St. Philip the Deacon—One of the First Seven Deacons

St. Philip traveled from town to town, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Rembrandt, “The Baptism of the Eunuch,” 1626
Rembrandt, “The Baptism of the Eunuch,” 1626 (photo: Public Domain)

Thus Philip went down to [the] city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. ―Acts 8:5–6

Philip the Deacon is also known as Philip the Evangelist because of the amazing success he had in sharing the good news of Christ. He has been confused with Philip the Apostle at times by early Bible readers; however, a more careful analysis of Scripture reveals that they were two distinct men.

Getting a new church off the ground was an immense job for the apostles. Before long, they realized they needed help. They gathered together many believers in Jerusalem and asked them to select seven reputable men “filled with the Spirit and wisdom” to help with some of the responsibilities. Philip was one of these seven men chosen.

Shortly after this selection process, Stephen, another one of “the Seven,” was stoned to death for his powerful witness to the Word of God. This stoning prompted many Christians to disperse, seeking safer areas, and Philip went to Samaria.

The Samaritans at that time had been greatly impressed by a magician named Simon, but Philip’s powerful faith, demonstrated for all to see, quickly changed that. Astounded at the words that Philip spoke and the miracles he performed in the name of Christ, these openhearted Samaritans dropped the magician, were baptized, and fully embraced Christianity.

Another person Philip successfully converted to Christianity was the treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia. Philip found this Ethiopian court official reading but not understanding the writings of the prophet Isaiah. Philip kindly helped by explaining not only the words but the fulfillment of the Isaiah’s words as well―the life and glory of Jesus Christ. The Ethiopian was immediately won over and baptized, whereupon Philip was mystically swept away by the spirit of the Lord.

St. Philip traveled from town to town, proclaiming Christ’s news. He eventually settled in Caesarea with his four prophetess daughters, and at one point, he provided lodging for Paul (and possibly Luke as well).

 

Six Days of Bible Journaling with St. Philip the Deacon

While older saint books might have St. Philip the Deacon’s memorial as June 6, the updated Roman Martyrology has moved his memorial to Oct. 11. Because of his influence and well-done explanation connecting passages from Isaiah to Jesus as Messiah to the Ethiopian, St. Philip the Deacon could be a special saint for apologists. Consider spending six days with St. Philip. Read the passages below—one a day. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your ponderings—maybe take in the footnotes, jot down a few inspirations, and ask St. Philip to pray for special intentions. See what new insights you might glean from St. Philip the Deacon by reading these passages at a thoughtful, prayerful pace.

  • Day 1) Acts 6:1–7
  • Day 2) Acts 8:1, 4–8
  • Day 3) Acts 8:9–13
  • Day 4) Acts 8:26–33
  • Day 5) Acts 8:34–40
  • Day 6) Acts 21:8–10
Close-up of an altar prepared for Mass.

Deacon Ordained in Spanish Diocese After a Decade of No Ordinations

Deacon Marín said one of the most important moments in the discovery of his vocation was the death of his father, something that he described as “a blow that made me consider my vocation more thoughtfully and prompted me to say ‘yes’ to the Lord and enter the seminary.”