Thecla, Tekla

Saint_TheclaGender: Feminine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “glory to God.”

She is a bit clunky and technical sounding. I had a great grandmother by this name and grew up near a parish that bore the name St. Thecla. Apparently it was a popular name in Poland at the turn of the century, spelled Tekla, my great-grandma anglicized her name to Tilly, after settling in the United States.

According to the Acts of St. Paul, Thecla also known as Taqla, was a young noblewoman who decided to live a life of chastity after hearing St. Paul’s discourse on virginity. Her mother and fiancé were very upset with her, and ordered her and Paul to be burnt at the stake, only to be miraculously rescued by a storm. Disowned by her family, Thecla had no other choice but to travel with Paul to Turkey. There she caught the eye of another nobleman, but when she refused his advances he tried to rape her, when Thecla managed to beat him off, she was accused by the local authorities of assaulting an innocent nobleman and was sentenced to be torn apart by wild beasts, also from which she was miraculously rescued. In the Eastern Churches, St. Thecla is considered equal to the Apostles and is regarded as a proto-martyr. She was used as an ascetic role model for women. Her feast is held on September 23 in the Roman Catholic Church and on September 24 in the Eastern Orthodox Church. St. Thecla is particularly venerated among Middle Eastern Christians, especially in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, where she is known as Taqla or Takla. In fact, there is an ancient nunnery dedicated to St. Thecla in Syria, known as Deir Ma Takla it is said to be built upon the cave where Thecla’s tomb is allegedly located. According to local legend, the cave was created when Thecla was escaping persecution, the mountain opened up miraculously to hide Thecla in the depths of the newly formed cave. In Tarragona Spain, she is considered the patron saint and each year a large festival is held in her honor. Her name also happens to coincide with the Spanish and Catalan word for “key” on the computer keyboard, so in recent years, she has been regarded as the patron saint of computers. As for the etymology of the name, it is supposedly derived from the Greek Theoclea or Theoklea which is composed of the elements theo meaning “god” and clea meaning “glory.” Other forms include the Slavic Tekla, the French Thècle, the Arabic Taqla and Takla, and the Spanish/Italian Tecla.