File(s) not publicly available

E05711: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) punished with death two men who defiled her shrine at Seleucia by drunkenness and attempted to corrupt one of her virgins. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

online resource
posted on 12.06.2018, 00:00 by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 34

Ἥκοντες γὰρ ἅμα δύο ἐκ ταύτης τῆς πόλεως, καὶ ἅμα πάλιν ἀνελθόντες εἰς τὸν νεών, οὐχ ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς ἀλλ’ ὑπὲρ τρυφῆς, ἅμα πάλιν περιπίπτουσι τῷ κακῷ. Καὶ γὰρ ἀδίκως ποθὲν χρυσίον ἀποκερδάναντες—οἶμαι δὲ καὶ ὡς ἀπὸ τῶν τῷ βασιλεῖ καταβαλλομένων ὑφ’ ὧν καὶ καταβάλλεσθαι νόμος, ἀδικώτερον κατεχρῶντο τῷ κακῷ τούτῳ λήμματι, κραιπαλῶντες, μεθύοντες, πάντα τρόπον κατεξωλευόμενοι, καὶ ταῦτα ὑπὸ μάρτυρι τῇ παρθένῳ.

Καὶ γὰρ ἐν ἑνὶ τῶν αὐτῆς ἠριστοποιοῦντο κήπων οἱ δείλαιοι, καὶ δὴ κάκιστον πέρας τῆς κακίστης εὕραντο τρυφῆς. Καὶ γὰρ ὡς ὑπὸ τῆς ἀμέτρου διεφλέχθησαν οἰνοποσίας, ἤδη καὶ πρὸς ἀνοσιουργίας ἔβλεπον, ὅπερ καὶ τέλος ἐστὶν οἰνοφλυγίας ἀρίδηλον, καὶ δήποτε παρθένον ἔξω τῶν ἱερῶν σηκῶν περιπλανωμένην εὑρόντες—οὕτω καὶ τοῦτο τοῦ δαίμονος ἐπισκευάσαντος, ἵνα καὶ τὸ ἐνδόσιμον ἡ κακὴ λάβῃ βουλή, καὶ τέλος ἡ τιμωρία, καὶ κέντρον ἡ ἁμαρτία—, ἐφέλκονταί τε πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς τὴν παρθένον ταύτην, καὶ ποιοῦνται ὁμοτράπεζον, ἤδη δὲ καὶ ὁμόκοιτον.

Ἔνθα καὶ θαυμάσειεν ἄν τις τὸ συμβεβηκός· αἰσθομένη γὰρ ἡ μάρτυς ὡς ἄρα μία τις τῶν αὐτῆς παρθένων περιβέβληταί που λοιπὸν βρόχοις ἁμαρτίας, καὶ μεταξὺ δύο λύκων ἡ ἀμνὰς συμπεπόδισται, πρὸς ἕτοιμον ἀπωλείας ἑλκομένη βάραθρον, ὡς εἶχε τάχους ἐφίσταται τῷ κήπῳ, καὶ τούτοις ἔτι καθεύδουσι, μηδέπω δὲ μηδὲ ἁψαμένοις τῆς κόρης—τῆς γὰρ μέθης προδουλωσαμένης αὐτοὺς τῷ ὕπνῳ, οὐκ ἔσχε χώραν ἡ ἁμαρτία, ὥστε γενέσθαι καὶ μέθης τι κέρδος τότε—, «Εἰς τί, φησίν, ὦ κάκιστοι, τὴν περιστερὰν τὴν ἐμὴν ἀπελάσαντες τῶν ἐμῶν οἴκων ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν ἀπειλήφατε, καὶ διαφθεῖραι βούλεσθε; ἀλλ’ ἐμοί, φησίν, ὅπως δῶτε δίκας ὑπὲρ οὕτω παρανόμου τολμήματος μελήσει». Καὶ δὴ ταῦτα εἰποῦσα, πρὸς τὸν ἑαυτῆς ἀπῆλθε νεὼν καὶ χῶρον.


'Two men came together [to Seleucia] from that city [Eirenoupolis], and together they went up to the church - not for prayer, but to enjoy themselves – and together they fell into evil ways. They had unjustly obtained a piece of gold from some source or other – I think it came from the taxes paid to the emperor by those who are legally required to pay them. Even more unjustly did they use it for this evil purpose, that is, getting drunk and carousing, and engaging in every kind of debauchery, right under the eyes of the virgin martyr.

These wretched men were eating in one of the gardens when they reached a most immoral conclusion to their immoral debauchery. For while they were inflamed by excessive consumption of wine and were already looking to commit a sacrilege (the manifest goal of intoxication), at some point they came across a virgin wandering outside the holy precincts – just as the demon had arranged, so as to provide an occasion for their immoral plan, a realization of their punishment, and a goad to their sin. The men dragged this virgin off with them and made her share their meal and expected her to share their bed.

One should marvel at what happened next. The martyr perceived that one of her virgins had somehow been snared in a net of sin, that a she-lamb was entangled between two wolves, and that she was being dragged to the pit prepared for her destruction. As speedily as she could Thekla made a visitation to the garden, and to the men who were still sleeping and had not yet in any way touched the girl – for their drunkenness had already made them slaves to sleep, and sin did not have opportunity, so that at least there was some benefit to their intoxication. "Immoral men," she said, "why have you driven my dove away from my dwelling and taken her among you? Do you mean to corrupt her? It will be my duty," she said "to see that you are punished for such a lawless and brazen act." And after speaking these words, she went away to her church and sanctuary.'

The men, frightened by this vision, and stupefied by their terrible deed and by what they had heard from the martyr, immediately sent back the virgin untouched and ran away. They did not know, however, that they were unable to escape. Since not long afterwards they were brought to justice because of the theft of the golden piece that they had spent on drunkenness. They foolishly tried to escape punishment by changing their routes and taking different paths, shortcuts and roads, but they failed to escape the eye of the martyr. The first one died by falling into the river when he was ferried over by a boat to the shore by the city of Seleucia. The other also died, but in a different way. They both perished at the same time and place.

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

History

Evidence ID

E05711

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 Punishing miracle Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Other specified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women The socially marginal (beggars, prostitutes, thieves)

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.

Usage metrics

Categories

Keywords

Licence

Exports