Saint Mark

General Information

In the Bible, Mark was the son of Mary of Jerusalem (whose house was used as a gathering place by early Christians) and the cousin of Saint Barnabas. Mark was his Roman surname; his first name was John (Acts 12:12). He accompanied Barnabas and Saint Paul on their first missionary journey (Acts 12 and 13) but abruptly left them at Perga. Paul therefore refused to take Mark on the second trip, a decision that precipitated a break between the apostle and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-40). Paul and Mark later reconciled their differences (Col. 4:10; Philemon 24).

Mark was also associated with Peter (Acts 12:12; 1 Peter 5:13). He is credited with writing the earliest Gospel, which reflects Peter's teaching in Jerusalem, although the Gentile orientation and seeming lack of knowledge about Palestine are evidence to the contrary. The tradition that he founded the church in Alexandria is of dubious value.

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Hiebert, D. Edmond, Mark: A Portrait of the Servant (1974).


Saint Mark

Advanced Information

Mark, the evangelist; "John whose surname was Mark" (Acts 12:12, 25). Mark (Marcus, Col. 4:10, etc.) was his Roman name, which gradually came to supersede his Jewish name John. He is called John in Acts 13:5, 13, and Mark in 15:39, 2 Tim. 4:11, etc. He was the son of Mary, a woman apparently of some means and influence, and was probably born in Jerusalem, where his mother resided (Acts 12:12). Of his father we know nothing. He was cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10). It was in his mother's house that Peter found "many gathered together praying" when he was released from prison; and it is probable that it was here that he was converted by Peter, who calls him his "son" (1 Pet. 5: 13). It is probable that the "young man" spoken of in Mark 14:51, 52 was Mark himself. He is first mentioned in Acts 12: 25. He went with Paul and Barnabas on their first journey (about A.D. 47) as their "minister," but from some cause turned back when they reached Perga in Pamphylia (Acts 12:25; 13:13).

Three years afterwards a "sharp contention" arose between Paul and Barnabas (15:36-40), because Paul would not take Mark with him. He, however, was evidently at length reconciled to the apostle, for he was with him in his first imprisonment at Rome (Col. 4:10; Philemon 24). At a later period he was with Peter in Babylon (1 Pet. 5:13), then, and for some centuries afterwards, one of the chief seats of Jewish learning; and he was with Timothy in Ephesus when Paul wrote him during his second imprisonment (2 Tim. 4:11). He then disappears from view.

(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)


St. Mark

Catholic Information

(Greek Markos, Latin Marcus).

It is assumed in this article that the individual referred to in Acts as John Mark (xii, 12, 25; xv, 37), John (xiii, 5, 13), Mark (xv, 39), is identical with the Mark mentioned by St. Paul (Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24) and by St. Peter (1 Peter 5:13). Their identity is not questioned by any ancient writer of note, while it is strongly suggested, on the one hand by the fact that Mark of the Pauline Epistles was the cousin (ho anepsios) of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), to whom Mark of Acts seems to have been bound by some special tie (Acts 15:37, 39); on the other by the probability that the Mark, whom St. Peter calls his son (1 Peter 5:13), is no other than the son of Mary, the Apostle's old friend in Jerusalem (Acts 21:12). To the Jewish name John was added the Roman pronomen Marcus, and by the latter he was commonly known to the readers of Acts (xv, 37, ton kaloumenon Markon) and of the Epistles. Mark's mother was a prominent member of the infant Church at Jerusalem; it was to her house that Peter turned on his release from prison; the house was approached by a porch (pulon), there was a slave girl (paidiske), probably the portress, to open the door, and the house was a meeting-place for the brethren, "many" of whom were praying there the night St. Peter arrived from prison (Acts 12:12-13).

When, on the occasion of the famine of A.D. 45-46, Barnabas and Saul had completed their ministration in Jerusalem, they took Mark with them on their return to Antioch (Acts 12:25). Not long after, when they started on St. Paul's first Apostolic journey, they had Mark with them as some sort of assistant (hupereten, Acts 13:5); but the vagueness and variety of meaning of the Greek term makes it uncertain in what precise capacity he acted. Neither selected by the Holy Spirit, nor delegated by the Church of Antioch, as were Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:2-4), he was probably taken by the Apostles as one who could be of general help. The context of Acts, xiii, 5, suggests that he helped even in preaching the Word. When Paul and Barnabas resolved to push on from Perga into central Asia Minor, Mark, departed from them, if indeed he had not already done so at Paphos, and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). What his reasons were for turning back, we cannot say with certainty; Acts, xv, 38, seems to suggest that he feared the toil. At any rate, the incident was not forgotten by St. Paul, who refused on account of it to take Mark with him on the second Apostolic journey. This refusal led to the separation of Paul and Barnabas, and the latter, taking Mark with him, sailed to Cyprus (Acts 15:37-40). At this point (A.D. 49-50) we lose sight of Mark in Acts, and we meet him no more in the New Testament, till he appears some ten years afterwards as the fellow-worker of St. Paul, and in the company of St. Peter, at Rome.

St. Paul, writing to the Colossians during his first Roman imprisonment (A.D. 59-61), says: "Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, saluteth you, and Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, touching whom you have received commandments; if he come unto you, receive him" (Colossians 4:10). At the time this was written, Mark was evidently in Rome, but had some intention of visiting Asia Minor. About the same time St. Paul sends greetings to Philemon from Mark, whom he names among his fellow-workers (sunergoi, Philem., 24). The Evangelist's intention of visiting Asia Minor was probably carried out, for St. Paul, writing shortly before his death to Timothy at Ephesus, bids him pick up Mark and bring him with him to Rome, adding "for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11). If Mark came to Rome at this time, he was probably there when St. Paul was martyred. Turning to I Peter, v, 13, we read: "The Church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you, and (so doth) Mark my son" (Markos, o huios aou). This letter was addressed to various Churches of Asia Minor (1 Peter 1:1), and we may conclude that Mark was known to them. Hence, though he had refused to penetrate into Asia Minor with Paul and Barnabas, St. Paul makes it probable, and St. Peter certain, that he went afterwards, and the fact that St. Peter sends Mark's greeting to a number of Churches implies that he must have been widely known there. In calling Mark his "son", Peter may possibly imply that he had baptized him, though in that case teknon might be expected rather than huios (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Timothy 1:2, 18; 2 Timothy 1:2; 2:1; Titus 1:4; Philemon 10). The term need not be taken to imply more than affectionate regard for a younger man, who had long ago sat at Peter's feet in Jerusalem, and whose mother had been the Apostle's friend (Acts 12:12). As to the Babylon from which Peter writers, and in which Mark is present with him, there can be no reasonable doubt that it is Rome. The view of St. Jerome: "St. Peter also mentions this Mark in his First Epistle, while referring figuratively to Rome under the title of Babylon" (De vir. Illustr., viii), is supported by all the early Father who refer to the subject. It may be said to have been questioned for the first time by Erasmus, whom a number of Protestant writers then followed, that they might the more readily deny the Roman connection of St. Peter. Thus, we find Mark in Rome with St. Peter at a time when he was widely known to the Churches of Asia Minor. If we suppose him, as we may, to have gone to Asia Minor after the date of the Epistle to the Colossians, remained there for some time, and returned to Rome before I Peter was written, the Petrine and Pauline references to the Evangelist are quite intelligible and consistent. When we turn to tradition, Papias (Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", III, xxxix) asserts not later than A.D. 130, on the authority of an "elder", that Mark had been the interpreter (hermeneutes) of Peter, and wrote down accurately, though not in order, the teaching of Peter (see below, MARK, GOSPEL OF SAINT, II). A widespread, if somewhat late, tradition represents St. Mark as the founder of the Church of Alexandria. Though strangely enough Clement and Origen make no reference to the saint's connection with their city, it is attested by Eusebius (op. cit., II, xvi, xxiv), by St. Jerome ("De Vir. Illust.", viii), by the Apostolic Constitutions (VII, xlvi), by Epiphanius ("Hær;.", li, 6) and by many later authorities. The "Martyrologium Romanum" (25 April) records: "At Alexandria the anniversary of Blessed Mark the Evangelist . . . at Alexandria of St. Anianus Bishop, the disciple of Blessed Mark and his successor in the episcopate, who fell asleep in the Lord." The date at which Mark came to Alexandria is uncertain. The Chronicle of Eusebius assigns it to the first years of Claudius (A.D. 41-4), and later on states that St. Mark's first successor, Anianus, succeeded to the See of Alexandria in the eighth year of Nero (61-2). This would make Mark Bishop of Alexandria for a period of about twenty years. This is not impossible, if we might suppose in accordance with some early evidence that St. Peter came to Rome in A.D. 42, Mark perhaps accompanying him. But Acts raise considerable difficulties. On the assumption that the founder of the Church of Alexandria was identical with the companion of Paul and Barnabas, we find him at Jerusalem and Antioch about A.D. 46 (Acts 12:25), in Salamis about 47 (Acts 13:5), at Antioch again about 49 or 50 (Acts 15:37-9), and when he quitted Antioch, on the separation of Paul and Barnabas, it was not to Alexandria but to Cyprus that he turned (Acts 15:39). There is nothing indeed to prove absolutely that all this is inconsistent with his being Bishop of Alexandria at the time, but seeing that the chronology of the Apostolic age is admittedly uncertain, and that we have no earlier authority than Eusebius for the date of the foundation of the Alexandrian Church, we may perhaps conclude with more probability that it was founded somewhat later. There is abundance of time between A.D. 50 and 60, a period during which the New Testament is silent in regard to St. Mark, for his activity in Egypt.

In the preface to his Gospel in manuscripts of the Vulgate, Mark is represented as having been a Jewish priest: "Mark the Evangelist, who exercised the priestly office in Israel, a Levite by race". Early authorities, however, are silent upon the point, and it is perhaps only an inference from his relation to Barnabas the Levite (Acts 4:36). Papias (in Eusebius, "Hist. eccl.", III, xxxix) says, on the authority of "the elder", that Mark neither heard the Lord nor followed Him (oute gar ekouse tou kurion oute parekoluthesen auto), and the same statement is made in the Dialogue of Adamantius (fourth century, Leipzig, 1901, p. 8), by Eusebius ("Demonst. Evang.", III, v), by St. Jerome ("In Matth."), by St. Augustine ("De Consens. Evang."), and is suggested by the Muratorian Fragment. Later tradition, however, makes Mark one of the seventy-two disciples, and St. Epiphanius ("Hær", li, 6) says he was one of those who withdrew from Christ (John 6:67). The later tradition can have no weight against the earlier evidence, but the statement that Mark neither heard the Lord nor followed Him need not be pressed too strictly, nor force us to believe that he never saw Christ. Many indeed are of opinion that the young man who fled naked from Gethsemane (Mark 14:51) was Mark himself. Early in the third century Hippolytus ("Philosophumena", VII, xxx) refers to Mark as ho kolobodaktulos, i.e. "stump-fingered" or "mutilated in the finger(s)", and later authorities allude to the same defect. Various explanations of the epithet have been suggested: that Mark, after he embraced Christianity, cut off his thumb to unfit himself for the Jewish priesthood; that his fingers were naturally stumpy; that some defect in his toes is alluded to; that the epithet is to be regarded as metaphorical, and means "deserted" (cf. Acts 13:13).

The date of Mark's death is uncertain. St. Jerome ("De Vir. Illustr.", viii) assigns it to the eighth year of Nero (62-63) (Mortuus est octavo Neronis anno et sepultus Alexandriæ), but this is probably only an inference from the statement of Eusebius ("Hist. eccl.", II, xxiv), that in that year Anianus succeeded St. Mark in the See of Alexandria. Certainly, if St. Mark was alive when II Timothy was written (2 Timothy 4:11), he cannot have died in 61-62. Nor does Eusebius say he did; the historian may merely mean that St. Mark then resigned his see, and left Alexandria to join Peter and Paul at Rome. As to the manner of his death, the "Acts" of Mark give the saint the glory of martyrdom, and say that he died while being dragged through the streets of Alexandria; so too the Paschal Chronicle. But we have no evidence earlier than the fourth century that the saint was martyred. This earlier silence, however, is not at all decisive against the truth of the later traditions. For the saint's alleged connection with Aquileia, see "Acta SS.", XI, pp. 346-7, and for the removal of his body from Alexandria to Venice and his cultus there, ibid., pp. 352-8. In Christian literature and art St. Mark is symbolically represented by a lion. The Latin and Greek Churches celebrate his feast on 25 April, but the Greek Church keeps also the feast of John Mark on 27 September.

Publication information Written by J. MacRory. Transcribed by Ernie Stefanik. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York


The Apostle Mark

Orthodox Information

(This information may not be of the scholastic quality of the other articles in BELIEVE. Since few Orthodox scholarly articles have been translated into English, we have had to rely on Orthodox Wiki as a source. Since the Wikipedia collections do not indicate the author's name for articles, and essentially anyone is free to edit or alter any of their articles (again, without any indication of what was changed or who changed it), we have concerns. However, in order to include an Orthodox perspective in some of our subject presentations, we have found it necessary to do this. At least until actual scholarly Orthodox texts are translated from the Greek originals!)

The holy, glorious and all-laudable Apostle and Evangelist Mark is the author of the Gospel of Mark, the companion of the Apostle Paul (as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles), and is numbered among the Seventy Apostles. He is often referred to as John Mark, and is the founder of the Church of Alexandria, being regarded as its first pope. As a result, he is also particularly venerated by the Coptic Church as its founder, as well. His symbol as one of the four evangelists is a lion. The Church celebrates his feast days on April 25; September 27 with Aristarchus and Zenas; October 30 with Tertius, Justus, Artemas, and Cleopas; and January 4 among the Seventy.

Life

His name was John, as the Holy Bible says: "He came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying" (Acts 12:12). He was the one whom the Lord Christ, to Whom is the glory, meant when He said: "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, The Teacher says, 'My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples'" (Matthew 26:18).

His house was the first Christian church, where they ate the Passover, hid after the death of the Lord Christ, and in its upper room the Holy Spirit came upon them.

This apostle was born in Cyrene (one of the five Western cities, Pentapolis, in North Africa). His father's name was Aristopolus, his mother's name was Mary and he was a kinsman of the Apostle Barnabas. They were Jewish in faith, rich and of great honor. They educated him with the Greek and Hebrew cultures. He was called Mark after they immigrated to Jerusalem, where St. Peter had become a disciple of Jesus Christ. St. Peter was married to the cousin of Aristopolus. Mark visited St. Peter's house often, and from him he learned the Christian teachings.

Once when Aristopolus and his son Mark were walking near the Jordan river, close by the desert, they encountered a raving lion and a lioness. It was evident to Aristopolus that it would be his end and the end of his son, Mark. His compassion for his son compelled him to order him to escape to save himself. Mark answered, "Christ, in whose hands our lives are committed, will not let them prey on us." Saying this, he prayed, "O, Christ, Son of God, protect us from the evil of these two beasts and terminate their offspring from this wilderness." Immediately, God granted this prayer, and the two beasts fell dead. His father marvelled and asked his son to tell him about Christ. He believed in the Lord Christ at the hands of his son who baptized him.

After the ascension of the Lord Christ, Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas to preach the gospel in Antioch, Seleucia, Cyprus, Salamis, and Perga Pamphylia, where he left them and returned to Jerusalem. After the apostolic council in Jerusalem, he went with Barnabas to Cyprus.

After the departure of Barnabas, St. Mark went to Afrikia, Berka, and the five Western cities. He preached the gospel in these parts, and on his account many believed. From there, he went to Alexandria in 61 A.D.

When he entered the city, his shoe was torn because of the amount he had walked during his preaching and evangelism. He went to a cobbler in the city, called Anianus, to repair it. While Anianus was repairing the shoe, the awl pierced his finger. Anianus shouted in Greek saying "Eis Theos!" which means "O, one God!" When St. Mark heard these words his heart rejoiced exceedingly. He found it suitable to talk to him about the one God. The apostle took some clay, spat on it, and applied it to Anianus' finger, saying "in the Name of Jesus Christ the Son of God," and the wound healed immediately, as if nothing had happened to it.

Anianus was exceedingly amazed by this miracle that happened in the name of Jesus Christ, and his heart opened to the word of God. The apostle asked him about who was the only God that he cried for when he was injured. Anianus replied "I heard about him, but I do not know him." St. Mark started explaining to him from the beginning, from the creation of heaven and earth all the way to the prophecies that foretold the coming of Christ. Anianus then invited him to go to his house and brought to him his children. The saint preached and baptized them.

When the believers in the name of Christ increased and the pagan people of the city heard of it, they were enraged and thought of slaying St. Mark. The faithful advised him to leave for a short while, for the sake of the safety of the church and its care. St. Mark ordained St. Anianus as bishop of Alexandria as well as three priests and seven deacons. He went to the five Western cities, and remained there for two years preaching, where he ordained more bishops, priests, and deacons.

Finally he returned to Alexandria, where he found the believers had increased in number, and built a church for them in the place known as Bokalia (the place of cows), east of Alexandria on the sea shore.

St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, is where the saint's head is preserved to this day.

It came to pass when he was celebrating the feast of the Resurrection in the year 68 A.D. that the same day coincided with the great pagan celebration for the feast of the god Syrabis. Thus a multitude of pagans assembled, attacked the church at Bokalia, and forced their way in. They seized St. Mark, bound him with a thick rope, and dragged him through the streets crying, "Drag the dragon to the place of cows." They continued dragging him with severe cruelty. His flesh was torn and scattered everywhere, and the ground of the city was covered with his blood. They cast him that night into a dark prison.

The angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him: "O Mark, the good servant, rejoice, for your name has been written in the book of life, and you have been counted among the congregation of the saints." The angel disappeared, then the Lord Christ appeared to him and gave him peace. His soul rejoiced and was glad. The next morning, the pagans took St. Mark from the prison. They tied his neck with a thick rope and did the same as the day before, dragging him over the rocks and stones. Finally, St. Mark delivered up his pure soul into the hands of God and received the crown of martyrdom.

Nevertheless, St. Mark's death did not satisfy the rage of the pagans. They gathered much firewood and prepared an inferno to burn him. But a severe storm blew in, and heavy rains fell. The pagans became frightened and fled in fear. The believers came and took the holy body, carried it to the church at Bokalia, wrapped it up, prayed over the saint, and placed him in a coffin. They laid the coffin in a secret place in this church.

In 828 A.D. the body of St. Mark was stolen by Italian sailors and was removed from Alexandria to Venice in Italy. However, the head remained in Alexandria. Importance to the Coptic church

In the Non-Chalcedonian Coptic Orthodox Church, the Apostle Mark is perhaps the most beloved of all saints, being the founder of the see of Alexandria in the first century. Many Coptic churches are named for him, and on the 30th of Babah (Coptic calendar), the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates the commemoration of the consecration of the church of the pure St. Mark the Evangelist, the founder of the church in Egypt, and the appearance of his holy head in the city of Alexandria.

A historical event: Pope Kyrillos VI received the relics of St. Mark in Cairo in 1968 .

On the 17th of Baounah (Coptic month), of the year 1684 A.M. (Coptic calendar), which was Monday, June 24, 1968 A.D., and in the tenth year of the papacy of Pope Kyrillos the Sixth, 116th Pope of Alexandria, the relics of St. Mark the Apostle, the Evangelist of the Egyptian land and the first Patriarch of Alexandria, were returned to Egypt. After eleven centuries outside Egypt, St. Mark's body has at last returned to the same country (Cairo, Egypt) where he was martyred, and where his head is preserved to this day in the city of Alexandria, Egypt.

Pope Kyrillos had sent an official delegation to travel to Rome to receive the relics of St. Mark the Apostle from the Roman Catholic Pope Paul VI. The papal delegation consisted of ten metropolitans and bishops, seven of whom were Coptic and three Ethiopians, and three of the prominent Coptic lay leaders. The Alexandrian delegation received the relics of St. Mark the Apostle on Saturday, June 22, 1968 A.D., from Pope Paul VI. The moment of handing over the holy relics, after eleven centuries, during which the body of St. Mark was kept in the city of Venice, Italy, was a solemn and joyful moment.

Hymns

Troparion (Tone 3) [1]

Holy apostle Mark of the Seventy;
entreat the merciful;
to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.

Troparion (Tone 4) [2]

From your childhood the light of truth enlightened you, O Mark,
and you loved the labor of Christ the Savior.
Therefore, you followed Peter with zeal
and served Paul well as a fellow laborer,
and you enlighten the world with your holy Gospel.

Kontakion (Tone 4) [3]

The Church ever sees you as a shining star, O apostle Mark,
Your miracles have manifested great enlightenment.
Therefore we cry out to Christ:
"Save those who with faith honor Your apostle, O Most Merciful One."

Kontakion (Tone 2) [4]

When you received the grace of the Spirit from on high, O Apostle,
you broke the snares of the philosophers and gathered all nations into your net,
bringing them to your Lord, O glorious Mark,
by the preaching of the divine Gospel.

Sources

Coptic Orthodox Synaxarium (Book of Saints)
St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid

External links

St. Mark's detailed biography by H.H. Pope Shenouda III
St. Mark the Apostle, Evangelist, and Preacher of the Christian Faith in Africa
St. Mark Icon and Story
Saint-Mark Church Alexandria: History
Life of the Apostle and Evangelist Mark by Severus, Bishop of Al-Ushmunain
(fl. ca. AD 955-987) translated from the Arabic by B. Evetts (from Patrologia Orientalis, first series); Saint Pachomius Library
Apostle and Evangelist Mark, APril 25 (OCA)
Apostle Mark of the Seventy, September 27 (OCA)
Apostle Mark the Evangelist of the Seventy, January 4 (OCA)
Apostle Mark of the Seventy, called John, January 4 (OCA)
Apostle Mark of the Seventy, January 4 (OCA)
Mark the Apostle & Evangelist (GOARCH)


Also, see:
Gospel According to Mark


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