Holy Protomartyr Thecla, Equal to the Apostles (1st c
She was born in Iconium of prominent pagan parents. At the age of eighteen she was instructed in the Faith of Christ by the Apostle Paul himself. She forsook her family and her betrothed, vowing herself to a life of virginity in the service of Christ.
She traveled in the ministry of the Gospel with St Paul. After many travels and sufferings for the sake of Christ, she retired to Seleucia to devote herself to prayer and asceticism. There she healed many of the sick by her prayers, and brought many more to the Faith. Some local doctors envied her and sent some young men to rape her, superstitiously thinking that her healing powers might reside in her virginity
The Prologue says ‘Thecla fled from these insolent young men and, when she saw that they would catch her, prayed to God for help in front of a rock, and the rock opened and hid the holy maiden and bride of Christ. This rock was her hiding-place and her tomb.’