The Martyrium Bread Stamp of the Apostle Philip in Hierapolis
On display in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts today is a bronze bread stamp from the 500s that
significantly helped archaeologists understand the layout of the martyrium complex of the apostle Philip, built on a high hill above the city of Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale).
The bread stamp shows Philip holding a loaf of bread and standing between two buildings with crosses on top. The loaf of bread likely refers to the Gospel story of the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:5). On the left of Philip on the stamp is the Martyrium Church containing Philip’s tomb and on the right is the large domed Martyrdom Hall. Because the martyrium complex attract- ed multitudes of Christian pilgrims, a processional road with a long flight of steps was constructed that led from the center of the city up to the martyrium.