Bible Archaeology

Tomb of St Philip Discovered in Turkey

That’s the claim:

The tomb of St. Philip the Apostle, one of the original 12 disciples of Christianity’s central figure Jesus Christ, has been discovered during the ongoing excavations in Turkey’s south-western province of Denizli.

Italian professor Francesco D’Andria, the head of the excavation team at the Hierapolis ancient city in Denizli, told reporters on Tuesday that experts had reached the tomb of St. Philip whose name is mentioned in the Bible as one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.

Professor D’Andria said archeologists had been working for years to find the tomb of the Biblical figure, and finally, they had managed to reach the monument while working on the ruins of a newly-unearthed church in Hierapolis.

D’Andria said the structure of the tomb and the writings on it proved that it belonged to St. Philip the Apostle, who is recognized as a martyr in the history of Christianity.

Describing the discovery as a major development both for archeology and the Christian world, D’Andria said the tomb, which had not been opened yet, was expected to become an important Christian pilgrimage destination.

Hierapolis, whose name means “sacred city”, is an ancient city located next to the renowned Pamukkale, white Travertine terraces, in Denizli province. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city, famous for its historical hot springs used as a spa since the 2nd century, is a mixture of Pagan, Roman, Jewish and early Christian influences.

Ancient tradition associates Hierapolis with St. Philip the Apostle, who is believed to have died in the city around 80 AD. The follower, who is known as the apostle who preached in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia, is said to have been martyred in Hierapolis. The legend is that St. Philip was crucified upside-down or martyred by beheading.

After the apostle’s death, an octagonal tomb named “The Martryium” was erected for him where he is believed to have been martyred.

Fox also reports on the news here.

As does Hurriyet Daily:

… We are extremely happy and proud to have discovered the grave of a saint whose name appears in the bible – this surely is an important discovery for religious tourism, archaeology and Christendom,” the professor said.


John Stott Has Died

An evangelical of note,  John Sott, has died:

The Rev John Stott, who helped lead a resurgence of evangelicalism in Britain, has died at the age of 90.

US preacher Billy Graham paid tribute to him, saying the evangelical world had lost one of its greatest spokesmen.

Dr Stott’s wide-ranging influence came partly from more than 50 books which helped to explain complex theology in a way lay people could easily understand.

The BBC’s Robert Pigott said Dr Stott was good at simply expressing “the complexities of theology”.

Our religious affairs correspondent said: “Some regarded this key figure in a traditionalist branch of Protestantism, with its emphasis on winning souls for Christianity, as a kind of ‘Protestant pope’.”

Seen as a leading figure in promoting evangelical churches in the developing world, Dr Stott did not become as well known as some other leading evangelists.

He played a critical role as a Christian thinker, helping to revive evangelicalism in England after World War II at a time when this traditionalist Protestant branch of Christianity had lost almost all its influence and its followers were widely derided as uneducated.

Born to an agnostic father and a Lutheran mother, Dr Stott was ordained a minister in the Church of England.

He gained popularity as a preacher, stressing the need for social responsibility.

In 1974 Dr Stott was one of the principal authors of the Lausanne Covenant, which laid out the beliefs on which evangelicalism was built into a worldwide movement.

However, it was his success in decoding the complexities of theology for lay people for which he will be best remembered.

Billy Graham described Dr Stott as a “friend and advisor” and said he looked forward to meeting him in heaven.

Wikipedia has more on him here.

There is a memorial website here.

And the Archbishop of Canterbury remembers John Stott here.



Allegations of Clerical Abuse Double in a Year

The Catholic Herald has the sad news:

The number of people in the Catholic Church accused of sexual or physical abuse has more than doubled between 2009 and 2010, according to the latest annual report by the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC).

The Commission has attributed the rise to the papal visit, during which Pope Benedict met victims of abuse and professionals employed to safeguard the young and vulnerable within the Catholic Church.

The report, released today, said: “The NCSC is both challenged and heartened by the fact that last year and, in particular, following the Pope’s visit more people have felt confident enough to come forward to report incidents of abuse in the hope of finding some kind of reconciliation and closure.”…

The Commission, chaired by Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal, found that of the total allegations of abuse made last year, the majority were alleged to have taken place during the 1970s or earlier. Last year there were 83 allegations of abuse relating to 92 alleged abusers and 103 victims…

Rest here.