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E05879: An anonymous author compiles the Miracles of Saint Thekla, a collection of miracle stories ascribed to *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092), whose cult was centred in her church at Seleucia ad Calycadnum, Isauria (southern Asia Minor). Written in Greek at Seleucia in the 470s. Overview entry

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posted on 25.06.2018, 00:00 by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla

Contents:

Preface: The author recounts how he collected the miracle stories of Thekla in his compilation from 'reputable men and women', naming them so that the reader does not doubt the truth of what is written. Then, in a long and learned digression, he explores the claim that the pagan gods too could provide oracular truths and cure diseases. Ignoring their supposed cures, the author explores the validity of pagan oracles, particularly that of Apollo at Delphi, accepting that they can predict the future, but only in a confused and confusing way. Christian saints, by contrast, prophesying through the grace of Christ, offer clear and simple truth and are also able to help us in many other ways. Of these saints, Thekla is the greatest witness, helping the righteous and punishing the wicked.

1-3. Thekla comes to Seleucia and silences the oracle of Apollo located at the mountain peak there. She imposes the rule of Christ on Mount Kokysion, near Seleucia, which up to that moment was venerated as a holy place of Athena Kanetis. She expels the pagan deity Aphrodite from the city of Seleucia and arms the bishop Dexianos against her: E05838.

4. Thekla overpowers Zeus, drives him from Seleucia, and makes his temple into a shrine of the Apostle Paul. The author also mentions the veneration of Paul at Tarsus and Thekla at Seleucia by the citizens of both cities, explains how the saints can help us on earth, and enumerates the many types of miracle that Thekla can bring about: E05371.

5. Thekla rescues the city of Seleucia from an attack of bandits by appearing atop the walls and rousing the inhabitants to the ramparts: E05396.

6. Thekla saves her native city of Iconium (central Asia Minor) from an enemy attack, by causing many to be killed or captured in battle: E05397.

7. Thekla saves Dexianos, bishop of Seleucia, from a demon who attacked him. She appears at night to Dexianos and commands him to use perfumed oil from her sanctuary. He anoints himself with it and is delivered from his suffering in three days: E05398.

8. Thekla heals Dexianos, bishop of Seleucia, after he had been thrown by a horse. She is praised for recommending not expensive and rare prescriptions, but cheap and readily available ones: E05423.

9. Thekla twice miraculously saves Menodoros, the bishop of Aigai in Cilicia: from the intrigue of an imperial eunuch, Eutropios; and from a fire in Constantinople, after which a church is perhaps dedicated to Thekla in the capital: E05424.

10. Thekla does not allow an Arian bishop Symposios to remove an inscription proclaiming the consubstantiality of the Holy Trinity from the wall of her shrine in Seleucia ad Calycadnum, which causes his conversion from the heresy. We also learn that Thekla's power of performing miracles reaches every place on earth, on behalf of people calling out to her before their local martyrs: E05479.

11. Thekla heals a certain Aurelios from scrofula: E05495.

12. Thekla heals the author from a disease called anthrax, and, later on, she takes releases him from the excommunication imposed on him by Basil, bishop of Seleucia: E05497.

13. Thekla protects and supports the general Satornilos/Saturninus, helping him to win a battle in the diocese of Oriens and warning him about an ambush against him: E05499.

14. Thekla compels a certain Hypsistios to convert to the Christian faith for the sake of his wife's prayers: E05503.

15. Thekla saves a boat with two boys on board who came to the shore in Seleucia with others to take part in the festival of the martyr. She grabs the rudder, takes control over the boat, and quietens the storm on the sea: E05516.

16. Thekla protects and guards a certain soldier Ambrosios against brigands during his travel on a road between Cilicia and Cappadocia: E05571.

17. Thekla heals the broken leg of an artisan Leontios. This miracle makes a pagan noble Maximinos become a Christian: E05573.

18. Thekla heals broken legs of two women, one Christian, and one hesitant between Judaism and Christianity. The miracle causes the latter's conversion to Christianity: E05574.

19. Thekla delivers a pregnant woman, Bassiane, from sufferings caused by great heat in Seleucia: E05587.

20. Thekla pulls back a certain general Bitianos from consorting with prostitutes and transfers his desire to his own wife: E05588.

21. Thekla reveals a thief and his cache to the owners of the precious objects which were stolen by him: E05598.

22. Thekla exposes a thief and reveals where a stolen cross dedicated to her is hidden: E05589

23. Thekla heals a certain Pausikakos from blindness in her martyrion in the so called Myrsineon, located nearby her church in Seleucia: E05599.

24. Thekla restores sight to a little boy who lost it. A crane, one of the birds which cluster at the forecourt of the saint's church, pecks with its beak the eye of the boy and drains it this way of all the haziness obscuring the pupil: E05614.

25. Thekla delivers the entire city of Seleucia from a terrible eye epidemic: E05615.

26. Thekla celebrates her festival in the city of Dalisandos in Asia Minor, during which she performs healing miracles for the sake of those who have assembled there. Likewise, Paul the Apostle appears in the same way in his hometown Tarsus during his festival. Thekla also rescues Dalisandos from sieges, appearing on the nearby peak and dazzling the eyes of the enemies: E05643.

27. Thekla delivers the city of Selinous [Asia Minor] from attacks of the enemies by bidding the inhabitants erect a church dedicated to her on the path leading to the city: E05645.

28. Thekla punishes with death pillagers who robbed treasures from her church in Seleucia: E05646.

29. Thekla punishes with death Marianos, bishop of Tarsus in Cilicia, the hometown of Paul the Apostle, for preventing the Tarsians coming to her festival in Seleucia: E05648.

30. Thekla prevents burial of a certain Hyperechios in her church in Seleucia, since she does not want the smell of burials and tombs to be introduced into it: E05649.

31. Thekla appeares to the author in a vision and encourages him to continue work on writing down her miracles: E05693.

32. Thekla punishes Dexianos, bishop of Seleucia ad Calycadnum and a guardian of her church there, who, for fear of robbers' attack, transferred treasures decorating the church to the city, and she bids him restore them back to the shrine: E05694.

33. Thekla, during her festival in Seleucia, punishes a certain man Orention who dared to pray to her to give him a woman whom he had fallen in love with, and who was actually a demon. The demon destroys him in a terrible way: $E05709.

34. Thekla punishes with death two men who defiled her shrine by drunkenness and attempted to corrupt one of her virgins: E05711.

35. Thekla punishes with death a council member for an attempt to appropriate his deceased colleague's profit and to deprive the orphans of it: E05717.

36. Thekla provides a miraculous spring to heal livestock affected with a mortal sickness in Seleucia: E05718.

37. Thekla heals a certain Cypriot from blindness through a miraculous spring in Seleucia: E05725.

38. Thekla heals a certain Alypios in Seleucia from a grave illness through a miraculous pebble: E05726.

39. Thekla heals a pagan sophist Isokasios from an illness in her church in Aigai in Cilicia: E05763.

40. Thekla heals a pagan sophist Aretarchos from a severe disease of the kidneys in Seleucia:

History

Evidence ID

E05879

Saint Name

Thekla, follower of the Apostle Paul : S00092 Paul, the Apostle : S00008

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 before

300

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

Composing and translating saint-related texts

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.

Continued Description

6'>E05766.41. Thekla heals the author from a severe disease of the ear in Seleucia and she supports his rhetorical power: E05767.42. Thekla reinstates beauty to a woman, making her attractive again to her husband: E05769.43. Thekla exposes one of the virgins in her church in Seleucia in Asia Minor, who stole the golden trinkets of another woman, and makes her return to the path of honesty: E05791.44. Thekla proclaims many men and women whom she trained in asceticism and who live holy lives. Among them there are, for example, Paulos and Samos, who are compared to Elijah, John, and Elisha: E05795.45. Thekla miraculously gives the skill of reading to a pious, but illiterate woman: E05821.46. Thekla strengthens a certain woman's ascetic rigour by spending a night in the same bed with her: E05837.Epilogue. The author begs Thekla to perform yet more miracles for his sake, that is, to make the meagre book by him appear great and marvellous; to relieve him from the rage of the lowborn and boorish bishop Porphyrios against him; to let him once again preach in her church in Seleucia.Text: Dagron 1978. Summary: J. Doroszewska.

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