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E05571: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) protected and guarded a certain soldier Ambrosios against brigands during his travel on a road between Cilicia and Cappadocia. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

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posted on 28.05.2018, 00:00 by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 16

Summary:

A certain Ambrosios, who was a soldier of the imperial capital, often travelled across the world on horseback on urgent matters, now to make a report to the emperor, now to communicate an imperial order to his subjects, now to transport something of importance or value. Once, he had to transport a great deal of gold and needed to take the road that stretched out across Cilicia and Cappadocia. This road was very dangerous, since it was frequented by numerous brigands who set ambushes to rob passers-by of their possessions. The robbers did not hesitate to slit the travellers' throats or to ransom them back to their relatives. Thus, when Ambrosios was setting off on this road, he prayed to the martyr Thekla for help and he obtained a miracle. For, at the most terrifying portion of the route, he saw a body of soldiers, both infantry and cavalry, following and accompanying him as both guard and escort. This apparition was the work of the martyr, and appeared to both Ambrosios and his enemies, to the relief of the former and to the fear of the latter. So Ambrosios, when he safely arrived at the imperial palace, announced the miracle in a loud voice, and praised the martyr and honoured her as his defender, ally, and protector.

Text: Dagron 1978. Summary: J. Doroszewska.

History

Evidence ID

E05571

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

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miraculous protection - of people and their property Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Soldiers

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.

Discussion

When Ambrosios is called 'a soldier of the imperial capital', it indicates the parade troops of the scholae palatine (Dagron 1978: 331, n. 1).

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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