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she had to fight the wild beasts. A certain wealthy queen named Tryphaena, whose daughter had died, took her into her care and was comforted by her.



us problems. Hand over the one who is to fight the beasts and I will take her away.” But Tryphaena put him to flight by crying out: “Our household has mourned a second time for my Falconilla; and there is no one to help us—not my child, for she has died, nor a relative, for I am a widow. O God of my child Thecla, help her!”

For the procession of the wild beasts, they bound Thecla to a fierce lioness; and Queen Tryphaena fol­ lowed her. But while Thecla was sitting on the lioness, it began licking her feet, to the amazement of the entire crowd. The charge against her was inscribed: “Sacrilegious.” The women with their children were crying out again, “O God, what an unholy judgment has occurred in this city!” Tryphaena then took her home from the procession; for her daugh­ ter Falconilla had died and appeared to her in a dream, and said to her, “Mother, you should take this desolate stranger, Thecla, in my place, that she may pray for me and I be moved to the place of the righteous.”

The governor then sent soldiers to bring Thecla. But Tryphaena did not leave her but led her out by the hand, saying, “I took my daughter Fal­ conilla away to the tomb; but you, The­ cla, I take away to fight the wild beasts.” And Thecla wept bitterly and moaned to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, in whom I believe, to whom I have fled for refuge, the one who saved me from the fire: Give Tryphaena her reward for showing sym­ pathy to your servant and for keeping me chaste.”



And so, when Tryphaena took her from the procession, she both grieved that she had to fight the wild beasts the next day and loved her deeply just as her daughter Falconilla. She said, “My second child Thecla, come, pray for my child, that she may live forever. For I saw her in a dream.” And without a moment’s delay, Thecla raised her voice and said, “O my God, Son of the Highest, you who are in heaven: Give her what she desires, that her daughter Falconilla may live forever.” When Thecla said these things, Tryphaena began to mourn realizing that such beauty was to be cast to the wild beasts.


When early morning arrived, Alexander came to take her away, for he was staging the hunting games. He said, “The governor has taken his seat and the crowd is starting to cause


Then there was a disturbance, a roaring of the wild beasts and a cry of the people and of the women who were sitting together, some of them saying, “Bring in the one who has committed sacrilege,” and others saying, “Let this city be destroyed for this lawless act. Destroy us all, O Pro­ consul. This is a bitter sight, a wicked judgment!”


Thecla was then taken from the hand of Tryphaena and stripped, given an undergarment to wear, and cast into the stadium. Lions and bears were cast in to attack her. And a fierce lioness ran up and lay down at her feet. The crowd of women uttered a great cry. A bear ran up to attack her; but the li­ oness ran up, met the bear, and ripped him apart. Then a lion owned by Alex­ ander and trained to fight humans ran up

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