Early tradition associates Philip with the city, but scholars differ over whether it was Philip the apostle (Matthew 10:3) or Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:8).
This was the home of Papias (about A.D. 60 to 130) who was a disciple of the apostle John and a companion of Polycarp. Fragments of his writings about the apostles survive in Irenaeus and Eusebius. Eusebius (active about A.D. 185), tells us that Papias wrote as follows:
“Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him.” He adds that John, the disciple who leaned on Jesus’ breast, published a Gospel from Ephesus (Against Heresies III.1.1).
Some things of interest to see at Hierapolis include the hot springs and limestone formations, the monumental Arch of Domitian and Roman Street. This entire region suffered from the policies of the Emperor Domitian. The photo below shows the theater set against the surrounding hills.
The theater was built in the 2nd century A.D., renovated in the 3rd century, and again in the 4th century.
During the 4th-century renovations, the orchestra area of the theater was altered to allow it to be filled with water for staging mock naval battles and other water presentations. (Fant and Reddish, A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey, 213)