Parish Of Opawa St Martins Blog

March 5, 2009

Saint Mark

Filed under: General — Administrator @ 10:30 pm

Coptic icon of Saint Mark

Coptic icon of Saint Mark

Saint Mark the Evangelis, also known as John Mark, is traditionally believed to be the author of the Gospel of Mark and a companion of Saint Peter. He accompanied Paul of Tarsus and Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary journey. After a sharp dispute, Barnabas separated from Paul, taking Mark to Cyprus (Acts 15:36-40). Later Paul called upon the services of Mark, the kinsman of Barnabas, and Mark was named as Paul’s fellow worker.

His feast day is celebrated on 25 April, the anniversary of his martyrdom. St Mark is also believed by various traditions to be the first bishop of Alexandria and the first Pope of Alexandria. He is considered the founder of the church in Alexandria, according to the Coptic church understanding, and thus the founder of Christianity in Africa. His evangelistic symbol is the lion.

Biblical and traditional information
According to the Coptic church, Saint Mark was born in the Pentapolis of North Africa. This tradition adds that he returned to Pentapolis later in life after being sent by Saint Paul to Colosse (Col 4:10) and serving with him in Rome (Phil 24; 2 Tim 4:11) ; from Pentapolis he made his way to Alexandria.

Mark of the Pauline Epistles is specified as a cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10); this would explain Barnabas’ special attachment to the Mark of Acts over whom he disputed with Paul (Acts 15:37-40). Mark’s mother was a prominent member of the earliest group of Christians in Jerusalem. It was to her house that Peter turned on his release from prison; the house was a meeting-place for the brethren, “many” of whom were praying there on the night Peter arrived from prison (Acts 12:12-17). Evidence for Mark’s authorship of the Gospel that bears his name originates with Papias.

The martyrdom of Saint Mark. Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (Musée Condé, Chantilly).

The martyrdom of Saint Mark. Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (Musée Condé, Chantilly).


A number of traditions have built up around Mark, though none can be verified from the New Testament. It is suggested that Mark was one of the servants at the Marriage at Cana who poured out the water that Jesus turned to wine (John 2:1-11).Mark is also said to have been one of the Seventy Apostles sent out by Christ (Luke 10:1), the man who carried water to the house where the Last Supper took place (Mark 14:13),the young man who ran away naked when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:51-52),the one who hosted the disciples in his house after the death of Jesus and into whose house the resurrected Jesus Christ came (John 20). When Mark returned to Alexandria, the people there are said to have resented his efforts to turn them away from the worship of their traditional Egyptian gods. In AD 68 they tied him to several horses and dragged him through the streets until he was dead.

Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mark

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