Preface of Apostles and
[Common of a Missionary]
[For the mission of the Church]
PRAYER (traditional language)
O God, who hast made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent thy Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that we, following the example of thy servant Philip, may bring thy Word to those who seek thee for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
O God, who has made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that we, following the example of your servant Philip, may bring your Word to those who seek you for the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
This commemoration appears in Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018.
Collects revised at GC 2015.
Return to Lectionary Home Page
Webmaster: Charles Wohlers
Last updated: 11 Aug. 2018
DEACON AND EVANGELIST (11
In the sixth chapter of Acts, we read that the Apostles commissioned seven
men in the congregation at Jerusalem to supervise the church's ministry
to the needs of its widows and other poor. (This is generally considered
to be the beginning of the office of Deacon in the Church, although the
Scriptures do not use this term in referring to the original seven men.)
Two of these have gained lasting fame. One was Stephen, who became the
Church's first martyr. The other was Philip, whose story we find in Acts
8:5-40; 21:8-9. After the death of Stephen, there was a general persecution
of the Church at Jerusalem, and many Christians fled to escape it. Philip
fled to Samaria, where he preached the Gospel to the Samaritans, a group
who had split off from the Jewish people about six centuries earlier,
had intermarried with other peoples, and were considered outsiders by
most Jews. They received the message with eagerness, and soon Peter and
John came to Samaria to bless the new converts.
After this, Philip was sent by God to walk along the road from Jerusalem
southwest to Gaza, where he met a eunuch (a term meaning literally a castrated
man, but also used to mean simply an official of a royal court) of the
Queen of Ethiopia (probably meaning Nubia -- what we now call the Sudan),
returning home after worshipping in Jerusalem. The man was reading from
Isaiah 53 ("He was wounded for our transgressions"), and Philip
told him about Jesus, and persuaded him that the words were a prophecy
of the saving work of Jesus. The man was baptized, and went on his way
rejoicing, while Philip went north to Caesarea, the major seaport of Israel,
and its secular capital.
When Paul (accompanied by Luke) was going up to Jerusalem for the last
time, he paused at Caesarea and spent several days with Philip. (This
may be the source of some of the information Luke used in writing the
early chapters of Acts.) We are told that Philip had four daughters who
prophesied. (This is relevant to discussions of the role of women in the
Was Philip the Deacon the same person as Philip the Apostle (see 1 May)?
No, they were different. There were Twelve Apostles, and they said, "Our
work is to preach the Gospel, not to administer the budget. Choose seven
men to administer the budget." Obviously they meant seven men other
Moreover, when Philip went to Samaria, and preached
and made converts, he baptized them, but none of them received the Holy
Spirit. It was not until Peter and John came from Jerusalem and laid hands
on them that they received the Spirit. Surely this means that Philip was
not an Apostle--not one of the Twelve.
Yes, they were the same person.
We have ancient testimony identifying them. Papias of Hierapolis, a second-century
writer who had spoken with some of the apostles, speaks of the Philip
of Acts 21 as one of the Apostles. Polycrates, a second-century bishop
of Ephesus, says that Philip, "one of the Twelve", was buried
at Hierapolis along with two aged virgin daughters of his, and that a
third daughter, a prophetess, was buried at Ephesus. It seems unlikely
that two Philips would both have unmarried daughters of whom at least
one was known as a prophetess.
If eleven of the Twelve Apostles refused the work of
administering the church's welfare program, but one, for special reasons,
accepted it, it is not clear that Luke would have felt bound to point
this out. The Jerusalem community may have thought it desirable to have
one man serve both as one of the Twelve and one of the Seven, so as to
provide a link, a liason, between the two groups. Philip, who specifically
named in John's account of the feeding of the Five Thousand (John 6:5),
is likely to have had special abilities in organizing the feeding of the
hungry, and related matters. Moreover, the Seven were originally appointed
because the Greek-speaking Jews complained that their widows were being
neglected. Philip had a Greek name ("lover of horses"), which
at least suggests some kind of Hellenistic element in his background.
Even more to the point, we note that earlier, when a group of Greek-speaking
Jews wanted a chance to speak with Jesus, they went first to Philip (Jn
12:20f). Clearly Philip was a good choice for dealing with Hellenists.
As for the objection that Philip's Samaritan converts
receive the laying on of hands, not from Philip, but from Peter and John,
it must be noted that Peter and John were there specifically as representatives
of the Apostles gathered at Jerusalem. It may very well be that Philip
wanted to make sure that the receiving of a group of Samaritans into the
Church, a gesture certain to stir up violent emotions in some Christians,
had the official support of the College of Apostles.
by James Kiefer