In 2011, the Italian Professor Francesco D’andria had announced the apparent discovery: “Jesus’ apostle’s tomb unearthed in Turkey”.
The discovery of the grave of the biblical saint, who was killed by the Romans, 2000 years ago, will attract immense attention around, said D’Andria. St. Philip, one of the 12 apostles, came to Hierapolis, 2000 years ago to spread the Christianity before being killed by the Romans, the Professor said. D’Andria has been leading archaeological excavations at the ancient city for 32 years.
“Until recently, we thought the grave of St. Philip was on Martyrs’ Hill, but we discovered no traces of him in the geophysical research conducted in that area. A month ago, we discovered the remnants of an unknown church, 40 meters away from the St. Philip Church on Martyrs’Hill. And in that church we discovered the grave of St. Philip,” said D’Andria.
“St. Philip is considered a martyr. In fact, the church built in his name on the Martyrs’ Hill is, for this reason, also called Martyrion, despite the fact there were no traces of the grave of St. Philip. As we were cleaning out the new church we discovered a month ago, we finally found the grave. With close examination, we determined that the grave had been moved from its previous location in the St. Philip Church to this new church in the fifth century, during the Byzantine era. We are extremely happy and proud to have discovered the grave of a saint whose name appears in the bible – this surely is an important discovery for religious tourism, archaeology and Christendom,” the professor said.
Where is Pamukkale ? (Hierapolis)
The ancient importance of the city was such that the area, which includes the famed white travertine formations and hot springs at nearby Pamukkale, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hierapolis was founded in the 3rd century BC and by 133 BC was under the control of the Roman Empire. Its importance lay in the fact that it connected trade routes from the interior of Anatolia to the Mediterranean Sea. As such it was one of the most important Hellenistic and Roman cities in the region of Phrygia. This was the area through which Paul passed with Silas on the apostle’s second missionary journey in order to strengthen the churches he had begun with Barnabas on his first journey (Acts 14, 16). A devastating earthquake leveled the city in the 7th century AD after which it went into decline. However, the veneration of Philip continued with the building of small churches in the 9th and 10th centuries among the ruins of the martyrium. And even after the conquest of the area by the Seljuk Turks in the 12th century, western pilgrims continued to visit the site as its association with Philip remained unchanged.