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Thais, Saint

A penitent in Egypt in the fourth century

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.


Thais (THAISIS, OR THAISIA), Saint, a penitent in Egypt in the fourth century. In the Greek menology her name occurs on October 8, it is found also in the martyrologies of Maurolychus and Greven, but not in the Roman. Two lives are extant, one, originally in Greek, perhaps of the fifth century, the other, in verse, by Marbod, Bishop of Rennes, who died in 1123 ("Acta SS.", IV, October, 223; "Bibl. hag. lat.", II, 1161). The saint is represented burning her treasures and ornaments, or praying in a cell and displaying a scroll with the words: "Thou who didst create me have mercy on me". According to the legend Thais was a public sinner in Egypt who was converted by St. Paphnutius, brought to a convent and enclosed in a cell. After three years of penance she was released and placed among the nuns, but lived only fourteen days more. The name of the hermit is given also as Bessarion and Serapion the Sindonite. Delahaye says (Anal. boll., XXIV, 400), "If the legend is historical the hermit must have been Paphnutius".

FRANCIS MERSHMAN


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