This commemoration is a 2018 addition to A Great Cloud of Witnesses and, as such, there no readings or collects assigned as yet.

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Last updated: 11 Aug. 2018


Monastic, 4th c.


Thais of Alexandria, by Jusepe de RiberaThaïs, reportedly of fourth-century Roman Alexandria and of the Egyptian desert was a repentant courtesan. Several modern commentators suggest that she is a legend deriving from "probably only a moral tale invented for edification." The saint shares her name with another Thaïs of wide notoriety in the Hellenistic world, many hundreds of years before.

Thaïs is first briefly described as wealthy and beautiful, a courtesan living in the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria. Yet in the eyes of the church she was a public sinner. Thaïs, however, makes inquires about the Christian religion and eventually converts. In her Vita a monk in disguise pays for entry into her chambers in order to challenge her and convert her, yet he finds that she already believes in God, from whom nothing is hidden.

Following her acceptance into the Church, Thaïs is shown a convent cell where she is provisioned for three years. During her years of solitude she performs penance for her sins. When she later emerges, it is said, she lives among the nuns of the Egyptian desert only for a brief period of fifteen days, before she dies.

Thaïs has been a subject in modern culture, most motably in an opera by Massenet

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