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E05573: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) healed, at her shrine at Seleucia, the broken leg of an a marble-worker Leontios, which made Maximinos, a pagan noble of Antioch, become a Christian. 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, 17

There was a certain Leontios who was a marvellously skilled craftsman in decorating buildings with marble. He decorated the sanctuary [of Thekla in Seleucia], beautifully arranging marble panels on the walls and pavements. He was then hired by a noble man Maximinos to similarly decorate his house in the city of Antioch [on the Orontes]. Leontios worked there with many others on scaffolding at a great height. One day, the scaffolding fell down with all the workmen. Among them, only Leontios survived, but his leg was so badly shattered, that there seemed to be no hope for him. It seriously worried Maximinos, who had Leontios in a great esteem, not only for his skills, but also because he was noble, talented, and quiet.

With time Leontios' suffering intensified. So he asked Maximinos to let him go to the shrine of Thekla [in Seleucia]. Maximinos allowed it, although with a smirk, since he was then an unbeliever. Thus, Leontios came to the shrine, carried on by others. On the third day of his visit, before dawn, his leg was healed, regained its strength and the broken bone was put back together.

He returned to Antioch walking unhindered, and hurried at a run, straight to Maximinos. When the latter saw him, was astonished not only at the marvel, but also at the speed [with which it was accomplished] and became a Christian. This was exactly what the martyr intended to do: to remind him of his smirk and lead him to Christ.

Εἰργάσατο μέντοι γε τὸ θαῦμα ἡ μάρτυς οὕτως, οὐ γὰρ δίκαιον τὸν τῆς θεραπείας σιωπηθῆναι τρόπον ἔχοντά τι καὶ χαρίεν· ἐκάθευδε μὲν γὰρ ὁ Λεόντιος οὗτος ἐν τῷ νεῴ, νυκτός τε οὔσης καὶ κακῶς ἔχων ὡς μηδὲ ἀσκολιάζων βαδίζειν, φοιτήσασα δὲ ἡ μάρτυς εἶπε μὲν οὐδὲν οὐδὲ ἐνέφηνε, πατεῖ δὲ τῷ οἰκείῳ ποδὶ τὸν ἐκείνου πόδα τὸν πεπονθότα, καὶ μάλα ἰσχυρῶς, ὡς τὸν Λεόντιον ἄγαν περιαλγήσαντα ἀναπηδῆσαί τε ἀθρόον καὶ στῆναι, καὶ τότε πρῶτον βαδίσαι τε καὶ δραμεῖν, καὶ οὕτως ἀπαλλαγῆναι τοῦ πάθους εὐπετῶς, ὡς καὶ παραυτίκα τῆς ἐπὶ τὴν Ἀντιόχειαν ἅψασθαι πορείας, πολλὰ ἐρρῶσθαι φράσαντα τῇ τε θαλάσσῃ, ταῖς ναυσὶ καὶ τοῖς κύμασιν.

'The martyr accomplished the miracle in the following way, for it is not right to remain silent about the mode of healing when it is so charming: Leontios was sleeping in the church [at the martyr's shrine], it was night, and he was upset that he could not walk unhindered. The martyr visited him, though she said nothing, nor was she visible, but she stepped with her own foot onto Leontios' injured leg, and she did this with vigor. Accordingly, Leontios felt great pain and jumped to his feet and stood up, and was from the start able to walk and run and was so easily healed of his injury that he immediately took up the overland route to Antioch, bidding a hearty farewell to the sea, to its ships and waves.'

Text: Dagron 1978. Translation: Johnson 2012. Summary: J. Doroszewska.

History

Evidence ID

E05573

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 - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of an individual

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miracles causing conversion

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Aristocrats Merchants and artisans

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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