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E05397: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) saved the city of Iconium (central Asia Minor) from an enemy attack, by causing many to be killed or captured in battle. Next the author will talk of miracles to individuals, starting with those to people of high rank. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

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posted on 2018-05-03, 00:00 authored by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 6

Ἀλλ’ οὐ περὶ ταύτην μὲν ἡ παρθένος τοιαύτη γεγένηται, ὡς ἂν καὶ πρόμαχος αὐτῆς καὶ πολιοῦχος καὶ μήτηρ καὶ διδάσκαλος, ὀλίγωρος δὲ περὶ τὰς ἄλλας ἐστὶ τῶν πόλεων, ἥ γε καὶ τὸ Ἰκόνιον, τὴν οὕτως εἰς αὐτὴν ἐξυβρίσασαν πόλιν καὶ τὸ κακῶν ἔσχατον πῦρ κατ’ αὐτῆς ἀναψαμένην, ἐπὶ ὁμοίοις κινδύνοις γεγονυῖαν διέσωσε, δραμοῦσά τε ἐντεῦθεν καὶ κατὰ χεῖρα συμπλακεῖσα τοῖς ἐπελθοῦσι τῶν πολεμίων καὶ ἀναιροῦσα καὶ παίουσα καὶ κονιορτῷ
τὰς ὄψεις καταπάττουσα, ὥστε πᾶν τὸ ἐν ποσὶν ἠχλυῶσθαί τε καὶ ζόφου πεπληρῶσθαι, ὃ πολλοὺς μὲν ἀναιρεθῆναι παρεσκεύασε, πολλῷ δ’ αὖ πλείους καὶ ἁλῶναι, πάντας δὲ ὑφ’ ἑνὶ γενέσθαι καὶ κινδύνῳ καὶ ὀλέθρῳ, ὡς μηδ’ ἄγγελον ἀπονέεσθαι, ἔφη τις ἂν ὁμηρίζων.

'One cannot claim, however, that the virgin [Thekla] has become such a defender, protector, mother and teacher for our city [Seleucia ad Calycadnum in Asia Minor], but holds little regard for other cities. She even saved Ikonion [in Asia Minor, modern Konya in Turkey], which had fallen into similar dangers, although this is the city that had so mistreated her and even, as the worst of its misdeeds, lit a fire under her. Rushing from here, she seized the attacking enemies in her hands, killed them, smote them, and sprinkled their eyes with dust, so that everything at their feet was obscured and filled with darkness. This darkness allowed the destruction of many, and the capture of many more, and all of them suffered a single danger and calamity, to the degree that not even a messenger could get away, as one might say with Homer.'

Then the narrator explains that he mentioned first the miracles which are most celebrated and which affected entire cities, and announces that he will now proceed to miracles which happened at various times to individual men and women, starting with those that happened to the more honourable amongst people, of whom the very top rank is that of bishops and priests. He also says that the beneficiaries of the miracles considered these the most important and the only good things in their lives.

καὶ μάλιστα τοὺς ἐν τοῖς βασιλείοις διαλάμψαντας, ἐν ᾧ πιστεύουσιν ἐνδοξότεροι δι’ αὐτῆς γεγενῆσθαι. καὶ τοὺς νῦν
δὲ καὶ τοὺς μετέπειτα ζημιώσομεν, εἰ ἀγνοίᾳ τῶν προλαβόντων περί τινας ἀγαθῶν ἀργότεροι φανεῖεν αὐτοὶ περὶ τὰς ὁμοίας αἰτήσεις.

'This is true especially for those who distinguished themselves at the palace, inasmuch as they believe their esteemed positions have come to them through Thekla). And we would cause harm to those living now and those to come, if through ignorance of those benefits received by some they might show themselves more negligent in asking for similar benefits.'

Text: Dagron 1978. Translation: Johnson 2012. Summary: J. Doroszewska.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Thekla, follower of the Apostle Paul : S00092

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not after


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

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies Unspecified miracle Miraculous interventions in war

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Officials


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.


The statement that 'although this is the city that had so mistreated her and even, as the worst of its misdeeds, lit a fire under her' refers to the events described in the first part ofThe Life and Miracles of Thekla (chs. 12-14) when the martyr was sentenced to death on a pyre in her native city of Iconium for following the Apostle Paul teachings and refusing to get married to a man whom she was betrothed to. Yet she was miraculously delivered from fire and left the city with Paul.


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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