Philip of Heraclea
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Revision as of 09:30, October 24, 2012
The holy, glorious, right-victorious hieromartyr Philip of Heraclea, also known as Phillippus of Heraclea, was the bishop of Heraclea in Thrace during the persecutions of emperor Diocletian. His feast day is October 22.
About 304, Bishop Philip, along with his deacon, Severus, and two priests, Hermes and Eusebius, were initially confronted by the Roman authorities when the authorities closed Philip's church. As Bp. Philip then summoned the brethren for worship in the open air, his retort to the authorities was, "Do you imagine that God dwells within walls, and not rather in the hearts of men?"
Next the governor, Bassus, ordered Bp. Philip to turn over all the sacred vessels and books from the church to him. While at first Philip agreed to surrender the vessels, he refused to turnover the Scriptures, commenting that, "It is not fitting that you should ask for them or that I should give them up." Where upon Bp. Philip and his deacon were scourged and the demanded materials and books were seized. Then when ordered, Philip and Hermes refused to worship the emperors, the goddess Fortune, and Hercules, the deity of Heraclea.
Baccus, whose wife was a Christian, was soon replaced by Justinus who opposed Christians more sternly. After Justinus replaced Baccus as governor, Philip was interrogated again, and again without success. Bp. Philip was then dragged back to the prison by his feet. There he spent the next seven months with Hermes and a priest Severus, before the three were taken to Adrianopolis.
In Adrianopolis, Justinus again confronted Philip. Philip was beaten unmercifully for his stubbornness in refusing to submit to the governor's demands. Hermes was treated just as brutally. Finally, Justinus sentenced them to be burned at the stake. Philip was so badly beaten that he had to be carried to the stake where he and Hermes were martyred together. As the fires were lit and while the smoke and fire enveloped them, the saints sang praises and gave thanks to God. St. Severus followed them on the next day.