Philip, Deacon and Evangelist

Philip the Evangelist, later regarded as a deacon, who is not to be confused with Philip the Apostle, was one of the seven Greek-speaking men chosen by the apostles to distribute food and alms to the widows and poor of Jerusalem (Acts 6).

After the death of Stephen, another of the Seven, Philip went to Samaria to preach the Gospel (Acts 8), converting the people there from the sorceries of Simon Magus. Simon himself is said to have been one of his converts. In his travels south to Gaza, Philip encountered an Ethiopian eunuch, a servant of the Ethiopian queen, reading the passage in Isaiah about the suffering servant. The two traveled together discussing the passage, and the Ethiopian became a believer. He asked for baptism and received the sacrament from Philip.

Philip traveled as a missionary, preaching in every city from Azotus (Ashdod) northwards to Caesarea, where he and his four daughters, who were known as prophets, established a residence. It was there that he entertained the Apostle Paul (Acts 21). Philip’s activities toward the end of his life are the subject of speculation, but Basil the Great writes that he became bishop of Tralles in Lydia in Asia Minor.

Philip’s feast day in the Eastern Church is October 11, and in the West the date is usually June 6. Some Anglican Churches observe his feast on October 11.

prepared from The New Book of Festivals and Commemorations

The Collect

Holy God, no one is excluded from your love, and your truth transforms the minds of all who seek you: As your servant Philip was led to embrace the fullness of your salvation and to bring the stranger to Baptism, so give us all the grace to be heralds of the Gospel, proclaiming your love in Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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