Azize Thekla (Tekla), who was from Konya but spent most of her life in Silifke, was commemorated with various events held in Orthodox Churches in Hatay.
The events that were held in the Hatay/Samandağ Azize Thekla (Mar Takla) Church in previous years were held with limited participation this year due to the pandemic. The preparations made by the congregation members of the Samandağ Greek Orthodox Church were impressive. The traditional ‘Hirisi’ boiling in cauldrons has again become an indispensable part of the holiday.
While the Commemoration of St. Thekla was held in the church named after the saint, the Holy Mass was performed by Fathers Trifon Yumurta and Dimyan Yakupoğlu. At the end of the Holy Mass, the members of the congregation who attended the service enjoyed the feast to the fullest by eating the hirisi cooked in cauldrons together.
Another of the commemoration ceremonies of St. Thekla, which is held on September 24 every year, was held at the Church of Virgin Mary of Altınözü/Tokaçlı. The commemoration ceremony, where candles were lit and prayers were offered, was held in the garden of the church. The Father of the Church, Musa Papas, made statements about the life and faith of St. Thekla at the commemoration ceremony.
He Was Dedicated To Christianity At The First Time
The life story of Aya Thekla is intertwined with the life story of St. Paul. Thekla was from Konya and she was devoted to Christianity, the new religion, which she heard from the voice of Jesus Christ’s apostle Paul. While resisting all prohibitions and tortures, she spent her hard life of 90 years on the way from Konya to Isparta, Karaman and Silifke.
Thekla cave is in a place called Meryemlik in Silifke. Thekla lived in this cave for about 70 years. Here she both introduced the new religion and healed the local people with her miracles.
Thekla’s miracles were disturbing both the Jews and the physicians around Silifke. According to the rumor, the 90-year life of her, which she continued by staying true to Paul’s thoughts, came to an end with the arrival of two attackers in the cave. According to rumors, Thekla escaped from the attackers when the rocks deep in the cave were split, but no one could see her again.
Today, on September 23-24, Christians from all over the world become pilgrims by visiting the cave and church ruins in Mersin/Silifke, where Thekla lives, who is officially recognized as a saint by both the Catholic and Orthodox Church. (SAT-7 Türk/İlyas Edip TERBİYELİ-İskenderun)