Tomb of St. Philip the Apostle discovered in Turkey’s Denizli

From World Bulletin, a source I haven’t heard of, comes a story from the Turkish news agency Anadolu
via a reader:

Tomb of St. Philip the Apostle discovered in Turkey’s Denizli

The tomb of St. Philip the Apostle, one of the original 12 disciples of Christianity’s central figure Jesus Christ, has been discovered during the ongoing excavations in Turkey’s south-western province of Denizli.

Italian professor Francesco D’Andria, the head of the excavation team at the Hierapolis ancient city in Denizli, told reporters on Tuesday that experts had reached the tomb of St. Philip whose name is mentioned in the Bible as one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.

Professor D’Andria said archeologists had been working for years to find the tomb of the Biblical figure, and finally, they had managed to reach the monument while working on the ruins of a newly-unearthed church in Hierapolis.

D’Andria said the structure of the tomb and the writings on it proved that it belonged to St. Philip the Apostle, who is recognized as a martyr in the history of Christianity.

Describing the discovery as a major development both for archeology and the Christian world, D’Andria said the tomb, which had not been opened yet, was expected to become an important Christian pilgrimage destination. [May the world and the region be peaceful so that it may be so!]

Hierapolis, whose name means “sacred city”, is an ancient city located next to the renowned Pamukkale, white Travertine terraces, in Denizli province. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city, famous for its historical hot springs used as a spa since the 2nd century, is a mixture of Pagan, Roman, Jewish and early Christian influences.

Ancient tradition associates Hierapolis with St. Philip the Apostle, who is believed to have died in the city around 80 AD. The follower, who is known as the apostle who preached in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia, is said to have been martyred in Hierapolis. The legend is that St. Philip was crucified upside-down or martyred by beheading.

After the apostle’s death, an octagonal tomb named “The Martryium” was erected for him where he is believed to have been martyred.

As I understood it, the remains of St. Philip had been translated at some point from Hieropolis to Rome, where they were interred with those of James the Lesser in the Roman basilica Santi Dodici Apostoli, the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles.

A quandary!

We shall see how this works out.

Fascinating, no?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. mrose says:

    Very cool – I was in Hierapolis in May, and was of course quite interested in the city’s connections with St. Philip.

  2. Sliwka says:

    1) Very interesting Father. It always amazes me (maybe it should not) when traditional beliefs are reinforced through archeology.
    2) Saints are awesome. Their stories are certainly edifying, but hagiography is an endlessly interesting topic.
    3) Re: don’t we already have his relics—In my studies of hagiography, I am reminded of something I heard where pig bones were being displayed and translated as a Saint’s relics, but miracles were still being reported. What it was decided (by whom, I cannot remember) is that is is particularly the devotion, and not the item that is most important.

  3. Tony Layne says:

    I’m withholding judgment at this point; the hoax about the tomb of St. James the Greater is still too fresh in my mind.

  4. pseudomodo says:

    Some are claiming that the BODY of St. Phillip has been found whereas it was his TOMB that was found!

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