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E05717: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) punished with death a council member for an attempt to appropriate his deceased colleague's profits. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

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posted on 13.06.2018, 00:00 by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 35

There were two council members, Pappos and Aulerios, who both were responsible for the expenditure for grain for military purposes. It happened that when Aulerios died, Pappos started to plot against Aulerios' children, that is to appropriate for himself the profit which he in fact should share with his colleague, and to leave only debts for the former's children.

Τί οὖν ἡ μάρτυς, ἡ μηδέποτε μηδὲ τῶν ὑπερορίων ἀφροντιστοῦσα, ὁμοίως δὲ κηδομένη πάντων τῶν πονούντων καὶ ἀδικουμένων; Σπεύδει καὶ ἐπικαταλαμβάνει τὴν τοῦ ἠδικηκότος καὶ πόλιν καὶ ἑστίαν, καὶ κακὸν ὄναρ—ὥς πού φησιν Ὅμηρος—κεφαλῇφιν ἐπέστη· «Τίς γάρ, φησίν, ὦ βέλτιστε, ὁ τοσοῦτός σοι πρὸς τοὺς ὀρφανοὺς πόλεμος; τίς δὲ ἡ οὕτως ἀναιδής σου κατὰ τῶν ὀρφανῶν συκοφαντία; τί δέ σε τοσοῦτον ἡ ἀπληστία κατέφλεξεν, ὡς ὁμοῦ πάντα παριδεῖν, καὶ Θεὸν καὶ πίστιν καὶ τὸ πρὸς ἀλλήλους συνειδός, ἵνα δὴ παντελῶς ὀλίγα κερδάνῃς, ἅπερ οὔτε τὸν σὸν οἶκον αὐξήσει, καὶ τὸν ἐκείνων βλάψει; Πάντως τοιγαροῦν ἴσθι, φησίν, ὡς ὁ παρὰ σοὶ τεθνηκὼς Αὐλέριος καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἀδικούμενος, τῷ πάντων βασιλεῖ προσελήλυθε τῷ Χριστῷ κατὰ σοῦ, καὶ ἡ κατὰ σοῦ ψῆφος ἤδη θανατηφόρος ἐξενήνεκται, καὶ μέλλεις ὅσον οὐδέπω ἐπικαταλήψεσθαί τε ἐκεῖνον καὶ αὐτόθι τὰς τοῦ κοινοῦ λόγου δώσειν εὐθύνας. Τεθνήξει δὲ τῆς δευτέρας ἑβδομάδος κατὰ τὴν αὐτὴν ταύτην πάντως ἡμέραν.»

'What, then, did the martyr do, she who never ceases to assist even those beyond her borders, with equal concern for all who are hard-pressed and suffer injustice. She rushed to the city and the very house of the one who had committed this misdeed, and a bad dream stood by his head, as Homer might say. "My good man," she said, "what is this great battle you are waging against the orphans? What is this shameless greedy plot of yours against the orphans? What is this immense avarice that consumes you, that you would disregard all things alike - God, good faith, a conscience toward others - in order that you might ultimately profit only a little, bringing no increase to your own household, while inflicting harm on the household of those orphans? Know this well", she said, "that your deceased colleague, Aulerios, who has been wronged by this, has presented himself before Christ the King of all to make a petition against you, and the sentence of death has already been pronounced against you, and you will join him without delay and there you will have to give an account of your common administration. You will die next week on this very same day."'

Having said this, Thekla flew away, and Pappos woke up trembling with fear, his head was shaking, he lost his sight, his tongue was paralyzed and heart pounding, and he was unable to stand on his feet. He lived long enough to confess his misdeed. But it did not improve his situation, since he did it not willingly, but of necessity. The prophecy was fulfilled, since he died on the appointed day when it was dawning, and the entire city learned about the fate that accompanied such an injustice.

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

History

Evidence ID

E05717

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

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

Children Officials

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

The office held by Pappos and Aulerios was called in Greek sitonia. 'she who never ceases to assist even those beyond her borders' – it seems the episode is not set in Seleucia, but in some unspecified city. 'a bad dream stood by his head, as Homer might say' – Iliad 10.496.

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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