THE ACTS OF THECLA
Blessed are those who have a full understanding of Jesus Christ, for they will be in the light. Blessed are those who have de parted from the shell of this world because of the love of God, for they will judge angels and be blessed at the right hand of the Father. Blessed are those who show mercy, for they will receive mercy and will not see the bitter day of judgment. Blessed are the bodies of the vir gins, for these will be pleasing to God and will not lose the reward for their chastity; for the word of the Father will be an accom plished act of salvation for them on the day of his Son, and they will receive an eternal rest.”
While Paul was saying these things in the midst of the church in Onesiphorus’s house, there was a certain vir gin named Thecla, daughter of Theocleia and engaged to a man named Thamyris, who was sitting at the window of the house next door. Day and night Thecla heard what Paul said about chastity, and she did not budge from the window, but was drawn to faith with great joy. Yet when she saw many wives and virgins going in to see Paul, she also wanted to be found worthy to stand in Paul’s pres ence to hear the word of Christ. For she had not yet seen what Paul looked like, but had only heard his word.
Since she would not rise up from the window, her mother sent word to Thamyris. He gladly came, as if al ready taking her to their wedding. Then
Thamyris said to Theocleia, “Where is my Thecla?” Theocleia replied, “I have some news to tell you, Thamyra. Thecla has not gotten up from the window for three days and nights, not even to eat or drink; but she is gazing out as if watching a festival. For she has grown attached to a foreign man who is teaching various deceitful words, so that I am amazed at how the virgin’s sense of modesty can be so badly disturbed.
“Thamyris, this man is stirring up the city of the Iconians as well as your own Thecla. For all the wives and youth are going in to see him, learning from him that, ‘You must fear the one and only God and live a chaste life.’ Even my daughter is bound to the window like a spider, seized by a new desire and fear ful passion through his words. For she gazes at the words he speaks; and so the virgin has been captured. But you come and speak with her; for she is your ﬁance´e.”
So Thamyris went in, loving Thecla yet fearing that she had gone mad. He said to her, “Thecla, my future wife, why are you sitting like this? What kind of mad passion has over whelmed you? Turn around to see your Thamyris and be ashamed.” And her mother was also saying the same things, “Child, why do you sit like this looking down without answering, as if you were paralyzed?” And they were weeping bit terly: Thamyris for missing out on a wife, Thecleia for a child, and the servants for a mistress. And the household was thrown into a great confusion because of their mourning. Yet while these things were happening, Thecla did not turn aside, but continued gazing toward the words spoken by Paul.