Philip and James the less

Philip and James the less
Philip and James the less

Philip and James the less

Today, May 3rd, the Christian tradition commemorates Saints Philip and James the Less, two of the Twelve Apostles mentioned in the New Testament. They are celebrated together on this day in many Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, and some Protestant churches.

Saint Philip

Philip was one of the first disciples of Jesus Christ, prominently featured in the Gospel of John. He is believed to have come from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip is mentioned several times in the New Testament, notably in John’s Gospel where he plays a significant role in the story of the feeding of the 5,000 and the call of Nathanael. Christian tradition holds that Philip preached the Gospel in Greece, Phrygia, and Syria and was martyred for his faith. Various accounts suggest he was either crucified or died by stoning.

Saint James the Less

Saint James the Less is often identified as “James, son of Alphaeus” and referred to as “the Less” possibly to distinguish him from James, son of Zebedee (“James the Greater“). He is less prominent in the Scriptures, but is mentioned in the lists of the apostles in the synoptic gospels and Acts. The epithet “the Less” may refer to either his stature or the lesser extent of information about him. Tradition holds that he served as the Bishop of Jerusalem and authored the Epistle of James in the New Testament, emphasizing the importance of actions borne out of faith. James the Less is believed to have been martyred in Jerusalem, either by being thrown down from the temple or stoned to death.

Their Legacy

Both apostles are remembered for their faithful service and dedication to spreading the teachings of Jesus. Their feast day provides an opportunity to reflect on their contributions to the early Christian community and the enduring impact of their witness. Their lives and martyrdoms underscore themes of commitment and sacrifice in the Christian faith, inspiring believers to live out their faith with courage and conviction.

If you’re interested in learning more about their teachings or specific contributions to early Christian thought, let me know, and I can find more detailed sources or writings attributed to them.

Biblical references

Here are some of the key biblical references for Saints Philip and James the Less from the King James Bible:

Saint Philip

  1. John 1:43-46 – The first mention of Philip in the New Testament, where Jesus calls Philip to follow him:”The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.”
  2. John 6:5-7 – Philip’s response to Jesus about feeding the 5,000:”When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.”
  3. John 12:20-22 – Philip and the request of the Greeks who wished to see Jesus:”And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
  4. John 14:8-9 – Philip’s dialogue with Jesus during the Last Supper:”Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

Saint James the Less

  1. Matthew 10:3 – James is listed among the Twelve Apostles:”Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
  2. Mark 3:18 – Another listing of the apostles includes James:”And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,
  3. Luke 6:15 – In Luke’s account of the apostles:”Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
  4. Acts 1:13 – James is mentioned as being present with the disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem after Jesus’ ascension:”And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

These passages offer a glimpse into their roles and interactions within the New Testament narrative. 

The both died as martyrs for their faith

Let us repent and pray for those who are persecuted today and for the persecuters of God’s church

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