Philip is mentioned as one of the Apostles by references in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John mentions him four times.
It is likely that he was initially a follower of John the Baptist. He is then mentioned at the feeding of the five thousand, again just before the Crucifixion and, finally, as part of the group that met after Jesus' Ascension in the upper room in Jerusalem.
The next we learn of Philip is that in AD36, after the death of Stephen, he left Jerusalem for Samaria, where he preached that Jesus was the Messiah for all and not only for those of the Jewish faith. The message was well received by the masses - especially as it was accompanied by a number of miracles.
From Samaria Philip is said to have made his way to Gaza. On his journey there he encountered an Ethiopian statesman reading aloud from Isaiah. Philip asked the man whether he understood what he was reading. The official said he did not, and Philip took the opportunity to explain the passage in the terms of Jesus' preaching. Philip then converted and baptized the royal finance minister by the side of the road who then returned to Ethiopia (Axum) to spread the Gospel. To this day the Ethiopian Orthodox Church traces its episcopal succession back to St Philip, who they see as ordaining the finance minister as their first bishop.
From Palestine he is said to have made his way to the town of Caesarea and settled there for twenty years, where he preached and raised a family. We are told that in AD58 both Luke and Paul visited him in Caesarea and met with his family, which included four unmarried daughters: Hermione, Chariline, Irais and Eutychiane, all of whom apparently possessed the gift of prophecy. It is known that all four were leaders within the Christian church and Hermione was martyred during the reign of Hadrian (AD117-AD138).
The family then moved to administer the faith in Asia after Paul's death. Eusebius cites the writer Gaius (AD160-AD230) who wrote: "There were four prophetesses in Hierapolis in Asia, daughters of Philip. Their grave is there, as is their father's." Whilst based in Hierapolis, Philip made several missionary trips. The Spanish writer Isidore of Seville (AD560-AD636) writes that Philip preached in France although other academics argue that he remained preaching throughout Asia Minor and Carthage (Tunisia).
It is thought that Philip died during the reign of Domitian and was martyred aged 87 by being crucified upside down.
Other legends say that Philip is represented by a long staff surmounted with a cross because he suffered death by being suspended by the neck from a tall pillar.
According to tradition, Philip is buried in Rome.