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E05694: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) punished Dexianos, bishop of Seleucia and guardian of her shrine outside the city, for transferring treasures decorating it into the city for fear of robbers' attack. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

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posted on 2018-06-11, 00:00 authored by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 32

Once, Dexianos, bishop of Seleucia ad Calycadnum and an attendant and guardian of the martyr Thekla's church there, experienced her anger and reproach. In that time, the city still remembered how it was enslaved and plundered by neighbouring pillagers. Thus Dexianos was concerned that the defensive walls surrounding the church might again fall to the enemies. So he removed all the gold and silver decoration from it and transferred it to the city which was a safer place.

Οὔπω δὲ οὐδεμιᾶς διαγενομένης ἡμέρας, νυκτὸς ἐκείνης ἐπιλαβούσης, θορύβου τε πλήρης ἦν ὁ νεὼς καὶ ταραχῆς καὶ βοῆς, τῆς μάρτυρος ἄνω τε καὶ κάτω διαθεούσης, καὶ καταφρονεῖσθαι παρὰ τοῦ Δεξιανοῦ λεγούσης, ὡς ἀσθενοῦς, ὡς ἀγεννοῦς, ὡς μηδὲ τῷ νεῲ μηδὲ τοῖς κατὰ τὸν νεὼν βοηθῆσαι δυναμένης· «Φθάσας γὰρ ὁ χριστιανός, ὁ ἱερεύς, ὁ ἐμὸς πάρεδρος, τὰ τῶν πολεμίων εἰς ἐμὲ διεπράξατο, καί με ἀπεκόσμησε καὶ ἀπεσύλησεν, ὃ μηδ’ ἄν τις τῶν πολεμίων ἐτόλμησε». Ταῦτα τῶν ἔνδον τινὲς τότε καθευδουσῶν παρθένων καὶ μαθοῦσαι, καὶ παρ’ αὐτῆς τῆς μάρτυρος ἀκούσασαι ὕπαρ, μικροῦ μὲν καὶ τῶν φρενῶν ἐξέπεσον ὑπὸ τοῦ δείματος, μήτε δὲ τῆς ἡμέρας ἀναμείνασαι τὸ προοίμιον, ἀπελθοῦσαι πάντα τῷ Δεξιανῷ καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν καὶ διηγήσαντο, ὡρακιῶσαί τε καὶ ἀλλοχροοῦσαι καὶ τρέμουσαι καὶ τὴν καρδίαν πάλλουσαι· ὡς τὸν Δεξιανὸν μηδὲ ὅσον ἀναβαλλόμενον ἀνασκευάσαι πάλιν ἐκ τῆς πόλεως εἰς τὸν νεὼν τόν τε κόσμον, τά τε ἱερὰ καὶ λειτουργικὰ σκεύη, καὶ οὕτω μόλις ἐκμειλίξασθαί τε καὶ παῦσαι τῆς ὀργῆς ταύτης τὴν μάρτυρα. Καὶ ὅσα μὲν ἡμερωτέρας τετύχηκε δίκης, τοιαῦτά τε καὶ τοσαῦτα, ὅσα γε εἰς ἡμᾶς ἦλθεν, ὡς τά γε λαθόντα ἄπειρά τε καὶ οὐκ ἀριθμητά. Ἃ δὲ ἐμβριθεστέρας τε λοιπὸν καὶ αὐστηροτέρας ἔλαχε τιμωρίας ἤδη λεκτέον.

'But not a day had passed when, during the subsequent night, the church was filled with an uproar, a disturbance, and shouting: the martyr was running back and forth saying that Dexianos has scorned her, as if she were weak, lacking in courage, and incapable of assisting either the church or those in the church. "This Christian, this priest, this attendant of mine has managed to act toward me like an enemy: he has stripped me of my ornament and robbed me, something not even an enemy would dare." Some virgins who were sleeping inside the church that night perceived this disturbance and heard the waking vision of the martyr, and almost went out of their minds from fear. They did not wait for daybreak, but went straight to Dexianos to announce and relate all that had happened, even while they were still fainting, pale, shaking, and trembling in their hearts. Dexianos, without the slightest delay, returned the ornaments from the city to the church, that is, the holy and liturgical objects, and thus he barely mollified the martyr and was able to quell her anger. Cases of her moderate punishment are of this sort and intensity, at least to the best of my knowledge, since those that have escaped my notice are infinite and innumerable.'

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 - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Punishing miracle Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Other specified miracle

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Precious material 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.


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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