WHO WAS ST. PHILIP THE APOSTLE?
About St. Philip
Philip appears only eight times in the Gospels. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles (1:13-14) mention him only by name among the twelve Apostles, while the Gospel of John supplies us details of his life and journey with Christ. John introduces us to Philip soon after Jesus called Peter and Andrew (John 1:43–51), describing that “43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ 46 Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’” Later, when Jesus saw the hungry crowd, he asked Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” (John 6:5). Philip’s practical response, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little” (John 6:7), was the prelude to the feeding of the 5,000 with the loaves and fishes. In a later incident in John’s Gospel, some Greeks came to Philip “who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.” (John 12:21-22). Finally, in our last glimpse of Philip, John describes a conversation with Jesus whereby Philip’s request, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied,” evokes the response, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8, 9). The Apostle’s subsequent career is obscure. Polycrates of Ephesus connects him with Asia and declares that he died, apparently from natural causes, at Hierapolis; but other traditions describe him as having suffered crucifixion so that, in medieval art, his symbol—when not loaves, as suggested by Jn. 6, is a tall cross. We celebrate the Feast day of St. Philip the Apostle (jointly with St. James the Less) on May 1st.
We are not sure why the founders of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church took Philip as their patron saint. Perhaps it was because their faith, like Philip’s, was simple, practical, sincere, and approachable. One hundred and fifteen years after the difficult task of building an Episcopal church in Beeville, we still find ourselves in a doubting, fearful world. We, the people of St. Philip’s, will continue to answer such doubt and fear with the invitation from the Apostle Philip, “Come and see.”
The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2003 together with The Fixed Holy Days Conforming to General Convention 2003, New York: Church Publishing, 2003, p. 234
Cross, F. L. ; Livingstone, Elizabeth A.: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 3rd ed. rev. Oxford; New York : Oxford University Press, 2005, S. 1285