Feast Day 21 Sept: Bunyola
Very much the stuff of legends, St Thecla heard St Paul preaching and
fought off wild beasts, licentious soldiers and lusty suitors to keep
her virginity intact and become the most famous female missionary of
the early Church. Indeed she was even described as "equal to the Apostles".
A local Tecla martyr legend may have inspired her connection
with St Paul.
"It is otherwise difficult to account for the very great popularity
of the cult of St. Thecla, which spread over East and West, and made her
the most famous of virgin martyrs," wrote M. R. James, (1924) the editor
of the apocryphal Acts of Paul, when discussing the Paul and Thecla episode in these Acts.
St Thecla is also the patron saint of Tarragona. Her relics were acquired from
Armenia in the fourteenth century in exchange for a golden throne, some horses
and an indeterminate number of Mallorcan cheeses but ranging from four hundred
to four thousand depending on the source.
Whatever their number, ensuring they
were edible on arrival at their destination after facing the conditions to be met
on such a journey in those days would have been no mean feat!