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E05423: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) healed Dexianos, bishop of Seleucia, after he had been thrown by a horse. Thekla is praised for not recommending expensive and rare prescriptions, but cheap and readily available ones. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

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posted on 14.05.2018, 00:00 by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 8

One day, Dexianos [bishop of Seleucia ad Calycadnum], was riding a skittish horse and was thrown off. He broke his leg and was overall in a bad state. The martyr Thekla healed him immediately, both his head and his leg, since he was dear to her.

Καὶ ταῦτ’ ἀπ’ οὐδεμιᾶς πολυτρόπου φαρμακείας, ὃ δὴ καὶ μάλιστα ἄν τις αὐτῆς θαυμάσειε· μηνύουσα γὰρ ἃ χρὴ ποιεῖν τοὺς πάσχοντας, οὐκ ἐπί τι τῶν σπανίων καὶ πολυτιμήτων ἄγει τοὺς δεομένους, ἀλλ’ ἐπί τι τῶν εὐτελῶν καὶ ἐν μέσῳ κειμένων, ὥστε καὶ τῇ θᾶττον εὐπορίᾳ τοῦ μηνυθέντος εὐκολωτέραν γενέσθαι τὴν σωτηρίαν, μετὰ τοῦ καὶ τὴν αὐτῆς ἐν τοῖς οὕτως εὐτελέσι διαδείκνυσθαι δύναμιν, ὡς τῆς προσταττούσης, ἀλλ’ οὐ τοῦ προσταχθέντος εἶναι νομίζειν τὰς ἐνεργείας.

'This was accomplished without the use of complicated medicine, which fact one might particularly admire in her. In demonstrating the proper course of action for the afflicted, she does not guide those who entreat her to something rare and expensive, but to something cheap and readily available, so that their healing comes about more easily through the swift acquisition of the prescription. Furthermore, she displays her power in [making use of] such common means, that one does not attribute the efficacy to that which is prescribed, but rather to the prescriber.'

Text: Dagron 1978. Translation (lightly modified): Johnson 2012. Summary: J. Doroszewska.

History

Evidence ID

E05423

Saint Name

Thekla, follower of the Apostle Paul : S00092

Saint Name in Source

Θέκλα

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

470

Evidence not after

476

Activity not after

476

Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Seleucia ad Calycadnum

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Seleucia ad Calycadnum Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Source

The anonymous text known under the title of The Life and Miracles of Thekla was written in the city of Seleucia-on-the-Calycadnum in the province of Isauria in southern Asia Minor around 470. It was certainly written before c. 476, which is approximately when Thekla's shrine outside Seleucia (modern Meriamlik/Ayatekla in Turkey) was monumentalised by the emperor Zeno (r. 474-491), since this activity is not mentioned in the text. The text consists of two parts: the first half is a paraphrased version of the second-century Acts of Paul and Thekla, a text which was widely known in Late Antiquity and translated into every early Christian language; this early text was rendered by our author into Attic Greek, and contains many minor changes to the original story, with one major change at the end: instead of dying at the age of 19 years, Thekla descends into the earth and performs miracles in and around the city of Seleucia in a spiritual state. The second half, from which this passage is drawn, comprises a collection of forty-six miracles, preceded by a preface and followed by an epilogue. It is written in a high literary style which distinguishes it among other hagiographical texts, which were typically composed in a low style of Greek. The text was for a long time attributed to a 5th century bishop, Basil of Seleucia (fl. c. 448-468); but in 1974 Dagron demonstrated conclusively that the Miracles could not have been authored by Basil, since there is an invective directed against him in chapter 12. The anonymous author is himself the subject of a few miracles, including miraculous interventions on his behalf in ecclesiastical disputes.

Bibliography

Edition: Dagron, G., Vie et miracles de sainte Thècle (Subsidia hagiographica 62; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1978), with French translation. Translations: Johnson, S.F., Miracles of Saint Thekla, in : S.F. Johnson and A.-M. Talbot, Miracle Tales from Byzantium (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 12; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), 1-201. Festugière, A.-J., Collections grecques de Miracles: sainte Thècle, saints Côme et Damien, saints Cyr et Jean (extraits), saint Georges (Paris: Éditions A. et J. Picard, 1971). Further reading: Barrier, J., et al., Thecla: Paul's Disciple and Saint in the East and West (Leuven: Peeters, 2017). Dagron, G., “L'auteur des Actes et des Miracles de Sainte Thècle,” Analecta Bollandiana, 92 (1974), 5–11. Davis, S., The Cult of Saint Thecla: A Tradition of Women's Piety in Late Antiquity, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). Honey, L., “Topography in the Miracles of Thecla: Reconfiguring Rough Cilicia,” in: M.C. Hoff and R.F. Townsend (eds), Rough Cilicia: New Historical and Archaeological Approaches, Proceedings on an International Conference held at Lincoln, Nebraska, October 2007 (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2013), 252–59. Johnson, S.F., “The Life and Miracles of Thecla, a literary study” (University of Oxford, doctoral thesis, 2005). Kristensen, T.M., "Landscape, Space and Presence in the Cult of Thekla in Meriamlik," Journal of Early Christian Studies 24:2 (2016), 229-263.

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