Philip the Deacon

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One of the seven men chosen by the Apostles to perform certain administrative tasks for the poor in the early Christian community at Jerusalem (Acts 6.57). Because of his zeal in preaching the gospel he became known as Philip the Evangelist (Acts 21.8). According to Acts 8.45 Philip was among the Christians who were forced to leave Jerusalem after the martyrdom of Stephen. He preached the gospel with great success in Samaria (Acts 8.512), where Simon Magus became one of Philip's converts (Acts 8.13). On the road from Jerusalem to Gaza Philip instructed and baptized the Ethiopian minister of Queen Candace (Acts 8.2639), and thereafter he apparently preached the gospel in every coastal city from Azotus (Ashdod) to caesarea in Palestine (Acts 8.40), where he became a permanent member of the early Christian community. Years later at the end of St. Paul's third missionary journey (a.d. 58), Philip acted as host to him and his party (Acts 21.89). In this same context mention is made of the fact that Philip had four virgin daughters endowed with the gift of prophecy; these, like Agabus and other Christian prophets, foretold the trials and difficulties that awaited Paul upon his return to Jerusalem. According to St. Basil (Menol. 1.69; Patrologia Graeca 67:103) Philip became bishop of Tralles. He is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on June 6.

Bibliography: a. wikenhauser, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765); suppl., Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil: Dokumente und Kommentare, ed. h. s. brechter et al. (1966) 8:464. g. strecker, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 195765) 5:338. Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963) from a. van den born, Bijbels Woordenboek, 1835. h. h. platz, The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, ed. g. a. buttrick (Nashville 1962) 3:785.

[c. h. pickar]