Philip and James, Apostles, have been celebrated together on this day in May since the revision of the calendar in 1969. (They were originally commemorated on May 1st, but that was adopted as Saint Joseph the Worker, as an antidote to the communist ‘International Workers’ Day). Hence, here we are, on the Tres de Mayo.
Philip appears a few times in the Gospels: He points out Nathaniel to Christ; it is he whom Christ asks how they will feed the 5000, ‘to test him’. And it is Philip who asks our Lord to ‘show us the Father, and we will be satisfied’, to which Christ replies, ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father’, that He and the Father ‘are one’, in nature, in substance – recall the homoousios for which Saint Athatansius fought – but distinct in Person, in relation. The Son is the perfect image of the Father, sent into the world for our redemption, and, as He Himself reminds us just prior to this exchange with Philip, the Son is the one and unique Way to the Father, the Truth and the Life.
A non-canonical tradition has it that Philip preached with Bartholomew (the Nathaniel of Saint John’s Gospel) to the Greeks in Asia Minor with much success, for which they were, like Saint Peter, eventually crucified upside down in the city of Hieropolis,