Saint Thecla was a saint of the early Christian Church, (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) and reported follower of Paul of Tarsus in the 1st century A.D. She is not mentioned in the New Testament, but the earliest record of her comes from the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla, probably composed in the early 2nd century.
According to the Acts of Paul and Thecla, Thecla (St. Taqla) was a young noble virgin who listened to Paul's "discourse on virginity" and became Paul's follower. Thecla's mother, and fiancé, Thamyris, became concerned that Thecla would follow Paul's demand "that one must fear only one God and live in chastity", and punished both Paul and Thecla. She was miraculously saved from being burned at the stake by a storm, and traveled with Paul to Pisidian Antioch. There a nobleman named Alexander desired Thecla and attempted to take her by force. Thecla fought him off, assaulting him in the process, and was put on trial for assaulting a nobleman. She was sentenced to be eaten by wild beasts, but was again saved by a series of miracles. No other early account of Thecla exists.
A local martyr legend, of Tecla, may have inspired this episode, in which she was connected to Paul of Tarsus. "It is otherwise difficult to account for the very great popularity of the cult of St. Thecla, which spread over East and West, and made her the most famous of virgin martyrs," wrote M.R. James, the editor of this Acta, (James 1924).
In Maalula, Syria, there is a monastery of St. Thecla, built near what is said to be her cave. Santa Tecla is the patron saint of Tarragona, Spain, where her feast day is the major fiesta of the city and the cathedral is dedicated to her. In Spain, she is sometimes facetiously referred to as the patron saint of computers (tecla means "key" on a keyboard in Catalan and Spanish).
A Roman Catholic parish in Pembroke, Massachusetts is named for Saint Thecla.