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E05791: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) exposed a virgin who lived by her church at Seleucia and who stole golden trinkets from another woman. 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 CSLA Admin
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 43

Μήτε δὲ τοῦ ἑτέρου γυναίου ἀμνημονήσωμεν, εἰ καὶ πενιχρὸν καὶ εὐτελὲς τὸ γύναιον. Βασσιανὴ γάρ τις πρὸς τοὺς οἰκείους αὐτῆς διενεχθεῖσά ποτε, καὶ μικρά τινα τῶν οἰκείων αὐτῆς χρυσιδίων ὑφελομένη, καὶ οἷα ἂν χερνήτιδι γένοιτο γυναικί—ταῦτα δὲ ἦν δακτύλιοι καὶ περιδέραια μικρά—, καταλαμβάνει τὸν νεὼν καὶ αὐτόθι διέτριβεν, ὡς δι’ ὀργῆς ἔχουσα τοὺς οἰκείους. Συνήθης δέ τις αὐτῇ καὶ τῶν περὶ τὸν χρόνον ἐκεῖνον παρθένος, οὐ πολύν τινα ποιουμένη λόγον τῆς παρθένοις πρεπούσης ἀκριβείας ἢ εὐλαβείας, εὑροῦσα καθεύδουσαν ἢ ἀποῦσαν τὴν Βασσιανήν, ὑφελομένη τὰ χρυσίδια ἄπεισι.

Διαναστᾶσα δὲ ἡ γυνή, καὶ μηκέτι ἅπερ ἄρτι εἶχεν εὑροῦσα, καταβοᾶν ἄρχεται καὶ κατοδύρεσθαι τῆς μάρτυρος, ὡς ἂν αὐτῆς πιστευθείσης μὲν ταῦτα φυλάττειν, ἀπολωλεκυίας δὲ ἢ ἀρνουμένης. Ἡ δὲ μάρτυς καὶ ταύτην ἐλεήσασα, καὶ τὴν παρθένον τῆς ἀταξίας μισήσασα, ποιεῖ δήλην αὐτῆς τὴν κλοπήν, τούτῳ μάλιστα κολάζουσα, τῷ ποιῆσαι κατάδηλον τῇ τε ἀπολωλεκυίᾳ καὶ τοῖς ἀμφὶ τὸν νεὼν πᾶσιν, ὡς ἐκείνην σαφῶς διελεγχθεῖσαν ἀποδοῦναί τε τῇ Βασσιανῇ τὰ χρυσίδια, καὶ τοῦ λοιποῦ σωφρονισθεῖσαν οὕτω βιῶναι, ὡς καὶ τὸ πταῖσμα συσκιασθῆναι καὶ τὴν τῆς μάρτυρος εὔνοιαν αὖθις ἀνακτήσασθαι.


'I should not fail to mention another woman, even if she is poor and of low status. Once, a certain Bassiane got into a quarrel with some of her relatives, and, taking a few of her own gold trinkets, such as might belong to a wool spinner (just a few small rings and necklaces), she went to the church and stayed there, harbouring her anger toward her relatives. While there she became friendly with one of the virgins who lived there at the time and did not give much importance to the scruples and pious behaviour befitting virgins. This woman, finding Bassiane either asleep or away, stole her gold trinkets and disappeared.

Upon waking up, Bassiane could no longer find these items which had previously been in her possession. She began to cry aloud and complain to the martyr: namely, that she had entrusted the martyr with guarding the items, but she had either lost them or shirked her duty. The martyr, out of pity for Bassiane and out of hatred for the virgin's wicked conduct, brought the latter's theft to light, punishing her in this way: she revealed the theft to its victim as well as to everyone in and around the church. Thus the thief was publicly exposed and returned the golden trinkets to Bassiane, and thereafter she lived in a restrained manner. The result was that the virgin's offense was glossed over and she regained the goodwill of the martyr.'

Text: Dagron 1978. Translation: Johnson 2012.

History

Evidence ID

E05791

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 Finding of lost objects, animals, etc.

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women

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 church that Bassiane went to was probably the one of Thekla 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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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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