Open main menu

PHILIP, one of the twelve apostles, mentioned fifth in all the lists (Matt. x. 3 ; Mark iii. 18 ; Luke vi. 14 ; Acts i. 13), is a mere name in the Synoptists, but a figure of some prominence in the Fourth Gospel. There he is said to have been "of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter," and to have received his call to follow Jesus at Bethany, having previously been, it would seem, a disciple of the Baptist (John i. 43, 44). Philip was at that time the means of bringing Nathanael to Jesus (John i. 45), and at a later date he, along with Andrew, carried the request of the incpuiring Greeks to the Master (John xii. 22). Philip and Andrew alone are mentioned by name in con nexion with the feeding of the five thousand (John vi. 5, 7), and Philip is also one of the few interlocutors in John xiv. After the resurrection he was present at the election of Matthias as successor to Judas, but he does not again appear in the New Testament history ; it is, however, implied that he still continued in Jerusalem after the outbreak of the first persecution.

According to Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, in his controversial letter written to Victor of Rome towards the end of the 2d century (ap. Euseb., H. E., iii. 31, v. 24), the graves of Philip, "one of the twelve," and of his two aged virgin daughters were in [the Phrygian] Hierapolis ; a third daughter, "who had lived in the Holy Ghost," was buried at Ephesus. Proclus, one of the interlocutors in the "Dialogue of Caius," a writing of somewhat later date than the letter of Polycrates, mentions (ap. Euseb., H. E., iii. 31) "four prophetesses, the daughters of Philip at Hierapolis in Asia, whose tomb and that of their father are to be seen there." But Euscbius himself proceeds expressly to identify this Philip with the Philip mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as living in Cæsarea; and in another place he alludes to Philip "the apostle " as having preached the gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch (//. E., ii. 1). Clement of Alexandria also (Strom., iii. 6 [52]) incidentally speaks of " Philip the apostle " as having begotten children and as having given daughters in marriage. In another place (Strom., iv. 9 [73]) Clement quotes, with concurrence, a passage from the Gnostic Heraclcon, in which it is expressly said that Matthew, Philip, Thomas, and others died without "confession of the voice," or, in other words, were not, properly speaking, confessors or martyrs. A later stage of the tradition regarding Philip appears in various late apocryphal writings which have been edited by Tischendorf in his Ada Apostolorum Apocrypha, and in his Apocalypses Apocrypha. According to the Ada PMlippi, this apostle, along with Bartholo mew and Mariamne, the sister of the latter, came to Ophiorynia or Hierapolis, where the success of their preaching, and more par ticularly the conversion and miraculous healing of Nicanora, the wife of the governor, provoked bitter hostility. Philip was crucified head downwards, and invoked curses on his persecutors. His imprecations were heard, but the Lord Jesus immediately afterwards appeared to him and rebuked him for his want of meekness, further announcing his approaching death, and that on account of his sin he would be kept back forty days from the gates of paradise. The Actct Philippi in Hclladc (i.e., "in the city of Athens, called Hellas") are still more fantastical. An apocryphal book, under the title Actus Pliilippi, is condemned in tne canon of Gelasius. Since the 6th century Philip has been commemorated in the West, along with St James the Less, on 1st May, their relics being deposited in the same church in Rome ; in the Eastern Church Philip s day is 14th November, and that of James the Less 23d October.