Life of Jesus
Tomb of Apostle Philip Found in Turkey
Discovery made at Hierapolis, one of the major Christian sites in Turkey
Biblical Archaeology Society Staff • 01/04/2012
At about the same time as the July/August 2011 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review was hitting the newsstands, containing an article about St. Philip’s Martyrium,* author and excavation director Francesco D’Andria was making an exciting new discovery in the field at Hierapolis, one of the most significant sites in Christian Turkey. A month later he announced it: They had finally found the tomb of the martyred apostle Philip.
The tomb wasn’t discovered at the center of the octagonal hilltop martyrium as long expected, however, but in a newly excavated church about 40 yards away. D’Andria’s team found a first-century Roman tomb located at the center of the new church, which he says originally contained Philip’s remains. This early church of Christian Turkey was built around the tomb in the fourth or fifth century, and the nearby martyrium was built around the same time, in the early fifth century.
The remains of the apostle Philip are no longer in the tomb, however. According to D’Andria, the saint’s relics were very likely moved from Hierapolis to Constantinople at the end of the sixth century and then possibly taken to Rome and placed in the newly dedicated Church of St. Philip and St. John (now the Church of the Holy Apostles), although 12th-century reports describe seeing Philip’s remains still in Constantinople, the seat of Christian Turkey.
Amid the remains of a fourth or fifth century church at Hierapolis,
one of the most significant Christian sites in Turkey, Francesco
D’Andria found this first-century Roman tomb that he believes once
held the remains of the apostle Philip.
This sixth-century bread stamp shows two churches from the site of
Hierapolis in Christian Turkey: the domed martyrium on the right,
and the newly-discovered church containing Philip’s tomb on the
This new discovery also sheds light on the wonderful
imagery of the rare sixth-century bronze bread stamp from the Virginia
Museum of Fine Arts that we published in our article about Philip’s
Martyrium. The structures on either side of the saint can now be
identified as the domed martyrium (on the right) and the new Byzantine
basilical church containing the tomb of the apostle Philip (on the
left), both of which were important Christian sites in Turkey.
Crucifixion and Celebration,” Biblical
Archaeology Review, July/August 2011.
The Western Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch,
providing spiritual guidance and leadership to the Syriac Orthodox
community, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization
comprised of 10 churches and parishes in 17 western states. It was
established in 1952 as the Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church
encompassing the entire United States and Canada. In November 1995 by
the Holy Synod, the Western Archdiocese was formed to exclusively
serve the 17 states of the western half United States.
417 E. Fairmount Rd., Burbank, CA 91501
Tel: (818) 845-5089 Fax: (818) 953-7203