By Gil Zohar
A team of Italian archaeologists has announced the discovery here of what they believe to be the tomb of Philip, one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, at the ancient Asia Minor city of Hierapolis in Turkey’s Aegean province of Denizli, and are planning to excavate the unopened grave soon.
The discovery of the grave of the New Testament saint, who came to Hierapolis – known today as Pamukkale – nearly 2,000 years ago to spread the Gospel and was crucified upside down by the Romans, will attract immense attention around the world, said excavator Francesco D’Andria, director of the Institute of Archaeological Heritage, Monuments and Sites at Italy’s National Research Council in Lecce.
Philip’s tomb has traditionally been associated with the martyrium church built at the site, though no evidence of the ancient burial was ever found. In July, however, D’Andria and his team located a smaller church less than 150 feet away from the martyrium that appears to contain the grave of the apostle.
“As we were cleaning out the new church we discovered a month ago, we finally found the grave,” said D’Andria. “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.”