Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Philip was from
Bethsaida, a fisherman's village, either on the north or on the west
shore of the Sea of Galilee. Our Lord chose three apostles from this
small, unimportant village. The apostle was supposedly married and had
daughters. Two of them were said to have died virgins and martyrs.
The third was buried in Ephesus. Papias, a bishop of Hierapolis around
the year 130, also mentioned these three daughters, whom he knew
Andrew had brought Philip the first news of the Messiah. Andrew
introduced Philip to the Lord. "The next day he was about to leave for
Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow me."
When Jesus was about to perform a miracle and feed a multitude of people
with a small amount of food, Jesus asked Philip where they should buy
the bread to feed the people. But, Jesus was testing Philip, for Jesus
already knew that He would perform a miracle (John 6:5-6). Phillip was
present during the prayer meeting in the upper room with the 120 (Acts
1:13-15), after the ascension of Jesus.
Philip the Evangelist was one of the seven appointed by the apostles
to take care of the growing Christian community and to look after their
widows and the needy (Acts 6:1-6). He went to Samaria where he preached
performed miracles (Acts 8:4-6). According to Acts 21:9,
Philip's three unmarried daughters had the gift of prophecy.
placed each time in the fifth position. This fact has a meaning of its
own. Philip did not belong to the first group, to the specially honored
and privileged four. Yet after these, he was without a doubt the first
be considered. The order in which our Lord chose and called His
disciples already placed this good companion of John in the fifth place.
This apostle became the leader of the second group of apostles: Philip,
Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas.
was also a friend of Philip and accompanied Philip on his missionary
journeys, he stood by him in the face of martyrdom. As friends, these
two apostles often spoke together their desire to follow the Messiah.
first clue to Philip's personality can be taken from the Gospel of St.
John. The evangelist recorded three incidents in the life of Philip.
Just as the true and exact record of all Philip's labors is enshrouded
in obscurity, so is this apostle's death. He died a martyr. Philip has
been reported as being crucified in Hierapolis at the age of
eighty-seven, during the reign of Emperor Domitian. His crucifixion was
recorded as similar to that of
relics of Philip were supposedly brought to Rome, where they were
placed, together with those of the apostle
James the Less, in the church of the twelve apostles. This accounts for
the fact that the Roman Church, for many centuries, celebrated the feast
of these two companions on the same day, the first of May. 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.
simpler and more profound are the true words that Philip spoke in the
Gospel:"' Lord, show us the Father and it is enough.'" Well might he
have repeated this as a martyr before the gates of eternity. To the
Father, to the last source of all, the inner desires of every man turn.
Philip's feast day is May 11 along with St. James the Less.
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