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Persecution and Legends

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Chapter Summary

The archaeological evidence in Hierapolis shows vividly that Philip was venerated by numerous devotees and that his cult enjoyed a monumental architectural setting. In contrast to the account of Paul's disciples Archippus, Philemon, and Apphia, the account of Philip's martyrdom was reflected in an active devotional cult, which provided an adequate Sitz im Leben for the legend. Nevertheless the text from the Acts of Philip cannot be used as evidence of an actual persecution of Christians or repressive measures against them in the Lycus Valley under Trajan. The martyrdom of Sagaris reminds us of the existential peril Christians faced when they confessed their faith. Sagaris was documented earlier in the church history of Eusebius; his absence from the martyrologies is also vexing. Repressive measures taken against Christians also claimed their victims in the Lycus Valley, the most prominent initially being.

Keywords: Archippus; Bishop Sagaris; Christian community; Hierapolis; Laodicea; Lycus Valley; Paul's disciples; Philemon; Philip's martyrdom



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