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E05763: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) healed a pagan sophist Isokasios from an illness in her church in Aigai in Cilicia. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

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posted on 18.06.2018, 00:00 by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 39

There was a certain grammarian Isokasios. Although he was a non-believer, he received a miracle from the martyr, but remained nonetheless a non-believer.

[Ὁ Ἰσοκάσιος] ἐν Αἰγαῖς ταύταις ταῖς Κιλίκων ἀρρωστήσας ποτέ, εἶτα καὶ ἠρεμίας πολλῆς καὶ βαθείας ὡς ἄρρωστος ἐπιθυμήσας, ἐν τῷ ναῷ τῆς μάρτυρος, μικρὸν ἀπωτέρω τῆς πόλεως ὄντι, κατάγεται, ὡς ἂν ἐκεῖ μάλιστα τούτου τευξόμενος. Ἠρεμίας οὖν πολλῆς τυχών, καὶ μικρὸν καταδαρθών, μετὰ τῆς ἠρεμίας τυγχάνει καὶ σωτηρίας, ἀκούσας τε ἃ δεῖ ποιῆσαι παρὰ τῆς μάρτυρος καὶ ποιήσας, καὶ ἀπαλλαγεὶς τοῦ νοσήματος, ὅτε καὶ τῆς ἀπιστίας προσονειδίσασα αὐτῷ τῆς βοηθείας οὐκ ἐφθόνησεν.

Οὕτω γάρ πως ἡμῖν ὁ θαυμαστὸς Εὐδόκιος ἀπήγγειλε καὶ διηγήσατο, ἀνὴρ καὶ λαμπρὸς καὶ περίσημος καὶ ἀληθείας μηδὲν μᾶλλον πρεσβεύων, Ταρσοὺς δὲ τὴν καλλίστην ταύτην πόλιν οἰκῶν καὶ κοσμῶν.


'One day, he fell ill in Cilician Aigai, and being sick he desired to rest in a very tranquil and quiet place, so he took himself to the church of the martyr, which was a little distance outside the city, hoping that there he might find exactly what he was looking for. Indeed he did find tranquility there, and in short order he fell asleep, and together with the tranquility he also found deliverance from his illness. Once he had heard and accomplished what the martyr said he needed to do, he was delivered from the malady. The martyr did not begrudge her assistance, even though she did castigate him for his unbelief.

This is what the admirable Eudokios reported and told me, a splendid and renowned man who respects nothing as much as the truth, and who is both a citizen an an adornment for the very beautiful city of Tarsus.'

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

History

Evidence ID

E05763

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 before

420

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 - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Pagans

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 sophist Isokasios (PLRE II, 'Isocasius') is also known from his correspondence with Theodoret of Cyrrhus (Kaster 1988: 301-302). This story testifies to the existence of a church dedicated to Thekla in Aigai.

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). Kaster, R., Guardians of Language: The Grammarian and Society in Late Antiquity," (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1988). 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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