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E05574: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) healed the broken legs of two women, one Christian and one pagan (though hesitating between Judaism and Christianity); the cure caused the latter's conversion to Christianity. 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, 18

The same miracle was accomplished for two different women. One of them was called Aba, from Seleucia [ad Calycadnum] and of a noble and illustrious family. The other one, by the name of Tigriane, was from Tarsus, and also from an illustrious family; she was a Christian.

Tigriane, coming from Tarsus, rushed to the shrine of Thekla. On her way there, she fell from her mule and broke her leg. So she cried out against the martyr and said she suffered on her account. But the following night she obtained a miracle. The martyr visited her and, instead of instructing her to do anything or use a medicine, she simply ordered her to rise up from her bed and walk to the shrine. The woman did this and realised with amazement that her leg had been healed. She thus hastened to the shrine, not on the mule, but walking on her own feet with praises, prayers and hymns. She was happy that the miracle proved not to be just a dream but a vision.

The other woman, Aba, was still a pagan, but she was vacillating between Judaism and Christianity. She likewise fell from a mule and broke her leg, but even more seriously than the other woman, since in her case the broken bone split the flesh covering her leg and was sticking out. She suffered for a long time and there was no remedy to cure her, neither from the Jews, nor from the pagans, not even from Sarpedonian Apollo. Thus, whether on the advice of another or at her own initiative, the woman had herself transferred to the church of Thekla. There, she invoked the martyr with tears and lamentations. And less than three days afterwards she also was cured and could stand and walk on her own feet, and she returned to her home.

Ποῖον δὲ καὶ τὸ τῆς θεραπείας φάρμακον; Πάντως ὅτιπερ βούλεσθε καὶ τοῦτο μαθεῖν. Οὐ πολυτελές, οὔτε περίεργον, οὔτε τῆς τῶν ἀσκληπιαδῶν ἀλαζονείας κόμψευμα. «Τὸν γὰρ ῥύπον, φησὶν ἡ μάρτυς, τῶν περικειμένων τῷ ἐμῷ θαλάμῳ κιγκλίδων τούτων περιξέσασα, τῷ πεπονθότι μέρει τοῦ ποδὸς ἔμπλασον, καὶ παύσεις μὲν παραχρῆμα τὸ πάθος, χρήσῃ δὲ τοῖς ποσὶ πρὸς ὃ κεχρῆσθαι δεῖ τοῖς ποσί.» Καὶ ἡ μὲν εἶπεν, ἡ δὲ ἔπραξε, καὶ τὸ θαῦμά γε μέχρι τοῦ παρόντος βοᾶται παρά τε ἐκείνης ἔτι καὶ τῶν ἐκείνην θεασαμένων βαδίζουσαν, θέουσαν, ἐνεργοῦσαν τῷ ποδί, τὸ δὴ μεῖζον καὶ χριστιανὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ τοιούτου γεγονυῖαν θαύματος, καὶ χριστιανὴν οἵαν εἰκὸς ἐκ πείρας γενέσθαι τοιαύτης. Ἡ γὰρ τοῦ ποδὸς θεραπεία καὶ αὐτὴν τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς συνεβλάστησε θεραπείαν· καὶ οὕτως ἀμφότερα ἐξ ἑνὸς ὑπῆρξε τοῦ θαύματος.

'What was the medicine prescribed for the treatment? Surely you want to know this too! Nothing expensive or complicated, nothing ingenious of which the Asklepiades [i.e. physicians] boast: "Scrape up," says the martyr, " the filth (rhypon) lying at the gates of my chamber and plaster it on the injured part of your leg, and immediately you will stop the suffering, and you will use your feet for the purpose for which they are intended." Thekla said this, and Aba did it, and the miracle is still proclaimed up to our own day by this woman and by those who have seen her walking, running, and using her leg. Even more important is the fact that she became a Christian as a result of this miracle, and a Christian such as it is natural to become after such an experience. For the healing of the leg produced a concomitant healing of the soul: both healings thus resulting from a single miracle.'

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

History

Evidence ID

E05574

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 a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

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

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Pagans

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - dust/sand/earth

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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