Saint Thekla (or Thecla) was a follower of Saint Paul. She listened to his preaching against the will of her parents, and she embraced his call to chastity, vowing herself to virginity. After traveling with Saint Paul to preach the Gospel, she retired to Seleucia and devoted herself to prayer. Throughout her life, she suffered greatly for Christ and supernaturally escaped martyrdom on several occasions. At the age of 90, followers of the goddess Artemis went to defile Thekla. She cried out to the Lord, and the earth split open to hide her; she gave up her soul.
Though she did not die a typical martyric death, for her sufferings the Church has given her the title of Protomartyr (first martyr), and for her work of evangelism, she is called an Equal-to-the-Apostles. Her feast is celebrated on September 24 (September 23 in the West; October 3 by the Copts).
This icon was painted by Athanasius Clark.