St. Philip and St. James


Philip and James

Writing for St. Philip and St. James, Apostles

Somebody might ask, “Why did the Gospel writers tell us only how Peter and James, John and Philip were called, but not the others?” It is because these, more than the rest, were in such a lowly walk of life. There is nothing worse than being a tax collector or more ordinary than being a fisherman. Philip was clearly not from a noble class, as is clear from where he came. They reveal their lowly ways of life so that we will believe them when they declare the glorious parts of their life. They did not choose to pass by anything that would be considered shameful, but since they are so careful to tell us all these sort of details, no matter whether they relate to the Teacher or to the disciples, how can they be suspected when they write about those things that require our reverence? Even more so, since they pass over many signs and miracles, while the events of the cross, which are considered to be so shameful, they tell us about with great clarity and boldness. They even tell us about the lowly jobs of the disciples, and the faults and failings in the Master’s ancestors, some of whom were notorious for their very public sins. They are very clear about this. Thus, it is very clear that they are concerned about the truth above all else and did not write to gain favor or for the sake of appearances.

—John Chrysostom

St. Philip and St. James, Apostles

St. Philip is mentioned in the lists of the apostles (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13), but only in John’s Gospel is more told about him. Philip was from Bethsaida in Galilee and one of the first disciples called after Peter and Andrew. Philip also was instrumental in bringing Nathanael to Jesus (John 1:43-51). It was to Philip that Jesus posed the question about where to buy bread to feed five thousand men (John 6:5). During Holy Week, Philip with Andrew brought some inquiring Greeks to Jesus (John 12:20-22). And on Maundy Thursday evening, Philip asked Jesus to show the Father to him and to the rest of the disciples (John 14:8). According to tradition, Philip went to labor in Phrygia and was buried there.

St. James was a son of Alphaeus and was also called “the Younger” (to distinguish him from James, the son of Zebedee, “the Elder,” whose festival day is July 25). His mother, Mary, was one of the faithful women who stood at the cross of Jesus (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40). James is mentioned in the same apostolic lists as Philip, but there is no other mention of him in the New Testament. There is also no information regarding his field of labor or the circumstances of his death, except that he may have been martyred by being sawed in two.

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, Your Son revealed Himself to Philip and James and gave them the knowledge of everlasting life. Grant us perfectly to know Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the way, the truth, and the life, and steadfastly to walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Published in: on May 4, 2015 at 9:01 am  Leave a Comment  

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