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St. Philip and St. James the Apostles
Click to read: Collect, Epistle, and Gospel
Sts. Philip & James
There is not much known about Philip who was from Galilee. The only information about Philip appears in the Gospel according to John.

After Jesus had asked Peter and Andrew to follow him, he next asked Philip to do the same. Philip was a married man with children but he did not hesitate when asked to follow the Lord. He was the one who convinced Nathaniel to also follow the Lord.

In the famous Gospel story of the loaves and fishes, Philip was the one that Jesus proposed the difficulty of feeding the multitudes. In a way, Philip was a practical man and may have been considered the “manager” of food and supplies. He also was present at the Feast of Cana.

After the Lord’s Ascension, Philip, as did the other Apostles, preached the gospel all over the world. It appears that Philip lived to a very advanced age. Philip was the only Evangelist in the Bible! Philip laid his life down for Christ, being stoned to death after reaching many with the gospel.


James, to distinguish him from the other apostle of the same name, was called the James the Less. He also at times was called James the Just. It is believed that the term “the less” was used because he was either younger or smaller in stature than the other James, the son of Zebedee. James and his brother, Jude, were called to be apostles in the second year of Jesus’ preaching. James lived in the shadow of others. During the last crucial days of his Lord’s life, his activities and whereabouts are unknown. In fact his name appears in the New Testament only in connection with someone else.

James witnessed the Resurrection of our Lord and became a leader of the church in Jerusalem and by tradition the first bishop there.

James and others were accused of violating laws and James was delivered to the people to be stoned to death. They carried him up to the top of the temple and ordered him to make a public renunciation of his faith in Christ. He refused to do so and he was thrown headlong down to the ground and was then stoned to death. Since the last blow on his head was with a club, that became part of his symbol.

Adapted from
John James

Our Collect, after addressing Almighty God as the Being “whom truly to know is everlasting life,” immediately proceeds to point out Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth, and the life”—because we have no saving knowledge of God, as the author of everlasting life, except through his Son. “No man,” saith Christ, “cometh unto the Father but by me.” Truly to know the Father, we must truly know the Son. By this designating himself “as the way, the truth, and the life,” the Saviour beautifully illustrates the varied nature of his office. He is the way—the straight and narrow way of holiness, which without his guidance we could not find, and without his assistance could not keep. He directs us where to find this guidance; and how to gain this assistance; even by searching diligently the scriptures. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” In them the directions for a holy life are laid down so distinctly, and the sources whence we can gain the aid we need, are so clearly pointed out, that we have but to “seek, and we shall find.”

Christ is the truth. The true path is that, pointed out thus by his holy Gospel; and the true guide, his holy Spirit. Christ is also the Life. In him we must be born again, new creatures, alive unto God. We must be renewed both as to the character of our actions, and the motives of them. We must animate ourselves to a spiritual life in Christ here, in the hope of enteral Life through him hereafter.

When therefore you repeat this Collect, examine yourself, whether Jesus Christ be to you, individually, “the way, the truth, and the life.” Judge yourself, whether you guide your way of life by the precepts of his gospel—true and just in all your dealings, of a sober and godly conversation, forgiving those who injure you, restraining your evil tempers, and doing to others as you would that others should do to you. Is he the truth to you? … Is he your life?

If by God’s grace on your prayers, you be enabled thus perfectly to know his Son Jesus Christ “to be the way, the truth, and the life,” you then follow the steps of the holy apostles St. Philip and St. James, and may hope “steadfastly to walk,” as they walked, “in the way that leadeth to eternal life, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.” Once in this path, keep it. Keep it, however narrow, however thorny, however rugged, however toilsome.

James. J. (1826). A Comment Upon the Collects Appointed to be Used in the Church of England Before the Epistle and Gospel on Sundays And Holydays Throughout the Year (2nd ed.). Thomas Bell (London).

O ALMIGHTY God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us perfectly to know thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life; that, following the steps of thy holy Apostles, Saint Philip and Saint James, we may stedfastly walk in the way that leadeth to eternal life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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These devotionals are based on the Calendar of the Book of Common Prayer (1962, Canada)

The Missionary Diocese of St. Luke the Evangelist
Victoria Avenue North
Hamilton, ON L8L 5G1

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