Philip, Apostle, St.
PHILIP, APOSTLE, ST.
A native of Bethsaida (Jn 12.21) and one of Our Lord's first disciples (Jn 1.43–44). In the Synoptic Gospels he is mentioned only in the lists of the Apostles (Mt 10.3; Mk 3.18; Lk 6.14; see also Acts 1.13). In St. John's Gospel, however, he has a larger role: he was one of the first disciples called by Our Lord and was instrumental in introducing Nathaniel to Jesus (Jn 1.45–49); moreover, he is mentioned in connection with the miraculous feeding of the five thousand (6.5–7) and with Jesus' discourse at the last supper (14.8–9). Certain friendly Gentiles singled out Philip as an intermediary in their desire to meet Jesus (Jn 12.20–23). Apart from these facts, nothing more is known about the Apostle. In the 2d century, Polycrates, Bishop of Antioch (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 3.31.3), and Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 3.6.16) identified him wrongly with philip the deacon. Papias of Hierapolis (c. a.d. 140) may have been responsible for this idea (see Eusebius, ibid. 3.39.9). Epiphanius (Heres. 26.13) mentions a Gospel forged in the name of Philip that was used by the Egyptian Gnostics. In the Pistis Sophia, a remarkable Gnostic work of the 3d century, Philip is accorded a prominent place. The feast of the Apostle St. Philip, together with that of St. James the Less, was celebrated in the West on May 1 until 1955, when it was transferred to May 11; the Greeks celebrate it on May 14.
Bibliography: a. wikenhauser, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65); suppl., Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil: Dokumente und Kommentare, ed. h. s. brechter et al. (1966) 8:465–466. h. kÖster, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 1957–65) 5:337–338. Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963) from a. van den born, Bijbels Woordenboek, 1835–36. h. h. platz, The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, ed. g. a. buttrick (Nashville 1962) 3:785.
[c. h. pickar]