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E05589: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) exposed a thief and found a cross he had stolen, which had been dedicated to her at her shrine at Seleucia. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

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posted on 2018-05-29, 00:00 authored by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 22

This miracle Thekla performed for the sake of one of her own treasures.

Τῶν γὰρ ἀνιερωμένων αὐτῇ σταυρῶν ἕνα τις ὑφελόμενος, ἔν τινι μέρει τῆς ἐπ’ αὐτὴν ἐκ τοῦ ἄστεος ἀναγούσης ὁδοῦ φέρων, εἴς τι φυτὸν εὖ μάλα κατώρυξεν. Ἡ δὲ μάρτυς καὶ γέλωτος μὲν ἀφορμὴν ἐποιήσατο τὸ περὶ αὐτὴν τοῦτο δρᾶμα, ὡς ἂν μηδὲ αὐτῆς ἀφειδούντων τῶν βελτίστων κλωπῶν, καὶ εἴπερ οἷόν τε λήσειν αὐτῆς τὸ πανδερκές τε καὶ θεῖον ὄμμα. Ἐπιφοιτήσασα γοῦν τῶν αὐτῆς ὑπηρετῶν καὶ παρέδρων ἑνί, καταμηνύει πάλιν καὶ τὸν φῶρα καὶ τὸ φώριον καὶ τῷ ἀποκοσμηθέντι τόπῳ τὸν ἱερὸν σταυρὸν ἀποδίδωσι. Τῷ δὲ τὸν σταυρὸν ἔχειν νομίζοντι αὐτὸ τοῦτο περιῆν μόνον, τὸ καλεῖσθαι ἱερόσυλον.

'Someone stole one of the crosses dedicated to her and, taking it to a certain place along the road that led out of the city [Seleucia] toward her own shrine [Hagia Thekla], he hid it very well inside a tree. At first, the martyr laughed at this action against her, because these excellent thieves did not spare even her, as if it were possible to escape her all-seeing and divine eye! Then, she went to visit one of the servants and attendants at her shrine and, again, indicated the thief and stolen object and thus restored the holy cross to the place from which it had been robbed. But the only profit for the one who reckoned that he possessed the cross was being called a "temple robber."'

Text: Dagron 1978. Translation: Johnson 2012, lightly modified. 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

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future) Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

The socially marginal (beggars, prostitutes, thieves)

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects



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.


For another miracle in which Thekla exposes a thief (Miracles of Thekla 21), see E05598.


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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