Biblical Archaeology Review 38:1, January/February 2012

Strata: Philip’s Tomb Discovered—But Not Where Expected

At about the same time as the July/August 2011 issue of BAR was hitting the newsstands, containing an article about St. Philip’s Martyrium,a author and excavation director Francesco D’Andria was making an exciting new discovery in the field at Hierapolis. 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 church, which he says originally contained Philip’s remains. The church was built around this tomb in the fourth or fifth century, and the nearby martyrium was built around the same time, in the early fifth century.

Philip’s remains 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.

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