PRAYER (traditional language)
God of liberating power, who didst call Thecla to proclaim the gospel and didst not permit any obstacle or peril to inhibit her: Empower courageous evangelists among us, that men and women everywhere may know the freedom that thou dost offer us in Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
This commemoration appears in Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2019 for trial use.
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Last updated: 25 Jiuly 2020
THECLA OF ICONIUM
PROTO-MARTYR AMONG WOMEN, c. 70
According to the Acts of Paul and Thecla, Thecla was a young noble virgin who listened to Paul's "discourse on virginity" and became Paul's follower and a Disciple of Paul's teachings and Ministry. Thecla's mother and her fiancé Thamyris became concerned Thecla would follow Paul's demand "one must fear only one God and live in chastity", and punished both Paul and Thecla.
Thecla was miraculously saved from burning at the stake by the onset of a storm and traveled with Paul to Antioch of Pisidia. There a nobleman named Alexander desired Thecla and attempted to take her by force. Thecla fought him off, assaulting him in the process, and was put on trial for assaulting a nobleman. She was sentenced to be eaten by wild beasts, but was again saved by a series of miracles when the female beasts protected her against her male aggressors.
Thecla gained a massive "cult-like" following, and became perhaps the most prominent figure for female empowerment at the time. She listened to Paul's teachings to fear nobody but God, and live in chastity. She demonstrates these teachings on several occasions starting from the first time she heard Paul speak by leaving Thamyris, fighting off Alexander, and surviving several life threatening situations. She traveled to preach the word of God and became an icon encouraging women to also live a life of chastity and follow the word of the Lord.