Saint Philip

Apostle Philip

According to legend, disciple Saint Philip preached in Phrygia and died as a martyr at Hierapolis. Philip came from Bethsaida, the same town as Peter and Andrew (John 1:44). Saint Philip was most likely a fisherman as well.

Although his name appears in the first three Gospels (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, and Acts 1:13), it is in the Gospel of John that Philip becomes a living personality. Scholars disagree with Philip.

the Apostle Philip
Saint Philip

Philip is mentioned as one of the seven ordained deacons in Acts 6:5. Some claim that this is a different Philip. Some consider this to be the Apostle. If this is the same Philip, his personality has come to life as a result of his successful campaign in Samaria. He led the Ethiopian eunuch to faith in Christ (Acts 8:26). He also stayed with Paul in Caesarea (Acts 21:8) and was a key figure in the early church’s missionary enterprise.

According to the Gospel of John, Philip was one of the first people to whom Jesus said,

“Follow Me.”


When Philip met Christ, he immediately sought out Nathanael and told him,

“We have found him, of whom Moses… and the prophets did write.”


Nathanael was skeptical.

But Philip did not argue with him; instead, he simply replied,

“Come and see.”


This story of Saint Philip reveals two important aspects, first, it demonstrates his correct approach to the skeptic as well as his simple faith in Christ. Second, it demonstrates his missionary instinct.

Saint Philip Life

“Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied,”


Philip said. Jesus stated,

“Have I been with you all this time and you still don’t recognize me, Philip?


Everyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

‘Show us the Father,’ how can you say?”

(Matthew 14.8; Matthew 14:9)

The ancient traditions about Philip are mixed up with those about Philip the deacon and evangelist.

One of the two Philips was laid to rest in Hieropolis, Phrygia, Asia Minor. Some ancient writers claim that Philip the Apostle had three daughters, but Acts 21:8; Acts 21:9 mentions four daughters of Philip the deacon and evangelist, who are also said to be buried in Hieropolis, according to one tradition.

According to legend, while preaching in Hieropolis with Saint Bartholomew, Philip killed a large serpent in a temple dedicated to serpent worship through prayer. Philip also treated a large number of snake bites. Angry, the city governor and its pagan priest crucified Philip and Bartholomew.

An earthquake knocked everyone to the ground while the two disciples were on the cross, and Philip prayed for their safety. When the earthquake subsided, the people demanded the release of Philip and Bartholomew. Philip died, but Bartholomew survived.

The alleged remains of Philip were later moved to Rome’s Basilica of the Twelve Apostles, which was originally dedicated to Saints Philip and Saint James the Less. As a result, the two saints are now celebrated on the same day. Philip is the patron saint of hatters, pastry chefs, the countries of Luxembourg and Uruguay, as well as numerous churches, schools, and hospitals around the world.

As May Day was dedicated to St. Joseph the Worker in 1955, the Roman Catholic church moved the traditional date away from 1 May. St. Philip Feast Day is now celebrated on 3 May by Roman Catholics, 14 November by Eastern churches, and 1 May or 3 May by Anglicans.


Philip learned the truth about the kingdom of God at the feet of Jesus, then preached the gospel after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Philip fervently sought the Messiah and recognized that Jesus was the promised Savior, even though he did not fully understand until after Jesus’ resurrection. Like the other apostles, Philip deserted Jesus during his trial and crucifixion.


Philip is derived from the Greek name Philippos, which means “friend of horses.” He went on to become a missionary in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia. He eventually made his way to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, where he was whipped, imprisoned, and crucified around the year 54 A.D. His ashes can be found in Rome’s Holy Apostles Basilica.


As with the other apostles, we see in James and Philip human men who became foundation stones of the Church, and we are reminded once more that holiness and its attendant apostolate are entirely a gift of God, not something that can be earned. All power is God’s power, including human freedom to accept his gifts.

“You will be clothed with power from on high,” Jesus promised Philip and the other disciples. Their first assignment had been to expel unclean spirits, heal diseases, and proclaim the kingdom. They gradually realized that these externals were sacraments of an even greater miracle within them—the divine power to love like God.

Saint Phillip Death

It’s difficult to say how Saint Philip died, especially because he was initially confused with Philip the Evangelist, and there are conflicting accounts. According to one source, he died of natural causes. According to another, he was beheaded. Alternatively, he could be stoned to death.

Or crucified on the wrong side of the cross. The majority of the earliest traditions point to him being martyred in Hierapolis. Polycrates of Ephesus wrote to Pope Victor,

“I speak of Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who is laid to rest at Hierapolis…”

Caius the Presbyter (a third-century Christian writer) stated,

“And after this, there were four prophetesses, daughters of Philip, at Hierapolis in Asia.”

Their tomb is there, as is their father’s.

The Acts of Philip contain the earliest and most detailed account of his martyrdom, but it’s difficult to know how much we can trust it. He allegedly converted the wife of a proconsul, which enraged the proconsul enough to have him and Bartholomew crucified upside down. While they were still hanging, Philip preached, and the crowd was moved to release them. He instructed them to free Bartholomew but not to kill him.

Philip died in the first century, possibly around the year 80 AD.

Key Takeaway

Both Philip and James were Apostles, chosen by Jesus to follow him and continue his work of building God’s Kingdom. Catholics celebrate their feast on the same day because, despite dying at different times and locations, their bodies were moved and buried together in Rome’s Church of the Twelve Apostles.

Saint Philip, the third man Jesus summoned to

“Follow me,”


is also a fisherman (John 1:43). We know that Philip recognized Jesus as God’s messenger right away. As Jesus’ newest disciple, the first thing he did was invite his friend Nathanael to come and see the Lord. From the beginning, he desired to spread the Good News of Jesus to others!

Saint Philip was also an inquisitive man who wanted to know everything he could about Jesus and his teachings.

“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us,”


Philip said to Jesus at the Last Supper (John 14:8).

Jesus was taken aback by Philip’s request. He responded,

“Have I been with you for so long and you still don’t know who I am, Philip?”


Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Philip’s question and Jesus’ response help us understand that we are called to grow in our faith daily.

Saint Philip is said to have traveled to Asia Minor, now known as Turkey, after receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to tell others about Jesus’ life and teachings. He died as a martyr for our (catholic) faith.

Characteristics of Apostle Philip

Characteristics of Saint Philip who was born in Bethsaida like St. Peter and St. Andrew and is often referred to as Phillip the Apostle to distinguish him from the Phillip that occurs in Acts. Phillip was slow to recognize Jesus; however, once he found Jesus, he quickly shared His greatness with his friend Nathanael Bartholomew.

Characteristics of the 12 apostles prove while Andrew was practical, strong-minded, and naturally, the type of man to win over the impulsive, head-strong Peter; the slower Philip, versed in the Scriptures, appealed more to the critical Nathanael and the cultured Greeks. Philip was very cautious, deliberate, and desirous of submitting all truth to the test of sensual experience.

Both Phillip and Bartholomew are frequently named together as they frequently appear together and speak together in the bible. Phillip is not mentioned a great deal throughout the bible, and not too much is known about him in-depth.

A deacon

The twelve apostles, as we saw, were all men who had known Jesus during the time of His public ministry and were witnesses to His resurrection. Because of this, they had a special place and ministry in the early Church, teaching and sharing with others the things that Jesus had shared with them.

As the Church grew, however, the administrative tasks became such great management of the offerings, food distribution to widows, etc. They decided to appoint seven men (deacons) to take over this work and thus enable them to concentrate on ministry work. Philip, who was also an evangelist, was one of those appointed.

Anointed by God

The basic qualification for being a deacon in the early Church was that he should be a man who was full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit. We do not know when Philip received his own experience of the infilling of the Spirit, but the evidence of that infilling is recorded for us in detail.

When persecution breaks out against the Christians in Jerusalem, they are scattered into different regions roundabout (see map below), and the effect of this is more widespread evangelism.

When Philip visits Samaria and preaches Christ, many are converted, and healed and such is the effect of his anointed ministry that the city is filled with overflowing joy.

Met a Magician

In Samaria, where Philip was preaching, a magician called Simon built up a great reputation among the people through his practice of magical arts. Philips anointed message, together with the supernatural evidence that accompanies it, convinces Simon of the truth of the Gospel; after that, he professes conversion and is baptized.

When the Apostles Peter and John arrive and lay hands on the converts to receive the Holy Spirit, Simon offers them money to be given the same power. Simon is sternly rebuked and told to repent of his wickedness which arises from a heart that is not right before God.

Led by the Holy Spirit

As Philip continues his evangelistic mission in Samaria, where he is ministering to thousands, he is bidden by an angel to leave the area and travel south to meet one man, an Ethiopian eunuch. The eunuch had been to Jerusalem to worship and, while there, had purchased a scroll of the prophecy of Isaiah, which he was reading as he returned home along the Gaza road in his chariot. The Spirit instructs Philip to run to the chariot and ask the man if he understands what he is reading.

Spreads the Gospel

His special assignment was completed, and Philip is caught up by the Spirit and returns to his wider evangelistic work. Starting at Azotus (Ashdod), he travels northwards up the coast, preaching in every town until he reaches Caesarea, where he seems to have made his home. Philips evangelism embraced both Jews and the half-Jewish Samaritans.

This was a major step because Jews have no dealings with Samaritans (John 4:9). It marked a turning point in carrying out Jesus’ command to the disciples to witness in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)

A Godly Household

Philip, we are told, had four unmarried daughters who lived with him in his home in Caesarea.

His wife is not mentioned in Lukes’s account and may have been dead by the time Paul and his party, which included Luke, stayed in their godly and hospitable household.

Many years before the great outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, the prophet Joel had predicted that when the Holy Spirit fell, one of the results would be that your sons and daughters will prophesy (Joel 2:28).

All four of Philips’s daughters had received this supernatural ability, and doubtless, many in the early Church had cause to thank God for the influence of the home and family of Philip.

Philip was Practical

It also would appear from Johns’s account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand that Philip may have been in charge of the supplies and food, the road manager of sorts. He was the kind of guy who was practical, always thinking about the bottom line.

And on this occasion, Jesus, trying to stretch Philip’s faith, posed a question to him as the crowd gathered: Where shall we buy bread that these may eat? (John 6:5). Philip responded, Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.

Philip didn’t do so well on that test. He wasn’t the first to have the most faith, but he was a follower of Jesus, who God used.

Summary Characteristics of Saint Philip

Philip is mentioned in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) as the man from Bethsaida, a disciple of John the Baptist. Both Philip and Andrew appear together in the listings of the apostles found in the gospels and the Book of Acts. In the Book of John, he is portrayed as one who had a deep understanding of the Old Testament prophecy and the coming Messiah; also, he demonstrated a heart for missions (John 1:43John 1:44John 1:45John 1:46).

However, he struggled with spiritual insight evidenced in his converse with Christ at the feeding of the five thousand.

Resources Characteristics of Saint Philip

Facts of Apostle Philip

What do we know about Philip’s facts? Almost nothing. Although a Jew, we only know him by his Greek name, Philip. With a heart for evangelism, he was anxious to tell Nathanael the One foretold by Moses and the prophets had been found. The Acts of Philip is a traditional source for his life after the gospels and Acts. It describes missionary journeys to Greece, Phrygia, and Syria.

Saint Philip was martyred in the city of Hierapolis after he converted the wife of a proconsul. The enraged proconsul crucified both Philip and the Apostle Bartholomew. (John 1:45) They were close companions and possibly studied the Old Testament together. Philip was stoned and crucified in Hierapolis, Phrygia.

Apostle Philip’s Facts and Symbol

Philip is an important figure throughout the gospels. He may be most famous for his conversation with Nathaniel in the Gospel of John and when he spoke up during the feeding of the 5,000. When Jesus was teaching people by the sea of Galilee, he saw that they were hungry.

He turned to Philip and said,

“Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?”

Philip responded incredulously,

“Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”

When the apostles bring Jesus five barley loaves and two fish, Jesus feeds 5,000 people with them. Bread baskets figure prominently in Philip’s symbol, pointing us to this story.

While hanging from the cross, Philip continued to preach, and he so moved the crowd that they took Bartholomew down. When they came to remove Philip from the cross, he insisted that he stay. For this reason, the cross frequently accompanies Philip’s breadbaskets as his symbol.

Quick Facts about the Apostle Philip

Philip knows the Old Testament. When Jesus calls Philip, he tells his friend Nathaniel that he has found

“Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote”.

When Philip mentions “the Law,” he refers to the first five books of your Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

The “prophets” refers to a good chunk of the rest of the Old Testament. Philip brings others to Jesus. Like the apostle Andrew, when Philip meets Jesus, he immediately tells someone else about the Lord. We see Philip bringing his friend Nathaniel (which may be another name for the apostle Bartholomew) to Jesus in the first chapter of John’s Gospel, and later on, he and Andrew bring some God-fearing Greeks to Jesus, too.

Philip seems to be a pragmatist. Remember that time Jesus fed 5,000 men (and a lot more women and kids) with just five loaves and two fish? Before He did that, He tested Philip’s faith and asked him how they might feed the multitude.

Philip’s response:

“200 days’ wages couldn’t buy these people so much as a snack!”

Philip must be an approachable guy. Some non-Jews were celebrating Passover and wanted to meet Jesus. Of all the disciples, they approach Philip first. It could be because Philip is a Greek name (it means “lover of horses”). It could be because Philip’s hometown had a lot of Greek residents. Whatever the reason, they felt comfortable approaching Philip.

Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father, which doesn’t make him look too good. Jesus asks him,

“Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?


He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:8John 14:9). But you kind of have to thank Philip. He asked, and we’ve benefited from the answer for about 2,000 years.

Philip only speaks in the Gospel of John. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all list him as one of the twelve, but like Thomas and Judas/Thaddeus, his only speaking roles are in the last gospel.

Philip’s name is coupled with Bartholomew and Thomas in some of the lists of the twelve: it’s possible that he worked closely with these two.

Philip’s Willingness to serve in the Lord’s Vineyard

Philip was willing to be ready to serve the Lord was later demonstrated in John 6:1John 6:2John 6:3John 6:4John 6:5John 6:6John 6:7John 6:8John 6:9John 6:10John 6:11John 6:12John 6:13John 6:14 when Jesus found Himself being followed by about 5,000 people.

Jesus asked Philip where they could buy bread to feed all the people. Philip quickly answered and said that two hundred pennies worth of bread would not buy enough for everyone to eat, referring to the fact that there was not enough bread for everyone available.

Jesus responded by telling the disciples to have the people sit down while He took five loaves of bread and two fish and blessed the food, which miraculously multiplied into so much food that it took 12 baskets just to gather up the leftovers of the bread.

Philip’s willingness to be part of the ministry of Jesus would play itself out many times afterward in the years to follow while Jesus was on the earth and after His ascension.

In the Roman Rite, the feast day of Philip, along with that of James the Less, was traditionally observed on 1 May, the anniversary of the dedication of the church dedicated to them in Rome (now called the Church of the Twelve Apostles) but this 1st of May celebration has been moved to the 3rd of May.

The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Philip’s feast day on 14 November. One of the Gnostic codices discovered in the Nag Hammadi library in 1945 bears Philip’s name in its title, on the bottom line.

Apostle Philip’s Miracles

Apostle Philip participated in the miracle of the loaves and fishes (John 6:5John 6:6John 6:7John 6:8John 6:9), accounting for his symbol in the medieval art of loaves. With St. Andrew the Apostle, he brought word to Jesus that certain Greeks had asked to see him (John 12:21John 12:22).

Apostle Philip Feast Day

In the Roman Rite, the feast day of Philip, along with that of James the Less, was traditionally observed on 1 May, the anniversary of the dedication of the church dedicated to them in Rome (now called the Church of the Twelve Apostles). The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Philip’s feast day on 14 November. One of the Gnostic codices discovered in the Nag Hammadi library in 1945 bears Philip’s name in its title, on the bottom line.

Philip a lesser-known Apostle

There’s not much we can say about Philip without speculating. The Bible doesn’t tell us much, and even some of the most reliable early church writers were confused about who he even was.

What we do know is this: as one of the Twelve, Philip certainly held an important role in the early church, and he likely played a key part in spreading the gospel somewhere in ancient Eurasia.

Conclusion Philip The Apostle Facts

Studying the facts about Philip made us realize that he had a large role in the ministry of Jesus and the days following Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Philip was called by Jesus to follow Him and did not hesitate to go because he had been searching for the Messiah and believed immediately that Jesus was Him.

Not only did Philip follow right away, but he also did not hesitate to tell others about Jesus so we can say that he was responsible for leading the man (Nathaniel) to the Lord by sharing the truth of the gospel.

The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch is seen as the model of evangelism, teaching grace through faith in Christ. His death is not something that has been documented and isn’t that a good thing? After all, it was his life as an evangelist that is most memorable and extraordinary.

Resources Facts

Saint Philip Summary

Philip, like Peter and Andrew, was from Bethesda. In the Gospel of John, he takes on the form of a living person. He was the first man Jesus told to follow him, and he believed He was the prophet Moses described. He had a warm heart and a pessimistic mind, and he desperately wanted to help others but couldn’t see how. He was hanged, and as he died, he requested that his body be wrapped in papyrus rather than linen, as Jesus was.

Philip was a man with a good heart but a pessimistic outlook. He was the type of person who wanted to help others but couldn’t see how it could be done. Nonetheless, this simple Galilean gave everything he had. In return, God made use of him. He was said to have died by hanging.

While he was dying, he requested that his body be wrapped in papyrus rather than linen because he was not worthy for even his dead body to be treated as Jesus’ body had been treated. Because of his role in the feeding of the five thousand, Philip’s symbol is a basket. He was the one who emphasized the cross as a symbol of Christianity and victory.


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