The Raven

The Raven

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Origins of the Feminist (1)

"Thus suffered that first martyr and apostle of God, the virgin Thecla, who came from Iconium at eighteen years of age; afterwards, partly in journeys and travels, and partly in a monastic life in the cave, she lived seventy-two years; she was ninety years old when the Lord took her."

Saint Thecla, the woman who baptized herself, 
"when she finished praying, she turned about and saw a pit of water and said, ' Now is a proper time for me to be baptized.' Accordingly, she threw herself into the water and said, 'In your name, O my Lord Jesus Christ, I am this last day baptized' " (Acts of Thecla), and was not afraid to defend herself against unwanted sexual advances, "But he [ Alexandra, a Syrian magistrate] being a person of great power in Anitoch seized her in the street and kissed her; which Thecla would not bear...laid hold on Alexander, tore his coat, took his crown off his head, and made him appear ridiculous before all the people (Acts of Thecla),

Thecla was one of the first female leaders of the early Christian Church. Renouncing her marriage to her betrothed, even though it ensured a secure place in society for a woman, and inspired by Apostle Paul's telling of the Gospel,became a student of him.

"my daughter, Thecla,  like a spider's wed fastened to the window, is captivated by the discourses of Paul, and attends upon them with prodigious eagerness and vast delight" (Theoclia, Acts of Thecla).

She was persecuted for going against tradition, but she stayed steadfast in her calling. She eventually became a missionary, dressing in men's attire, "she dressed herself in the habit of a man and went to him in Myra in Lycia. There she found Paul preaching the word of God, and she stood by him amidst the throng"

SOURCES: Frontline, From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians:

The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara G. Walker