THE ACTS OF THECLA
of holiness and the love of the truth. If, then, I am teaching what God has re vealed to me, O Proconsul, how have I done anything wrong?” When the gov ernor heard these things, he ordered Paul to be bound and taken off to prison, until he had greater leisure to listen to him more carefully.
But that night Thecla removed her bracelets and gave them to the gatekeeper; and when the door was opened for her, she went away to the prison. She then gave a silver mirror to the prison guard and came in to Paul. Sitting at his feet, she heard about the majestic character of God. Paul showed no sign of fear but was ﬁlled with the boldness of God. And Thecla’s faith increased as she was kissing Paul’s bonds.
But members of Thecla’s own household, along with Thamy ris, were looking for her, searching for her on the roads as if she were lost. Then one of the gatekeeper’s fellow slaves dis closed that she had gone out at night. They examined the gatekeeper, who told them, “She has gone to the foreigner in prison.” They went out just as he told them and found her, in a manner of speaking, bound together with Paul in affection. Coming out from there they roused the crowds and revealed what had happened to the governor.
He commanded Paul to be brought before the judgment seat. But Thecla was rolling around on the place where Paul had been teaching while sitting in the jail. The governor ordered her to be brought to the judgment seat as well. She came gladly, ﬁlled with joy. When Paul was brought forward again, the crowd began crying out more fervently, “He is a magician; away with
him!” But the governor was glad to hear Paul speak of the holy deeds of Christ. When the governor had consulted his ad visors, he summoned Thecla and said, “Why do you not marry Thamyris, in accordance with the law of the Iconians?” But she stood gazing at Paul. When she did not answer, her mother Theocleia cried out, “Burn the lawless one! Burn the one who will not be a bride, burn her in the midst of the theater! Then all the wives who have been taught by this one will fear!”
The governor was in great ag ony over the case. He had Paul ﬂogged and cast out of the city; but he ordered Thecla to be burned at the stake. Immediately the governor got up and left for the theater. And the entire crowd went out, since they too had to observe the spectacle. But Thecla was like a lamb in the wilderness looking around to see its shepherd—so was she trying to catch a glimpse of Paul. Looking intently into the crowd she saw the Lord sitting there, in the appearance of Paul. And she said, “Since I am unable to endure my fate, Paul has come to watch over me.” And she continued to gaze upon him. But he departed into heaven.
The children and virgins brought wood and hay for Thecla’s burning. When she was brought into the arena naked, the gov ernor wept, marveling at the power he saw in her. They spread out the wood, and the leaders of the people ordered her to mount the pyre. Making the shape of the cross she went up onto the wood. And they lit it. But when it roared into a great ﬁre, the ﬂames did not touch her. For God out of his com passion caused a great roar under ground, and overhead a cloud full of water and hailstones overshadowed the