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E07443: The late 4th to 6th c. collection of Miracles of *Menas (soldier martyr of Egypt, S00073), ascribed to Timothy of Alexandria, recounts the story of the miraculous rescue of a woman from rape. She was travelling alone to the shrine, and visited a shrine of *Thekla (follower of Paul the Apostle, S00092) in the same area. Written in Greek in Alexandria.

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posted on 2019-03-10, 00:00 authored by erizos
Timothy of Alexandria, Miracles of Menas (CPG 2527, BHG 1256-1269)

Miracle 3. The sterile woman (BHG 1259)


A rich woman from the region of Phekozea, called Sophia, who was married to a pious man, decides to visit the shrine and pray. Having no children to inherit her fortune, she intends to bequeath it to the shrine, for the forgiveness of her soul. She sets off alone in the desert, without disclosing it to her household or husband, and arrives at the shrine of Thekla. She is assaulted by a passing soldier and, while he attempts to rape her, she invokes the saint’s help. Menas appears on horseback, places the woman on the soldier’s horse and leads it to his shrine, while the rapist is dragged behind them, with his leg tied onto the horse. The soldier dedicates his horse to the shrine, and spends the rest of his life there, praying for his forgiveness.

Text: Pomialovskii 1900.
Summary: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Menas, soldier and martyr buried at Abu Mena : S00073 Thekla, follower of the Apostle Paul : S00092

Saint Name in Source

Μηνᾶς Θέκλα

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Alexandria Abu Mina

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

Alexandria Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Abu Mina Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Consecrating a child, or oneself, to a saint

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Punishing miracle Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miraculous protection - of people and their property

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Soldiers Aristocrats


The collection is preserved, not always intact, in 69 manuscripts, on which see:


For the context of this story, see E07440. A detail of special interest here is the reference to a shrine of Thekla in the region of Menas' shrine, which apparently was on the way of the pilgrims. This may provide an explanation for the frequent appearance of the figure of Thekla on ampullae of Menas.


Text: Pomialovskii, I., Житие преподобного Паисия Великого и Тимофея патриарха Александрийского повествование о чудесах св. великомученика Мины (St Petersburg, 1900), 61-89. Further reading: Delehaye, H., "Les recueils antiques de miracles des saints," Analecta Bollandiana 43 (1925), 5-85, 305-325. Efthymiadis, S., "Collections of Miracles (Fifth-Fifteenth Centuries)," in: S. Efthymiadis (ed.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography II: Genres and Contexts (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), 106.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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