Saints Philip and James

Saints Philip and James

Feast day May 3

Saints Stories for All Ages

Philip and James were both apostles, and both served Christ faithfully during the very early days of the Church.

Philip seems to have been an enthusiastic person. He was the one who brought his friend Nathanael to Jesus, insisting to Nathanael that he had found the person about whom Moses had written. Some years later it was Philip who made arrangements, with the help of Andrew, to have a group of Greek Gentiles brought to Jesus. Philip the apostle is not to be confused with the deacon Philip of Acts 8, who preached in Samaria and baptized the Ethiopian, although some writers say that they are the same person. Philip also had a practical, down-to-earth mind. He was the apostle who commented that it would take a considerable amount of money to feed a crowd of more than 5,000 hungry men, women, and children. It was Philip who asked to see the Father when Jesus spoke about him at the Last Supper.

James was the son of Alphaeus and seems to have been born in Caesarea. He is mentioned less frequently in the New Testament than Philip is. Sometimes James is called the Less, which might be a hint that he was a short person or else that he was younger than the other apostle named James.

After Jesus’ death James continued to preach the Gospel and is believed to have become the first bishop of Jerusalem. Assuming that James and the first bishop of Jerusalem are one and the same person, then he met his death as a martyr in that city about the year a.d. 62. Tradition identifies James as the author of the epistle associated with his name.


from Saints and Feast Days, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio

Image credit:  St. Philip by Peter Paul Rubens, 1611. Public Domain via Wikimedia.