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E05795: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) proclaimed and inspired many men and women who lived holy lives; among them the Egyptian *Paulos (possibly Paulos the Anchorite, S01654), two bishops of Seleucia, and a number of named male and female ascetics. 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, 44

Summary:

The author says in this chapter that he must stop recounting the miracles performed by Thekla, since they are countless and there will never be any final miracle of hers. The only things he wants to add is that the martyr proclaimed a great number of men who lived at the summit of virtue, and trained many women in asceticism. Among those individuals were, for example, the famous Egyptian Paul who was equal in saintliness of life to Elijah and John; also, there was the celebrated Samos [bishop of Seleucia], equal to Elisha, who lived in the city of Seleucia but spent more time at the church [of Thekla] than those who live at this martyrion; another was Dexianos [also bishop of Seleucia] who, although engaged in public life and political affairs, in terms of virtue was the same as those already mentioned above. There were also Karterios, John, and Philip, who each inhabited his own part of the same monastery, who were rivals in saintliness of life as well. As for John, nothing could compel him to abandon his habits of the highest devotion. Among the women were Marthana, Xenarchis, Dionysia (whom the author describes as 'our own'), Sosanna, Theodule, and many others, who due to the lack of time cannot be listed here. All of them conducted lives according to the rule of God, which were true miracles of Thekla, superior even to the miracles recounted in the previous chapters.

Text: Dagron 1978. Summary: J. Doroszewska.

History

Evidence ID

E05795

Saint Name

Thekla, follower of the Apostle Paul : S00092 Paulos the anchorite, monastic founder : S01654

Saint Name in Source

Θέκλα Παῦλος

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

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Other specified miracle

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

By 'the Egyptian Paul' the author possibly makes an allusion Paul of Thebes who was known as Paul the First Hermit or Paul the Anchorite, and who died c. 341. However, Jerome in his Life of Paul or elsewhere does not say that he was considered a devotee of Thekla (Johnson 2012: 428, n. 148). Samos was an immediate predecessor of Dexianos in the bishopric of Seleucia and was still alive around 383 or 390 (Johnson 2012: 428, n. 148; Dagron 1978: 16-19). Xenarchis' story is recounted in ch. 45 of the Miracles of Thekla (E05821).

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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