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E04494: Evagrius Scholasticus in his Ecclesiastical History reports that the emperor Zeno (r. 474-475, and 476-491) had a vision of *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) in 475/6, and built a magnificent shrine for her at Seleucia (southern Asia Minor) after regaining the imperial throne from the usurper Basiliscus. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria), 593/594.

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posted on 2017-12-19, 00:00 authored by erizos
Evagrius Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 3.8

8. Ζήνων δὲ παροτρύνουσαν ὥς φασι θεασάμενος τὴν ἁγίαν καὶ πολύαθλον πρωτομάρτυρα Θέκλαν καὶ τὴν τῆς βασιλείας ἀποκατάστασιν ὑπισχνουμένην, ἐπὶ τὸ Βυζάντιον στρατεύει δώροις τοὺς πολιορκοῦντας ὑπελθών, καὶ δεύτερον ἔτος τῆς ἀρχῆς κρατήσαντα τὸν Βασιλίσκον ἐξωθεῖται, ἁγίοις τε προσπελάσαντα σηκοῖς τοῖς ἐχθροῖς ἐκδίδωσιν. Οὗτος ὁ Ζήνων μέγιστον τέμενος ἐξοχῇ τε καὶ κάλλει προὖχον ἀνατέθεικε τῇ πρωτομάρτυρι Θέκλῃ ἀνὰ τὴν Σελευκέων τὴν πρὸς τῇ Ἰσαύρων χώρᾳ κειμένην, πλείστοις καὶ βασιλικοῖς ἀναθήμασι διακοσμήσας, τοῖς καὶ μέχρις ἡμῶν σωζομένοις.

‘8. Now Zeno, having seen, as they say, the holy and multiply victorious protomartyr Thekla encouraging and promising him his restoration to the imperial throne, marched on Constantinople and, overcoming with gifts those who attempted to blockade him, he ousted Basiliscus after a reign of two years; even though he had sought sanctuary at a holy church, he handed him over to his enemies. This Zeno dedicated an enormous sanctuary of outstanding grandeur and beauty to the protomartyr Thekla at the city of Seleucia which lies by the country of the Isaurians. He adorned it with plentiful regal dedications which are preserved down to our time.’

Text: Bidez, Parmentier 2011.
Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Thekla, follower of the Apostle Paul : S00092

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

Evagrius Scholasticus

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of an individual

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miraculous interventions in war

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family


Evagrius was born in about 535 in the Syrian city of Epiphania. Educated at Antioch and Constantinople, he pursued a career as a lawyer at Antioch, serving as a legal advisor to Patriarch Gregory (570-592). He wrote the Ecclesiastical History in 593/4, with the express purpose of covering the period following the coverage of the mid 5th century ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret. His narrative starts with Nestorius and the Council of Ephesus (431) and stops with the death of Evagrius’ patron, Gregory of Antioch, in 592. The work offers a balanced mixture of ecclesiastical and secular events in the East Roman Empire, being best informed about Antioch and Syria. Evagrius also published a dossier of original documents from the archive of Patriarch Gregory of Antioch, which has not survived.


Text and French translation: Bidez, J., and Parmentier, L., Evagre le Scholastique, Histoire ecclésiastique (Sources Chrétiennes 542, 566; Paris, 2011, 2014), with commentary by L. Angliviel de la Beaumelle, and G. Sabbah, and French translation by A.-J.Festugière, B. Grillet, and G. Sabbah. Other translations: Whitby, M., The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius Scholasticus (Translated Texts for Historians 33; Liverpool, 2000). Hübner, A., Evagrius Scholasticus, Historia ecclesiastica = Kirchengeschichte (Fontes Christiani 57; Turnhout, 2007). Carcione, F., Evagrio di Epifania, Storia ecclesiastica (Roma, 1998). Further Reading: Allen, P., Evagrius Scholasticus, the Church Historian (Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, Etudes et Documents 41; Leuven, 1981). Dagron, G. (ed.), Vie et miracles de Sainte Thècle: Texte grec, traduction et commentaire (Subsidia Hagiographica 62; Bruxelles, 1978), 54-59. Hellenkemper, H., “Die Kirchenstiftung des Kaisers Zenon im Wallfahrtsheiligtum der heiligen Thekla bei Seleukeia,” Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 47 (1986), 63–90. Hellenkemper, H., and Hild, F., Kilikien und Isaurien (Tabula Imperii Byzantini 5; Vienna, 1990). Herzfeld, E., and Guyer, S., Meriamlik und Korykos: zwei christliche Ruinenstätten des rauhen Kilikiens (MAMA 2; Manchester, 1930). Treadgold, W., The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke, 2006), 299-308.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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