Italian professor Francesco D’Andria said archeologists found the tomb of the biblical figure – one of the 12 original disciples of Jesus – while working on the ruins of a newly unearthed church, the news agency reported Wednesday.
“We have been looking for Saint Philip’s tomb for years,” d’Andria said. “We finally found it in the ruins of a church which we excavated a month ago.”
The structure of the tomb and the writings on the wall proved it belonged to Philip, he added.
D’Andria said the tomb had not been opened, according to a report in The Queensland Times.
“One day it will be, no doubt,” he said, describing the discovery as “a major development both for archeology and the Christian world.”
The professor said the archaeologists have worked for years to find the tomb and he expected it to become an important Christian pilgrimage destination, according to a report by Fox News.
Philip, recognized as a Christian martyr, is thought to have died in Hierapolis around 80 AD. It is believed he was crucified upside down or beheaded.
Philip is described in the Gospels as a disciple from the city of Bethsaida, and is connected to Andrew and Peter, who were from the same town. He is also connected to Nathanael, whom he introduced to Jesus
Hierapolis, whose name means “sacred city,” was an ancient Greco-Roman city built atop a hot springs located in southwestern Turkey near Denizli. It dates back to the 2nd century BC.
(Above: St. Philip by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1611, now at the Museo del Prado, Madrid)