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Saints Philip and James - Apostles

Why does the Church celebrate the Feast of Saints Philip and James?

On May 3rd, the Church celebrates the Feast of Saints Philip and James to honor two  early disciples of Jesus, who were among the original Twelve Apostles. The St. James of this feast day is James the Less, or Lesser, who was the brother of the Apostle Jude Thaddeus; both being sons of Alphaeus and of one of the “Three Marys” at the Cross.

Why do Saints Philip and James the Less share a feast day?

It is believed that the reason Sts. Philip and James share a feast day is because their relics were brought to Rome together in early May of 560 A.D.. They were placed in a Basilica dedicated to them, located near the center of Rome. This Basilica has since been rededicated to the Twelve Holy Apostles.

What is Saint Philip the patron saint of?

Saint Philip is known to be the patron saint of hatters, pastry chefs, and bakers due to his interaction with Jesus during the feeding of the five thousand, as recounted in the Gospel of John 6:4-11.    

Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.

Philip had not yet known what the Son of Man could do. After this miracle, Philip was able to witness the power of God.

What is Saint James the Less the patron saint of?

Saint James the Lesser is most commonly known to be the patron saint of hatmakers (along with Saint Philip), pharmacists, and Uruguay. 

How did Jesus call Saint Philip?

The account of when Jesus called Saint Phillip to follow him can be found in Sacred Scripture in John 1:43, The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” In the Scriptural lists of the 12 apostles, Saint Philip always comes fifth, which leads us to understand that he was among the first. Jesus had just called St. Peter and St. Andrew to follow him the day before he went to Galilee, where he called Phillip to follow him. 

Where in the Bible does it talk about Saint Philip?

St. Philip the Apostle is mentioned in the Bible mostly in the Gospel of John. John 1:43 tells of when he is called by Jesus. John 1:45-51 tells of when Philip found Nathaniel and invited him to meet Jesus; 

Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Saint Philip is also mentioned when Jesus feeds the five thousand (John 6:1-15), at the Last Supper (John 14:7-14), and in the upper room before the descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:1-3).

Was Saint Philip a follower of John the Baptist?

It is a likely tradition that Saint Philip was a follower of John, and present when John said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God.” His call came shortly afterwards, when Jesus encountered Him while returning to Galilee from the Jordan Valley. 

How did Jesus call Saint James the Less?

Saint James and his brother Jude were called to the apostleship in the second year of Christ's preaching, soon after the Passover of that year. 

Where in the Bible does it talk about Saint James the Less?

Though St. James the Less is not mentioned very often in Scripture, accounts of James can be found in the New Testament, mostly listed with the other Apostles (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, and Acts 1:13). 

What is the difference between Saint James the Great and Saint James the Less?

Both James the Greater and James the Lesser, whose feast day this is, were apostles of Jesus. James the Great was the brother of John, a son of Zebedee, and called at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. James the Less, however, was the brother of the Apostle Jude (also known as Thaddeus), and a son of Alphaeus. He was called later than James the son of Zebedee and this may be the reason for the appellation Lesser. Others suggest it may be due to his stature or age. Whatever the truth, there is nothing lesser about the way he died as Bishop of Jerusalem, stoned to death for his faith in Christ.

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