St. Thekla, the Holy Protomartyr and Equal to the Apostles, in the first century went with St. Paul and St. Barnabas to Antioch where they all preached the Gospel. She was extraordinarily beautiful and her parents were rich and illustrious. Hearing St. Paul preach about Christ, she resolved not to marry her fiancé but to devote her life to preaching the Gospel. After refusing her mother’s insistence that she marry, her mother in an insane rage demanded from the judges a death sentence against her unyielding daughter. St. Thekla was sentenced to be burned, but the Savior protected her in the flames. Twice her torturers set loose hungry wild animals upon her, but they would not touch the holy virgin. Instead they lay down meekly and licked her feet. She converted many pagans to Christ and healed the sick through her prayers. When St. Thekla was already 90, jealous pagan sorcerers sought to defile her but Christ heard her cry for help and a rock split open and hid the holy virgin, who, thus, offered up her soul to the Lord. St. Thekla is commemorated on September 24.
- Mother of God and the Women Saints
- Christ and the Men Saints
- The Martyrs, Archangels and Evangelists