St Erasmus (Lychnid) and St Thecla (Seleucia) : a study of two early Christian cultic centers
The main purpose of this paper is the study of two regional Early Christian cultic centers: of St. Erasmus, near the city of Lychnid in the province of Epirus Nova, and of St. Theda, near Seleukia on the Calycadnos, in the province of Isauria. The methodology and the problems associated with this are considered in chapter I. The cult of martyrdom in Christianity is a complex religious, social and cultural phenomenon, and chapter II deals with the significance of martyr-saints in Christian theology, their place and role in the Late Antique culture of the Mediterranean, and the two principal types of artifacts through which we recognize the cults of martyrs, the hagiography and the sanctuary. This thesis then closely examines, in chapters III-VI, the establishment, development and the demise or the transformation of these two sanctuaries, and the related cultic traditions. This inevitably requires consideration of a large number of factors, starting with the broad historical conditions in these regions during Late Antiquity, the hagiographies of the venerated saints, and finally, the formal architectonic expression of the cultic tradition, the sanctuaries themselves.