Saint Philip

the Evangelist

General Information

Philip the Evangelist was one of the first seven men chosen by the apostles to be a Christian deacon and missionary (Acts 6:2-6). His role as a deacon was to perform administrative duties for the Christian community. Philip converted the Ethiopian eunuch and the Samaritan followers of Simon Magus, who was also one of his converts (Acts 8:4-13, 26-40). Feast day: Oct. 11 (Eastern); June 6 (Western).

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Philip, the Apostle

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Philip, lover of horses.

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)

St. Philip the Apostle

Catholic Information

Like the brothers, Peter and Andrew, Philip was a native of Bethsaida on Lake Genesareth (John 1:44). He also was among those surrounding the Baptist when the latter first pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God. On the day after Peter's call, when about to set out for Galilee, Jesus met Philip and called him to the Apostolate with the words, "Follow me". Philip obeyed the call, and a little later brought Nathaniel as a new disciple (John 1:43-45). On the occasion of the selection and sending out of the twelve, Philip is included among the Apostles proper. His name stands in the fifth place in the three lists (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16) after the two pairs of brothers, Peter and Andrew, James and John. The Fourth Gospel records three episodes concerning Philip which occurred during the epoch of the public teaching of the Saviour:

Before the miraculous feeding of the multitude, Christ turns towards Philip with the question: "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" to which the Apostle answers: "Two hundred penny-worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little" (vi, 5-7).

When some heathens in Jerusalem came to Philip and expressed their desire to see Jesus, Philip reported the fact to Andrew and then both brought the news to the Saviour (xii, 21-23).

When Philip, after Christ had spoken to His Apostles of knowing and seeing the Father, said to Him: "Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us", he received the answer: "He that seeth me, seeth the Father also" (xiv, 8-9).

These three episodes furnish a consistent character-sketch of Philip as a naïve, somewhat shy, sober-minded man. No additional characteristics are given in the Gospels or the Acts, although he is mentioned in the latter work (i, 13) as belonging to the Apostolic College.

The second-century tradition concerning him is uncertain, inasmuch as a similar tradition is recorded concerning Philip the Deacon and Evangelist -- a phenomenon which must be the result of confusion caused by the existence of the two Philips. In his letter to St. Victor, written about 189-98, bishop Polycrates of Ephesus mentions among the "great lights", whom the Lord will seek on the "last day", "Philip, one of the Twelve Apostles, who is buried in Hieropolis with his two daughters, who grew old as virgins", and a third daughter, who "led a life in the Holy Ghost and rests in Ephesus." On the other hand, according to the Dialogue of Caius, directed against a Montanist named Proclus, the latter declared that "there were four prophetesses, the daughters of Philip, at Hieropolis in Asia where their and their father's grave is still situated." The Acts (xxi, 8-9) does indeed mention four prophetesses, the daughters of the deacon and "Evangelist" Philip, as then living in Caesarea with their father, and Eusebius who gives the above-mentioned excerpts (Hist. Eccl., III, xxxii), refers Proclus' statement to these latter. The statement of Bishop Polycrates carries in itself more authority, but it is extraordinary that three virgin daughters of the Apostle Philip (two buried in Hieropolis) should be mentioned, and that the deacon Philip should also have four daughters, said to have been buried in Hieropolis. Here also perhaps we must suppose a confusion of the two Philips to have taken place, although it is difficult to decide which of the two, the Apostle or the deacon, was buried in Hieropolis. Many modern historians believe that it was the deacon; it is, however, possible that the Apostle was buried there and that the deacon also lived and worked there and was there buried with three of his daughters and that the latter were afterwards erroneously regarded as the children of the Apostle. The apocryphal "Acts of Philip," which are, however purely legendary and a tissue of fables, also refer Philip's death to Hieropolis. The remains of the Philip who was interred in Hieropolis were later translated (as those of the Apostle) to Constantinople and thence to the church of the Dodici Apostoli in Rome. The feast of the Apostle is celebrated in the Roman Church on 1 May (together with that of James the Younger), and in the Greek Church on 14 November. [Editor's Note: The feast is now celebrated on 3 May in the Roman Church.]

Publication information Written by J.P. Kirsch. Transcribed by John Looby. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York


Acta SS., May, I, 11-2; BATIFFOL, in Analecta Bollandiana, IX (1890), 204 sqq.; LIPSIUS, Die Apokryphen Apostelgeschicten und Apostellegenden, II, II (Brunswick, 1884), 1 sqq.; Bibl. Hagriogr. Latina, II, 991; on the two Philips cf. ZAHN in Forschungen sur Gesch. Des neutestamentl. Kanons, VI (Erlangen, 1900), 158 sqq.

Apostle Philip

Orthodox Information

(This information may not be of the scholastic quality of the other articles in BELIEVE. Since few Orthodox scholarly articles have been translated into English, we have had to rely on Orthodox Wiki as a source. Since the Wikipedia collections do not indicate the author's name for articles, and essentially anyone is free to edit or alter any of their articles (again, without any indication of what was changed or who changed it), we have concerns. However, in order to include an Orthodox perspective in some of our subject presentations, we have found it necessary to do this. At least until actual scholarly Orthodox texts are translated from the Greek originals!)

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Philip was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. The Church remembers St. Philip on November 14. He was not the St. Philip (October 11) who was one of the Seventy Apostles.


Born in Bethsaida beside the Sea of Galilee, Philip was so well versed in the Holy Scriptures that he immediately recognized Jesus as the Messiah upon seeing him the first time. After Pentecost, St. Philip preached in Asia and Greece. In Greece, the Jews hated him and the high priest even ran at him to club him to death, but miraculously this Jewish priest was blinded and turned completely black. Then the earth opened up and swallowed him. Many of the sick were healed, and many pagans believed.

St. Philip found himself in the company his sister Mariamma, the Apostle John and the Apostle Bartholomew while preaching in Hieropolis. Through prayer he killed a giant snake that the pagans worshipped, which angered the unbaptized so much that they crucified him and St. Bartholomew upside-down. Again, the earth opened and swallowed his judge along with many pagans, and being terribly afraid the people rushed to bring the Apostles down from their torment. But St. Philip had already reposed.

St. Bartholomew then ordained Stachys—whom St. Philip had healed of a forty-year blindness and baptized—as bishop for those who were baptized in that area. Later, St. Philip's relics were translated to Rome. He is numbered among the Twelve Great Apostles.


Troparion (Tone 3) [1] Holy Apostle Philip,
entreat the merciful God
to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Kontakion (Tone 8) [2] Your disciple, friend and imitator of Your passion,
the God-preaching Philip, proclaimed You to the universe!
By his prayers deliver Your Church from her enemies;
through the Theotokos protect every city, most merciful Christ!


St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid

External links

Holy, All-Praised Apostle Philip, November 14 (OCA)
Apostle Philip of the Twelve, June 30 (OCA)
Philip the Apostle (GOARCH)
Icon and Story of St. Philip

Holy Apostle St Philip

Orthodox Information

Commemorated November 14

The Holy and All-praised Apostle Philip, was a native of the city of Bethsaida in Galilee. He had a profound depth of knowledge of Holy Scripture, and rightly discerning the meaning of the Old Testament prophecies, he awaited the coming of the Messiah. Through the call of the Saviour (John 1:43), Philip followed Him. The Apostle Philip is spoken about several times in the New Testament. It was he that brought Apostle Nathaniel (i.e. Bartholomew) to Christ (See John 1:46), Christ asks him where to buy bread for five thousand men (John 6: 5-7), he brought certain of the Hellenized Jews wanting to see Jesus (John 12:21-22), and at the Last Supper he asked Christ to show them the Father (John 14:8).

After Christ’s Ascension, St Philip preached the Word of God in Galilee, accompanying his preaching with miracles. Thus, he restored to life a dead infant in the arms of its mother. From Galilee, he went to Greece, and preached among the Jews that had settled there. Some of them reported the preaching of the Apostle to Jerusalem. In response, some scribes arrived in Greece from Jerusalem, with one of the Jewish chief priests at their head, to interrogate the Apostle Philip.

The Apostle Philip exposed the lie of the chief priest, who said that the disciples of Christ had stolen away and hidden the body of Christ. Philip told instead how the Pharisees had bribed the soldiers on watch, to spread this rumour. When the Jewish chief priest and his companions began to insult the Lord and lunged at the Apostle Philip, they suddenly were struck blind. By his prayer, the Apostle restored everyone's sight. Seeing this miracle, many believed in Christ. The Apostle Philip provided a bishop for them, by the name of Narcissus (one of the Seventy Apostles, commemorated January 4).

From Greece the Apostle Philip went to Parthia, and then to the city of Azotus, where he healed an eye affliction of the daughter of a local resident named Nikoklides, who had received him into his home, and then baptized his whole family.

Apostle Philip set out from Azotus to Syrian Hieropolis (there were several cities of this name) where, stirred up by the Pharisees, the Jews burned the house of Heros, who had taken in the Apostle Philip, and they wanted to kill the apostle. The apostle performed several miracles: the healing of the hand of the city official Aristarchus, withered when he attempted to strike the apostle; and restoring a dead child to life. When they saw these marvels, they repented and many accepted holy Baptism. After making Heros the bishop at Hieropolis, the Apostle Philip went on to Syria, Asia Minor, Lydia, Emessa, and everywhere preaching the Gospel and undergoing sufferings. Both he and his sister Mariamne (commemorated February 17) were pelted with stones, locked up in prison, and thrown out of villages.

Then the Apostle Philip arrived in the city of Phrygian Hieropolis, where there were many pagan temples. There was also a pagan temple where people worshiped an enormous serpent as a god. The Apostle Philip by the power of prayer killed the serpent and healed many bitten by snakes.

Among those healed was the wife of the city governor, Amphipatos. Having learned that his wife had accepted Christianity, the governor Amphipatos gave orders to arrest St. Philip, his sister, and the Apostle Bartholomew travelling with them. At the urging of the pagan priests of the temple of the serpent, Amphipatos ordered the holy Apostles Philip and Bartholomew to be crucified. Suddenly, an earthquake struck, and it knocked down all those present at the place of judgement. Hanging upon the cross by the pagan temple of the serpent, the Apostle Philip prayed for those who had crucified him, asking God to save them from the ravages of the earthquake. Seeing this happen, the people believed in Christ and began to demand that the apostles be taken down from the crosses. The Apostle Bartholomew was still alive when he was taken down, and he baptized all those believing and established a bishop for them. But the Apostle Philip, through whose prayers everyone remained alive, except for Amphipatos and the pagan priests, died on the cross.

Mariamne his sister buried his body, and went with the Apostle Bartholomew to preach in Armenia, where the Apostle Bartholomew was crucified commemorated June 11); Mariamne herself then preached until her own death at Lykaonia.

The holy Apostle Philip is not to be confused with St Philip the Deacon (commemorated October 11), one of the Seventy.

Dismissal Hymn (Third Tone)

O Holy Apostle Philip, intercede with the merciful God that He grant to our souls forgiveness of offences.

Kontakion (Plagal of the Fourth Tone)

Your disciple and friend, emulator of Your passion, the divinely eloquent Philip, proclaimed You to the world as God. By his entreaties, and through the Theotokos, keep Your Church from lawless enemies, O most merciful.

St. Philip

Coptic Orthodox Information

Philip, a Jew with a Greek name, was a native of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. He appears to be one of the disciples with John the Baptist when the Baptizer pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:36). The next day as Jesus was about to set out for Galilee, he met Philip and called him to discipleship with the words, "Follow me" (John 1:43). Philip obeyed the call and a little later brought Nathanael to Jesus, as we saw above.

In addition to the listing of disciples, only John tells us anything about this man. Philip appears three other times in John's gospel. Before the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 Jesus tested Philip (John 6:5-7). When some Greeks in Jerusalem approached Philip and expressed their desire to see Jesus, Philip reported this to Andrew and then the two of them brought the news to Jesus (John 12:20-22). Finally, when Jesus spoke to his disciples about knowing and seeing the Father, Philip had a request to see the Father (John 14:6-9).

Characteristics of This Disciple

The three episodes from John sketch a portrait of a man who was a bit naive and somewhat shy. They also show us Philip as a serious-minded man.

Philip is an individual who is so much like us, Mr. or Ms. Average Christian. He generates neither great contempt nor great admiration. Yet we do appreciate the way in which he obeyed Jesus' call and then shared what he had found. We can also learn something from Philip when he was faced with the doubts of his friend Nathanael. He just said bluntly, "Come and see." He sets the example for us when we talk church and religion with our friends.

Philip's matter-of-fact approach, however, shows its limits when faced with the hungry crowd and Jesus' question. Jesus tested Philip and Philip failed miserably. On that occasion he was too practical for his own good. So often in the work of the church, it is the practical approach that keeps us from doing what we could do and what we must do. We calculate and we concentrate on how few we are and how little we have and how little we are willing to give - the result - we determine that maybe we shouldn't even bother to try.

Consider This: Proverbs 29:18

Where there is no vision, the people perish . . . (KJV)

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint . . . (NIV)

The work of the Kingdom of God calls for faith and courage, determination and imagination. Above all, it demands a strong belief in the grace and power of God.

When the Greeks spoke to Philip, he wasn't sure if it was a good idea for these "foreigners" to see Jesus. He didn't immediately seize the opportunity to share Jesus. We quickly reflect Philip's hesitancy when visitors are welcomed in church, not with warmth and friendliness, but with glances that say, "What are you doing here?"

Once again when Philip asks "show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied," he wanted proof. His practical mind was getting in the way.

Outside of Scripture, there is some confusion about Philip. This is the result of there being two Philips in the sacred record, the other being Philip the Deacon and Evangelist. The second-century traditions seem to mix the two men up. Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus, writing in the last decade of the second century, speaks of Philip as one of the "great lights" of the Church. He then proceeds to speak of the two Philips as if they were one individual.

The apocryphal "Acts of Philip" are purely legends and fables. They speak of his death at Hieropolis in Phrygia because of his protests against the idolatry of the city. Reportedly he was severely flogged, imprisoned and later crucified.

His symbol incorporates the cross on which he supposedly gave up his life. It also shows the basket that reminds us of his reply to Jesus when Jesus fed the 5,000. Sometimes the basket has loaves of bread in it. Other symbols incorporate a cross and a staff.

James F. Korthals

The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in December 1997.

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