Saint Thekla was born into a pagan family in A.D. 16. When she was 18 years old Saint Paul the Apostle and Saint Barnabas arrived near her from Antioch.Since she was prohibited to hear Paul preach she sat in her bedroom where she could hear his every word qnd stayed for three days and three nights listening to him. She was becoming interested in the new Faith her parents went to the governor of the city and complained about Paul and his preaching;Paul was imprisoned.
When Thekla learned of Paul’s arrest she secretly went to his cell. When she saw the Apostle she knelt before him and kissed the chains which bound his hands and feet. She remained there a long time listening to his message of the Good News of Jesus Christ. When her parents knew at once that she was with Paul. They decided to go again to the governor, this time demanding immediate judgement for the Apostle. After the governor chastened Paul for the disturbances he had caused in the city, he had him stoned and expelled from Athe city. When Thekla announced that she had vowed to remain a virgin for the sake of Christ, her mother became enraged and asked the governor to threaten Thekla with severe punishment. Thekla was to be burned at the stake unless she renounced her faith in Christ.
When Thekla refused to renounce her Heavenly Bridegroom, she was taken for punishment. As she was tied to the stake she saw a vision of Jesus Christ which gave her strength to face the flames that were extinguished by heavenly rain and hail.
Upon her release, Thekla went to the outskirts of the city where she rejoined Paul.They then departed from the region of Iconium and traveled to Antioch in Syria. As they were entering the city a young nobleman named Alexander saw Thekla he tried to seduce her, but Thekla fought him off, thus disgracing him in front of his crowd of friends she qas punished with death by the governor of Antioch for disgracing a nobleman, in public.Thekla would face the wild beasts in the arena.Her wish was granted and she was given into the care of the noblewoman,to preserve her virginity, until the time of punishment.
When Thekla was taken to the arena, a lioness was set free to attack her. But to the astonishment, the lioness approached the Saint and sat tamely at her feet. A bear was then released, but as it came close to Thekla the lioness rose up to defend her and killed the bear. A large lion was then released. The lioness again came to Thekla’s defense killing the lion, but losing her own life also. Then all the cages were opened and a large number of wild animals charged at the defenseless Thekla. After crossing herself and praying for courage, the Saint noticed a large tank of water which was nearby, containing the aquatic animals. She climbed into the water, asking that she might be baptized by Christ as she did so.The ropes which held Thekla to them were miraculously loosened and she was spared. Seeing that no harm could be done to Thekla, the authorities released her. She went to the home of Tryphaena where she remained for eight days preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ and converting Tryphaena and her entire household. When she departed from Antioch, Tryphaena gave her a treasure in gold and precious jewels.
After she left Antioch, Thekla journeyed to Myra where she rejoined Paul. She informed him of all that had occurred, including her baptism and asked that she might be permitted to spend the remainder of her life as an ascetic. Paul gave her his blessing and she departed.
Thekla then traveled again to Syria where she went up into the mountains for a life of prayer and solitude. Many years later a young pagan found her praying in an isolated canyon and resolved to harass her and spoil her virginity. As he approached her and blocked her only exit to safety, she prayed that her Bridegroom would protect her as He had so many times in the past. At that moment the canyon wall was miraculously split allowing her to escape through a narrow crack in the rock.
Saint Thekla continued her life of asceticism and then peacefully fell asleep in Christ at the age of 90. Shortly after her death a community of virgins went to live in her mountain cell, building a small chapel to enshrine her body. This Convent of Saint Thekla still exists today near the village of Ma‘loula, Syria.
Because of her many sufferings for the Faith the Church counts her as a “Protomartyr”. And because she converted so many people to Christianity she is also know as an “Equal-to-the-Apostles”.
Most of the mummies that I’ve read about were usually mummified with a chemical process called embalming and then they are wrapped in linen. In Buddhist traditions, across the sub-continent, they have a natural process for mummification. I din knew much about it and then google came to rescue and I found out that when the monk who decides to go for this natural mummification process, they start eating only rice, barley and beans which grows abundantly in these regions, so that they get a layer of fat over their bodies and during their preparation for their death, they run candles over their bodies to dry out the fat and the monk dies in a sitting pose due to starvation which is then put in an underground room for three years so that the body can dry and again it is treated with candles. The monk then gets mummified in a sitting position after this whole three years long process.
These photographs are from Gue Monastery in Spiti, which is about 10kms from Sumdo, which is approx 15kms from the Indo Tibet Border. This monastery has mummified body of the monk Sangha Tenzin. This was excavated in 2004 by the local police from the tomb and the mummy was removed and shifted to this place. We were told thaby the mummy might be more than 500 years old but the due to the clean air and the cold climatic conditions the mummy is in a very good shape with the teeth still intact. From Sumdo one needs to take a very small detour and I think no one should miss this place as it is one of the rarest of experiences. .
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Unclear whether the trend of 83° days will continue until the kickoff of #ciderweekflx next week, but even if the temperature drops, the newest @phonographcider release will refresh with sparkle, structure, steadiness. Cider maker Steve will be sampling at a number of events including #Monks &Makers at Apple Harvest Fest on October 1.
Last Sunday, with great joy, we inaugurated the first cloister of our new monastery on the mountainside. Hundreds of friends from Norcia, Italy and even abroad joined us to pray alongside us on that auspicious evening, which began with Solemn Vespers.
Fotocredit: The Monks of Norcia
For more info see:" http://mailchi.mp/nursia/earthquake1year-494349