WASHINGTON, D.C.– Excavator gives background story of apostle Philip and site of recently discovered tomb in Turkey. During the course of excavating a Byzantine-era church in the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis (in modern southwest Turkey), Professor Francesco D’Andria and his archaeological team have discovered the tomb of St. Philip, one of the twelve apostles.
The current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) features an article by lead excavator Professor D’Andria relating the history of St. Philip, his martyrdom by upside-down crucifixion and his martyrium at Hierapolis. Most of what is known about St. Philip outside of the New Testament comes from the apocryphal fourth-century text called the Acts of Philip. In the July/August 2011 BAR article, titled “Conversion, Crucifixion and Celebration,” D’Andria traces the history of the saint and explores the textual and archaeological evidence for his life and martyrdom. The article provides a thorough context for understanding the significance of this important discovery.
Philip is believed to have been executed by the Romans in Hierapolis around 80 C.E. The tomb, which is located approximately 40 meters away from an ancient church dedicated to the saint (the Martyrium of St. Philip), has been identified as Philip’s by inscriptions located on the walls of the structure. Professor D’Andria believes that the tomb was moved to its present location in the fifth century from its original position in the Martyrium of St. Philip. D’Andria and his team have not yet opened the grave to examine the remains, but they plan to do so soon. He anticipates that this new discovery will add to the significance of Hierapolis as a Christian pilgrimage destination.
For more information, you can read D’Andria’s article online at www.bib-arch.org/bar or call the Biblical Archaeology Society at 1.202.364.3300.