Thursday, 4 August 2011

Tomb of St Philip Found

The following article was taken from PressTV. The above photo shows the ruins.

Archeologists have found the tomb of St. Philip the Apostle, one of the 12 original disciples of Jesus Christ, in the southwestern province of Denizli in Turkey.

The tomb was discovered at the ruins of a recently unearthed church in the ancient Turkish city of Hierapolis (Pamukkale), said Italian professor and archaeologist Francesco D'Andria.

Headed by D'Andria, the archeological team found the burial chamber of St. Philip while working to excavate the newly discovered church in the city, the Voice of Russia reported.

“The structure of the tomb as well as inscriptions found on it proves that it belongs to Saint Philip the Apostle, who also died a martyr,” D'Andria stated.

According to the New Testament, Jesus had 12 special followers, called “Apostles”, including Simon Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Mathew, James (son of Alpheus), Jude, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot.

The tombs of several of the Apostles have previously been found, with Saint Peter's being in Rome, Saint Andrew's in Greece, Saint John and Saint Bartholomew's in Turkey, and Saint Thomas's in India.

As in the above article, the Bible always lists Philip fifth, after Peter, boagnerges (james and john), and Peters brother Andrew. Below is a short biography on the saint taken from here:

St. Philip The Apostle was born at Bethsaida, Galilee and martyred 80 AD at Hierapolis, Phrygia. Little is known of him, but he is mentioned as one of the Apostles in Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14 and in Acts 1:13. He is also mentioned in John as a man gifted for asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask. A man who is careful and also level headed.

Jesus Himself called Philip the day after He called Sts. Peter and Andrew. Philip was present at the miracle of the loaves and fishes where he had a brief dialogue with Jesus. Philip was also the apostle approached by the Hellenistic Jews from Bethsaida to have him introduce them to Jesus. Philip was present, as were the other Apostles, at the wedding in Cana. It was Philip, who just before the Lord’s passion, asked, “Lord, show us the Father and it will be enough for us.” No further mention of Philip is made in the New Testament beyond his listing as one of the apostles awaiting the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room.

According to tradition, Philip preached in Greece and in the year 80 AD was crucified upside down at Hierapolis in Phrygia by the Emperor Domitian. Philip’s relics were taken to Rome and placed in the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles.
Since the 15th Century, Saint Philip is portrayed as an apostle holding a long cross or a staff with a small cross on it. The staff is similar to the staves used by Saint Michael and Saint Margaret in overcoming dragon like demons and likely refers to the Golden Legend’s incident in the Temple of Mars. St. Philip is the patron saint for hatters, Luxembourg, Uruguay and pastry chefs.

The Golden Legend - a compilation of stories and legends about saints tells it's story about Saint Philip. The following extract is taken from

Philip preached for twenty years in Scythia. After that time the pagans thrust Philip before a statue of Mars and forced him to sacrifice to the god. Then a huge dragon emerged from the base of the statue. The dragon killed the pagan priest’s son, who tended the fire for the sacrifice, and slew two tribunes whose men held Philip in chains. The dragon infected the bystanders with the stench of its breath so that all became ill. Philip then said to the people that they had to worship the true Lord, for the dragon to disappear and the sick to be cured. The suffering cried out that if they would but be cured they would smash the statue of Mars. Philip commanded the dragon into the desert; he cured the sick and even brought the three men that had been mortally wounded by the dragon back to life. All the people present then accepted Philip’s faith.

When Philip was eighty-seven years old the infidels seized him and nailed him to a cross. The Golden Legend quotes again Isidore, who wrote that Philip was crucified and stoned at Hierapolis in Phrygia. Philip was buried there together with his daughters.

Filippino Lippi brings this story to life in the Strozzi Chapel of the church of Santa Maria Novella of Florence in 1502. Again from the

The fresco ‘Saint Philip at the Temple of Mars’ is an excellent example of how well the Middle Age and Renaissance painters knew the apocryphal texts, such as their compilation in the ‘Golden Legend’ of Jacobus de Voragine. All the details of the narrative are shown. We see the statue of the Roman deity Mars, the god of war, in a sumptuous monument. The god holds the Roman symbol of the wolves with his left hand, whereas in the other he brandishes the flame of war high. The statue looks down on Philip, who commands the dragon. The story tells that the dragon broke out from under the temple and indeed, stones are broken from that marble stairs. The dragon is not the huge monster from the Golden Legend, since that would have taken up too much space in the painting and have been too ugly a scene for a refined fresco. But the son of the priest of Mars lies lifeless in the arms of oriental bystanders on the right. Filippino read that the story played in Scythia, so he let his imagination loose on the robes, cloaks, headdresses and even faces of the infidel people that came to sacrifice to the Roman god. Rome is present also on the left of the painting, where a centurion holds the standard of its army.

Filippino chose a scene of action and he painted Philip at the moment of highest drama in the story. Around the soldiers people are either suffering under growing sickness, such as the forefront old man with the white-grey hair, or they are pinching their noses at the stench of the dragon. In the centre, Philip commands the dragon and the miracle, whereas the priest of Mars looks in awe at the slumping body of his son. Lippi made a picture of action, a narrative in a painting, in the very old tradition of church frescoes that wanted to instruct the pious into the wonderful religious stories of the Bible and the lives of the Saints.

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