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E05648: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) punished with death Marianos, bishop of Tarsus in Cilicia, the hometown of *Paul (the Apostle, S00008) for preventing the Tarsians from coming to her festival at Seleucia. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

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posted on 05.06.2018, 00:00 by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 29

There was a certain Marianos, who was at that time bishop of Tarsus in Cilicia. This city took pride in being beautiful and prosperous, but most of all, in being the hometown of the Apostle Paul.

Marianos was a man of a reckless and impulsive nature; it happened that he was at odd with Dexianos, bishop of the neighbouring city of Seleucia, where the church of Thekla was located. Dexianos was very powerful, so Marianos, much weaker in every aspect, could not avenge himself other than through offensive behaviour toward the martyr.

The time of the festival of the virgin came and all the people, specially Cilicians were hastening to Seleucia to take part in celebrations. But Marianos, standing up in his church, forbade and prevented everyone from going to Seleucia and honouring the martyr in her shrine. This was his revenge against Dexianos: to remove the customary presence of the Tarsians at the festival. But in only five or six days he was severely punished for his mindless behaviour in the following way.

Κάστωρ τις, ἀνὴρ βέλτιος, ἐκ μὲν τῆς Λυκαονίας τὸ γένος ἕλκων, τὴν δὲ Σελεύκειαν ταύτην οἰκῶν, καὶ τὴν ἐπάρχοις ὑπηρετουμένην διέπων στρατείαν, οὗτος κατ’ αὐτὴν τὴν τῆς πανηγύρεως νυκτεγερσίαν ὄψιν ὁρᾷ τοιαύτην· τὴν παρθένον αὐτὴν μετὰ ἀγριωτέρου καὶ σχήματος καὶ βλέμματος καὶ βαδίσματος ἀνὰ τὴν πόλιν ἅπασαν περιθέουσαν, καὶ τὰς χεῖρας συχνότερον ἀποκροτοῦσαν, καὶ τὸν Μαριανὸν καὶ τὴν ὕβριν ἀναβοῶσαν, καὶ τὸ ἤδη λήψεσθαι δίκην ἐπαπειλοῦσαν. Τὸ δὲ ἦν ὕπαρ λοιπόν, οὐκ ὄναρ ἔτι. Τῇ γὰρ ὄψει ταύτῃ εὐθὺς καὶ ὁ ἐκείνου θάνατος ἐπηκολούθησεν· ὡς συμβῆναι κατὰ ταὐτὸν ἄμφω, καὶ τὸν Κάστορα διηγεῖσθαι τὴν ὄψιν, καί τινας ἑτέρους τὸν Μαριανοῦ θάνατον ἀπαγγέλλειν· ὡς καὶ πᾶσιν ἅμα πολλὴν ἐγγενέσθαι φρίκην, καὶ οὐχ οὕτως ἀπὸ τοῦ πράγματος, ὅσον ἀπὸ τοῦ τάχους.

'A certain Kastor, an excellent man and native of Lykaonia, though a resident of our Seleucia, served as a functionary in the provincial administration. This man, during the night vigil of the festival, saw the following vision: the virgin herself, with a savage appearance, gaze, and gait, was running around the whole city and clapping her hands together repeatedly, while denouncing Marianos and his hubris and threatening that he would soon pay the penalty. This was a waking vision, and not really a dream. For this man's [i.e., Marianos'] death followed immediately upon the vision, so that both events happened as one: Kastor recounting the vision, and some others announcing Marianos' death. Everyone experienced great shock as a result, not so much from Marianos' fate, as from the speed with which it occurred.'

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

History

Evidence ID

E05648

Saint Name

Thekla, follower of the Apostle Paul : S00092 Paul, the Apostle : S00008

Saint Name in Source

Θέκλα Παῦλος

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 - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

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 Punishing miracle Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Crowds

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

Lykaonia was a region of Asia Minor to the north of Isauria. One of its major cities was Ikonion, Thekla's hometown. Kastor was a provincial administrator: eparchikos = praefectianus (Dagron 1978: 369, n. 3).

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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