PHILIP OF ANATOLIA. The Coptic History of the Church contains the following story of Philip of Anatolia, a bishop (ed. Orlandi, 1970, Vol. 2, pp. 16-17). He observed that the soldiers in the command headquarters at Damascus were pagans and heretics, and that whenever they leveled taxes against the Christians, they persecuted the Christians unjustly. Therefore, he wrote to emperors Valens and Valentinianus to bring the matter to their attention and further explained that Christians could not become soldiers because of the apostles' commandments. As a result, the emperors took steps to alleviate the situation.
Philip of Anatolia is named nowhere else, neither in Coptic nor in Greek traditions. However, attributed to him is an Encomium of the Virgin Mary that has survived in two manuscripts, both fragmentary and unedited. A ninth-century manuscript comes from the White Monastery (DAYR ANBA SHINUDAH), and an eleventh-century manuscript is conserved in Dublin at the Chester Beatty Library (MS 819). In these fragments, which apparently form the beginning of the work, the author has composed a prologue of laudations to Mary, after which he explains the significance of each letter in her name. He then narrates the birth of Mary, describes the rivers of Paradise, traces the lineage of Joseph, recounts the marriage of Joseph and Mary, and tells of the birth of Jesus.
The content and style of this encomium indicate that it could be assigned to the homiletic production of the seventh to eighth centuries. As to the origin of the attribution, two hypotheses are proposed. (1) If the section from the Coptic History of the Church is authentic in the sense that it belongs to the redaction of the fifth century, the author of the homily appropriated Philip's name for undetermined reasons. (2) If this particular section from the history is an interpolation made in the seventh century, as is reasonable to believe because of the mention of Damascus, then both the history extract and the homily could possibly be the work of the same editor.
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