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Philip was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Later Christian traditions describe Philip as the apostle who preached in Greecemarker, Syriamarker, and Phrygia. He was martyred by crucifixion in the city of Hierapolismarker. However, the Catholic Church regards account of his death as legendary.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the feast day of Saint Philip, along with that of James the Just, 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). When Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Workman in 1955, for celebration on 1 May, he moved the feast day of Saints Philip and James (which was then a Double of the 2nd Class and became a Second-Class Feast in 1960) to the nearest free day, which was then 11 May, which is its place in the General Roman Calendar of 1962. With the 1969 revision of the calendar 3 May became free for the Feast of the two Apostles. The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates St Philip's feast day on 14 November.

Gnostic Christians appealed to the apostolic authority of Philip, ascribing a number of Gnostic texts to him, most notably the Gospel of Philip from the Nag Hammadi library.

New Testament

The Gospel of John describes Philip's calling as a disciple of Jesus. Philip is described as a disciple from the city of Bethsaidamarker, and connects him to Andrew and Peter, who were from the same town. It further connects him to Nathanael (sometimes identified with Bartholomew), by describing how Philip introduced Nathaniel to Jesus. The authors of the Synoptic Gospels also describe Philip as a disciple of Jesus.

Of the four Gospels, Philip figures most prominently in the Gospel of John. His two most notable appearances in the narrative are as a link to the Greek-speaking Jewish community: Philip introduces members of this community to Jesus; and, during the Last Supper when he asked Jesus to see the Father, providing Jesus the opportunity to teach about the unity of the Father and the Son.

Philip is always listed fifth among the apostles.

Christian Tradition

Christian stories about St Philip's life and ministry can be found in the extra-canonical writings of later Christians than in the New Testament. One of the most reliable fragments of knowledge about Philip comes from the head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, Clement, who states that Philip was married, had children, and one of his daughters was also married. Other legendary material about Philip can be misleading, as many hagiographers conflated Philip the Apostle with Philip the Evangelist. The most notable and influential example of this is the hagiography of Eusebius, in which Eusebius clearly assumes that both Philips are the same person. As early as 1260, Jacobus de Voragine noted in his Golden Legend that the account of Philip's life given by Eusebius was not to be trusted.

Later stories about Saint Philip's life can be found in the anonymous Acts of Philip, probably written by a contemporary of Eusebius. This non-canonical book recounts the preaching and miracles of Philip. Following the resurrection of Jesus, Philip was sent with his sister Mariamne and Bartolomew to preach in Greecemarker, Phrygia, and Syriamarker. Included in the Acts of Philip is an appendix, entitled "Of the Journeyings of Philip the Apostle: From the Fifteenth Act Until the End, and Among Them the Martyrdom." This appendix gives an account of Philip's martyrdom in the city of Hierapolis. According to this account, through a miraculous healing and his preaching Philip converted the wife of the proconsul of the city. This enraged the proconsul, and he had Philip, Bartholomew, and Mariamne all tortured. Philip and Bartholomew were then crucified upside down, and Philip preached from his cross. As a result of Philip's preaching the crowd released Bartholomew from his cross, but Philip insisted that they not release him, and Philip died on the cross.

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