Saint Thekla was converted from the preaching of the Apostle Paul, and became his companion in ministry. She endured tortures of fire and beasts in her native Iconium and Antioch for refusing to deny Christ. She became an ascetic and lived in the mountains of Syria. A pagan found her praying and attempted to rape her. She fled into a crack in the canyon wall which miraculously opened up and closed behind her. She fell asleep in AD 106. A group of nuns soon took up residence in this cave, and the convent of St. Thekla exists to this day in Maaloula, Syria. In this icon, she holds the monastery church in her left arm. The convent was pillaged by ISIS in October 2013, and liberated in April 2014.
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