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Saint Mark the Evangelist

Saint Mark the Evangelist
  • Century: 1st Century
  • Patronage: Venice, Egypt
  • Feast Day: April 25th

St. Mark the Evangelist is the traditional author of the Gospel of Mark. He is one of the Seventy Disciples, and the founder of the Church of Alexandria, one of the original four main Episcopal Sees of Christianity.  According to Eusebius of Caesarea, Herod killed James, son of Zebedee and arrested Peter, planning to kill him after Passover.  Peter was saved miraculously by Angels, and escaped out of the realm of Herod (Acts 12:1-19).  Peter went to Antioch, then through Asia Minor visiting Churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, as mentioned in 1 Peter, 1:1, and arrived in Rome in 42, nine years after the Resurrection of Jesus.  Somewhere on the way, Peter picked up Mark, and took him as a travel companion and interpreter.  Mark the Evangelist wrote down the sermons of Peter, composing the Gospel according to Mark, before he left for Alexandria in 43.  

In 49, nineteen years after the Ascension of Jesus, Mark traveled to Alexandria and founded the Church of Alexandria.  Today it is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church.  Aspects of the Coptic Liturgy can be traced back to Mark himself. He became the first Bishop of Alexandria, and is honored as the founder of Christianity in Africa.  According to Eusebius, Mark was succeeded by Annianus as the Bishop of Alexandria in the year 62 or 63.  Coptic tradition says that he was martyred in 68.   It is believed that on the night when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Mark had followed him there and the Temple guards saw him, and he ran away and dropped his loincloth.  His feast day is celebrated on April 25th, and his symbol is the winged Lion, which is evidence for Mark the Evangelist’s authorship of the Gospel that bears his name.  

The identification of Mark the Evangelist led to identifying him as the man who carried water to the House where the Last Supper took place, Mark 14:13, or as the young man who ran away naked when Jesus was arrested, Mark 14:51-52.   Mark the Evangelist was one of the Seventy Disciples sent out by Christ, Luke 10:1, and is confirmed by they list of Hippolytus.  It is also believed that Mark is the one who hosted the disciples in his house after the death of Jesus, and into whose house the Resurrected Jesus Christ came into, and it is believed that it was his house that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost.  It is also believed that St. Mark is one of the servants at the Marriage of Cana, who poured out the water that Jesus turned to wine.  These traditions come from the Coptic Church in Africa, and have no solid proof, from the New Testament. 

St. Mark was born in Cyrene, a city in the Petapolis of North Africa, now Libya.  Tradition also adds that he returned to Petapolis after being sent by St. Paul to Colossae, and serving with him in Rome.  From Petapolis, he made his way to Alexandria.  It was here when Mark returned to Alexandria; the pagans of the city resented his efforts to turn the Alexandrians away from the worship of their traditional gods.  In 68, they placed a rope around his neck and dragged him through the streets until he was dead.  

Practical Take Away

St. Mark was born in Cyrene, a city in the Petapolis of North Africa, now Libya.  St. Mark the Evangelist is the traditional author of the Gospel of Mark. He is one of the Seventy Disciples, and the founder of the Church of Alexandria, one of the original four main Episcopal Sees of Christianity.  It is believed that on the night when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Mark had followed him there and the Temple guards saw him, and he ran away and dropped his loincloth.  His feast day is celebrated on April 25th, and his symbol is the winged Lion, which is evidence for Mark the Evangelist’s authorship of the Gospel that bears his name.  When Mark returned to Alexandria; the pagans of the city resented his efforts to turn the Alexandrians away from the worship of their traditional gods.  In 68, thirty-five years after the Resurrection of Jesus, they placed a rope around his neck and dragged him through the streets until he was dead.