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E05769: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092), at her shrine at Seleucia, reinstated beauty to a woman, making her attractive again to her husband. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

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posted on 19.06.2018, 00:00 by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 42

Κἀκείνου δὲ μνημονευτέον, οὗ καὶ μόλις πως μνήμην ἔλαβον. Καλλίστη τις ἦν μὲν εὐγενὲς καὶ σεμνὸν γύναιον, συνῴκει δὲ ἀνδρὶ οὐ μάλα σώφρονι, ἀλλὰ καὶ λίαν ἐπτοημένῳ περὶ τὰς δημώδεις ταύτας ἡδονάς, καὶ οὔτε τῇ κατὰ νόμον ἀρκουμένῳ μίξει, καὶ ταύταις ἀπλήστως κεχρημένῳ. Ταύτης οὖν τῆς Καλλίστης ἕν τι τῶν ἐπὶ σκηνῆς γυναίων, ὃ καὶ αὐτῷ τούτῳ συνεφθείρετο, λωβᾶται δηλητηρίοις φαρμάκοις τὴν μορφήν, χαρίεν δὲ ᾔσχυνε πρόσωπον, ὡς ἂν ἡ μὲν μηκέτι πρὸς ἡδονῆς εἴη τῷ ἀνδρί, αὕτη δὲ τὸ ἐκείνης ποιοῖ, καὶ συγκαθεύδοι τῷ μὴ προσήκοντι. Πεπονθυῖα δὲ τοῦτο καὶ διαζευχθεῖσα τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἡ Καλλίστη, τοῦ τῆς ὄψεως αἴσχους ἑτοίμως πρὸς μῖσος ἐνάγοντος τὸν Παπίαν—τοῦτο γὰρ ἦν ὄνομα τῷ ἀνδρί—, καταφεύγει πρὸς τὴν μάρτυρα, τήν τε αὐτῆς δυστυχίαν τήν τε τῆς ἑταίρας διηγουμένη κακουργίαν, καὶ δεομένη τυχεῖν τινος θεραπείας, ὥστε καὶ τὴν τῆς μορφῆς ἀπολαβεῖν εὐπρέπειαν καὶ τὴν τοῦ ἀνδρὸς εὔνοιαν.

Ἀκούει τούτων ἡ μάρτυς, καὶ σφόδρα ἐπικαμφθεῖσα τῷ πάθει—καὶ γὰρ ὀχετοὺς δακρύων ἐπηφίει τοῖς λόγοις τὸ γύναιον, οὐδὲν δὲ οὕτως εὐχῆς καρύκευμα κάλλιστόν ἐστιν ὡς δάκρυον δαψιλές, ἐξ αὐτοῦ τοῦ τῆς ψυχῆς βάθους ὑπερχεόμενον—, σημαίνει καὶ προστάττει τὴν θεραπείαν εὐθύς· «Λαβοῦσα γάρ, φησί, ῥύμματα ταυτὶ δή, τὰ πρὸ τοῦ ναοῦ τούτου πωλούμενα, καὶ ἀναδεύσασα οἴνῳ, τούτῳ τὴν ὄψιν ἀποκλύσαι, καὶ τὸ αἶσχος εὐθὺς ἀπονίψεις.» Ὃ δὴ καὶ παραχρῆμα ποιήσασα ἡ Καλλίστη, παραχρῆμα καὶ τὴν οἰκείαν μορφὴν τῆς λώβης καὶ τὸν ἄνδρα τῆς ἑταίρας ἀπήλλαξε, πολὺ χείρονος λώβης. Ἅμα γὰρ τοῖς ῥύμμασι καὶ τὸ ποιοῦν, ὥς φασι, τὸ αἶσχος συνεξέπεσε, καὶ ἦν πάλιν ἡ Καλλίστη καλλίστη τε τὴν μορφὴν καὶ ἀρέσκουσα τῷ ἀνδρί.


'I need to relate the following miracle, which was somewhat difficult for me to recollect. Kalliste was a well born and respected woman, but she lived with a husband who was not very prudent but was greatly distracted by worldly pleasures – not being satisfied with legitimate sexual intercourse – and he was insatiable in his pursuit of these pleasures. A certain woman of the stage, who had committed fornication with this man, spoiled Kalliste's appearance by means of poisonous drugs and disfigured her beautiful face, in the hopes that Kalliste would no longer be attractive to her husband and that she herself might become his wife and might share the bed of someone inappropriate for her. Kalliste, after suffering this injury and separating from her husband – since the shame of her appearance was enough to compel Papias (the man's name) to hate her – sought refuge with the martyr, narrating her misfortune and the villainy of the prostitute. She asked to receive some remedy, so that she might recover the beauty of her appearance and her husband's good will.

The martyr heard her request and was greatly moved by her suffering – for the woman added buckets of tears to her words, and there is no finer garnish for a prayer than an abundance of tears, which are shed from the very depth of the soul. Thekla showed and prescribed the remedy straight away: "Take this soap," she said, "the kind that is sold in front of my church, and soak it in wine, then wash your face with it, and you will immediately cleanse away the shameful disfigurement." Kalliste did this straight away, and immediately freed her original appearance from its disfigurement and delivered her husband from the prostitute, a much worse abomination. For, together with the soap, that which caused the shameful disfigurement, as they say, was also washed away. And once again Kalliste was "very beautiful" in her appearance and pleasing to her husband.'

Text: Dagron 1978. Translation: Johnson 2012.

History

Evidence ID

E05769

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

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities Fertility- and family-related miracles (infertility, marriages)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women The socially marginal (beggars, prostitutes, thieves)

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - other

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

'and once agian Kalliste was "very beautiful" ' - in Greek 'Kalliste' means 'very beautiful'. The location of the story is not mentioned but very probably it was in Seleucia ad Calycadnum.

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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