one would expect the formula μνήσθητι/'remember' to appear in an invocation of a saint. Perhaps the preserved line was a part of a longer prayer, for example: [ὁ θ(εὸ)ς τῆς ἁγίας καὶ ἐνδόξης πρωτο]μάρτυρος Θέκλης, μνήσ[θητι - - -]/'[O God of the holy and glorious first] martyr Thekla, reme[mber (name of the supplicant)]!' Terence Bruce Mitford identified the object as an "architectural inscription", he must have supposed that it came from a church dedicated to Thekla.
The main site of the cult of Thekla was Seleukeia/Seleucia in Isauria, southern Asia Minor, located just opposite the northern shore of Cyprus.
Dating: Terence Bruce Mitford dated the inscription to the 6th c., based on the forms of letters. Sittig implausibly argued that the inscription was carved in the second half of the 1st c. AD: δεικνύει ὅτι δεῖ τὴν ὑπ' ἐμοῦ εὑρεθεῖσαν (...) ἐπιγραφὴν νὰ θῶμεν εἰς τὸ δεύτερον ἥμισυ τοῦ πρώτου μΧ αἰῶνος, as he claimed that the lettering was identical to that of an inscription from Lapethos, erected in honour of the emperor Tiberius (AD 14-37), and as in the inscription of the proconsul Paulos, believed to have been the governor of Cyprus Sergius Paulus, mentioned in the Acts (13,6-12).
Sittig, E., “Ἡ ἁγία Θέκλα”, Εφημερίς αρχαιολογική (1914), 2-3.
Halkin, F., "L'Egypte, Chypre, la Crète et les autres îles grecques. La Grèce continentale et les pays balkaniques. L'Italie et la Sycylie", Analecta Bollandiana 70 (1952), 118.
Mitford, T.B., "Some new inscriptions from early Christian Cyprus", Byzantion 20 (1950), 170.