File(s) not publicly available

E05767: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) healed him from a severe disease of the ear at Seleucia and supported his rhetoric powers. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

online resource
posted on 18.06.2018, 00:00 by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 41

Οὕτω δὴ φιλόλογός τέ ἐστιν ἡ μάρτυς καὶ χαίρει ταῖς διὰ τῶν λόγων ταύταις εὐφημίαις. Ἐρῶ δέ τι καὶ τῶν ἐμαυτοῦ καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ γεγονότων, ὅπερ αὐτὴ ἡ καὶ παρεσχηκυῖά μοι μάρτυς οἶδεν ὅτι γεγένηται καὶ οὐ ψεύδομαι. Ἦν μὲν γὰρ αὐτῆς ἡ ἐτησία πανήγυρις, παρεσκευασάμην δὲ κἀγὼ πρὸς ἔπαινόν τινα μικρὸν τῆς ἑορτῆς, οὐχ ὥς τι λέξων ἀξιόλογον ἢ ἐπάξιον αὐτῆς, ἀλλ’ ὡς εὔνοιάν τινα παρὰ τῆς μάρτυρος θηρώμενος, ἐπειδὴ καὶ τοὺς μικρὰ τιμῶντας οἶδεν ἀντωφελεῖν τὰ μέγιστα.

Μιᾶς δὲ λειπομένης ἡμέρας εἴς τε τὸ εἰπεῖν καὶ ἐπιδείξασθαι τὸν λόγον, προσβάλλει τί μου πάθος τὴν ἀκοήν, καὶ σφόδρα χαλεπόν τε καὶ ἐπαλγές, ὡς περιτετᾶσθαι μὲν πᾶσαν τὴν ἀκοήν, ἄγρια δὲ σφαδάζειν ἐκ τῶν ἔνδοθεν, συνωθεῖν δὲ καὶ πνεῦμα βίαιον εἰς αὐτὸ τῆς κεφαλῆς τὸ κῦτος, καὶ πολὺν διὰ τοῦτο τὸν ἔνδον ἦχον ἐργάζεσθαι· ὥστε με καὶ τοῦ ἐρεῖν ἀπογνῶναι παντελῶς, καὶ κακοῦ μείζονος ἔχειν προσδοκίαν. Ἤδη δέ πως καὶ ὑπερυθριᾶν ἠρχόμην, ὡς ἐρεῖν μέν τι δόξας τοῖς πολλοῖς, τοῦ δὲ καιροῦ τῆς ἐπιδείξεως ἐνστάντος τὴν τάξιν ἀπολιπών.

Ἃ πάντα ἡ μάρτυς γενέσθαι διεκώλυσεν· ἐφίσταται νύκτωρ καί, λαβομένη μου τοῦ ὠτίου καὶ διασείσασα, εἰς ἰχῶρα βραχὺν τὸν πάντα διέλυσε πόνον. Οὗ καὶ ἀποκυλισθέντος ἐκ τῶν σκολιῶν καὶ ἀδύτων—ὡς εἰπεῖν—πόρων, ὤφθην ἐπὶ τοῦ δεικτηρίου—λέγεται δὲ οὕτως ὁ τόπος ἐν ᾧ ἐπιδείκνυνται οἱ λέγοντες, τουτέστιν ὁ ἄμβων, ἤτοι τὸ ἀκροατήριον—, καὶ γὰρ οὔπω οὔτε τῶν ἐπ’ ἐκκλησίας λεγόντων τις ἦν, καὶ εἶπον μὲν ἄττα, οὕτω δέ μοι τὴν χεῖρα καὶ χάριν συνεπέδωκεν ἡ μάρτυς, ὡς εἶναί τι καὶ δόξαι, καὶ εἰρηκέναι μετρίως, καὶ θαῦμα πλεῖστον ἐπὶ μηδενὶ θαυμαστῷ τῶν ἐμῶν ἀπενέγκασθαι λόγων.

Καὶ τῆς ἱερατικῆς δέ μοι καταξιωθέντι γερουσίας καὶ τοῦ καταλόγου τῶν διδασκάλων καὶ ἱερέων, συμπαρῆν τε ὡς τὰ πολλά, καὶ νύκτωρ ἐπιφαινομένη βιβλίον τί μοι πάντως ἢ χάρτην ὤρεγεν, ὃ πάντως μοι πλείστης εὐδοκιμήσεως σύμβολον ἦν τε καὶ ἐδόκει. Εἰ δὲ μέλλοντί μοι λέγειν τι μὴ ὀφθῇ τοῦτο ποιοῦσα, τό γε ἀποβησόμενον πάλιν εὔδηλον ἦν.


'You see then how fond of oratory the martyr [Thekla] is, and how she enjoys the praise that comes to her through speeches. Now I will tell of a miracle that concerns me and which happened on my behalf. The martyr herself, who provided it for me, knows that it took place and that I do not lie. The time had come for her annual festival, and I was preparing a short address of praise for the celebration, not that I would be able to say anything appropriately eloquent and worthy of her, but rather as one seeking after some goodwill from the martyr, since she knows how to give the greatest rewards even to those who honor her the least.

There was one day left before I was to speak and proclaim my oration, when an extremely painful and acute malady affected my ear. It spread all the way around my ear, and caused a fierce irritation inside the ear, so that a violent pressure was forcing its way into the interior of my skull, and produced a long echo inside my head. As a result I despaired of speaking at all and expected still worse to come [i.e., death]. Already I was beginning to grow embarrassed that, with so many expecting me to speak, I would be abandoning my responsibility just at the appointed time of my oration.

All of this the martyr prevented from happening. During the night she appeared at my side, and, taking my ear, she shook it violently and relieved all my pain through [the evacuation of] a little pus. When the pus was rolled away from the winding, mysterious paths [of my ear] – so to speak – I made my appearance upon the rostrum – as the place is called where orators speak, also called the ambo or the pulpit. I was not yet one of those [priests] who spoke in the church. I spoke a few words, but the martyr offered her helping hand and her grace to such an extent that, first, I seemed to be a man of some reputation; second, I spoke passably well; and, third, I received substantial admiration for my words which had no admirable feature.

Once I was judged worthy to join the college of clergy and the register of teachers and priests, Thekla assisted me constantly. Appearing to me at night she always held out a book or a sheet of parchment, which was and always appeared to be a symbol of her substantial favor toward me. [Since this is her pattern of behaviour,] if ever she fails to appear to me when I am about to speak, the inverse conclusion [i.e., that she is not favorable] is equally clear to me.'

Text: Dagron 1978. Translation: Johnson 2012.

History

Evidence ID

E05767

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 - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Miracles

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

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Ecclesiastics – unspecified

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