Hierapolis (Turkey)

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Hierapolis (Greek: Ἱεράπολις holy city) was an ancient Greco-Roman city built on top of hot springs in south western Turkey near Denizli, formerly the Roman province of Asia. The city was the final residence of the Apostle Philip and where, in 80 CE, he was martyred by crucifixion and was buried. A martyrium was built on the spot where Philip was crucified, the ruins of which were recently uncovered by archaeologists.[1]


Founded in the third century before Christ, Hierapolis was situated on layers of solid limestone formed by lime saturated water that flowed for centuries to form a raised level plateau. By late in the second century the city came under the control of the Roman empire and became important as one of the cities in the region of Phrygia. The area also developed a significant Jewish community through which the Apostle Paul passed on his second and third missionary journeys with Barnabas and Silas.

The Apostle Philip is associated with Hierapolis through the non-canonical Acts of Philip that records his traveling through Lydia in Asia Minor with is sister Mariamne and Apostle Bartholomew preaching the Holy Gospel. In Hierapolis, the wife of the proconsul, Nicanora, heard Philip's preaching and came to believe. With her belief she was cured of a number of illnesses. The proconsul, however, was incensed. He had the apostles arrested. They were then scourged, dragged through the streets to the temple of snakes where they were hanged, heads down. with nails and hooks in their heels and ankles.

When some of the faithful tried to rescue Philip, he refused their help, telling them to stay away as the acts of the pagans were the end of his life. After Philip's death he was buried where he died and a church was built over his grave.


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