This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 24 -- Feast of Saint Tekla

Near her tomb in Syria
In Spanish, tecla means key.  [Or so I am told; I don't speak Spanish.]  Saint Tekla (which is spelled Tecla in the west) is the patron of Tarragona, Spain, as well as towns or quarters in Portugal, Italy, and El Salvador named Santa Tecla.  Hispanophones (yeah, that's a real term) joke that she's also the patron saint of computers (see reference above to the meaning of her name).  The joke falls flat in Sainte-Thecle, Quebec, where the word for key is clef

Saint Paul himself gets the credit for Tekla's conversion to Christianity.  Tekla's mom had a fiance named Thamyris, and they agreed that Paul's chastity nonsense was injurious to the girl's future so they needed to put a stop to it.  Thwarted by the usual methods of persuasion, they settled on a course that was even more injurious to her future -- wed or die.  Apparently she and Paul were both going to be killed, but a sudden downpour prevented them from burning Thekla at the stake.

Her festival in Tarragona, Spain -- a bfd, for sure
She then followed Paul to Antioch in Pisidia, where she caught the eye of a nobleman named Alexander.  Big Al thought he could make free with young Tekla, but she fought him off bravely, only to be arrested for assaulting a patrician.  Big Al's reputation for masculinity must have suffered mightily after he lodged the complaint, but the authorities dutifully arrested Thekla, condemned her, and threw her to the beasts.  In an unusual twist, the female animals circled around Thekla and would not let the males attack her.

She wrapped up her days in Seleucia (the one in Syria) and is said to have been buried in Ma'loula, where her crypt-cave is still a shrine.  The Eastern Orthodox Church has given her the title Equal-to-the-Apostles, which is flattering if cumbersome. The Western Church celebrates her on September 23, but if she hung with Paul, she's more properly celebrated on the Eastern calendar's date. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the female beast solidarity. I've seen that happen. (Sort of.)