My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Saturday, November 14th, is the day before the 40-day fast of Christmas. On this day we also we celebrate the memory of our Holy Apostle Philip. Apostle Philip was called by our Lord just after Apostle Peter. As we are told in the Holy Gospel of John, Philip was from the same city as the Apostles Andrew and Peter; Bethsaida. (John 1: 43) Philip started his Apostleship even before our Lord send him and the other Apostles to preach the Good News! He convinced Nathaniel to come and meet our Lord. He said to Nathaniel: “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” When Nathaniel questioned the news about our Lord, Philip with the utmost certainty said to him: “Come and see.” (John 1: 46) Needless to say that Nathaniel also became an Apostle!
After the decent of the Holy Spirit the Holy Apostles cast lots so that God would decide where each should go and preach. And it fell for Apostle Philip to preach in Asia minor. Philip went forth and preached the Gospel with great risk to his life and to the lives of those with him; his sister Mariamne and the Apostle Bartholomew. Many objected to the truth of our Lord and our holy Apostle would perform miracle after miracle; he made the blind to see and even raised people from the dead. In the city Αzotus, modern Ashdod of Israel a family believed in the Lord and were all baptized. Then the father asked Apostle Philip to heal his daughter’s ailing eye which was slowly progressing to blindness. To this the Apostle answered that he did not need to do it as the girl could it herself. He told her to place her hand over her ailing eye and to call upon the name of our Lord Jesus and she would be healed. The girl prayed to our Lord and her eye was instantly made well.
Such miracles were following the Apostle’s teaching everywhere he went. But those who opposed the truth had to stop him and as it was the common lot for most of the Apostles so it was for Apostle Philip to be nailed on the cross; together with Apostle Bartholomew. As soon as they had completed their evil act there was a powerful earthquake and the ground opened up and many fell in the depths of the chasms that had opened. Realizing their error they asked forgiveness from the Apostles and believed in the Lord. As soon as they asked forgiveness the earthquake stopped and they saw a glorious ladder extending from the earth to Heaven. Then they took Bartholomew down from the cross but Apostle Philip knowing that his end was at hand he asked them to leave him on the cross and from there he was teaching them the Good news till his gave his holy soul to our Lord.
May our holy Apostle Philip who is near to our Lord in Heaven pray for our healing and salvation. Amen.
Fr. Simeon Pardalis, FrSimeon@stnicholastarpon.org