Saint Mark the Evangelist was born in the early 1st century in the year 5 AD in Cyrene, present Libya, Africa. He is well known for being the author of the gospel according to Mark and founder and also bishop of the Church of Alexandria, Egypt. St. Mark passed away in the year 68 AD in Cyrene, present Libya. He was canonized pre-congregation and he is celebrated on the 25th of April every year which is his feast day. He is recognized as one of the early bishops who became Saints.

 

His Life History

Saint Mark, according to an “unbroken” tradition, is identified as John Mark, a cousin to one named, Barnabas, an early Christian, prominent disciple and named disciple in Acts 14:14. Other sources also identified as one of the seventy disciples Jesus sent to spread the gospel according to Luke 10:1, in Judea.

 

His Birth

Saint Mark the Evangelist was born in Cyrene, which is now present Libya in the first century, the year 5 AD to be precise.

 

His Death

He was believed to have been imprisoned before being murdered as a martyr. It was said that his neck was tied with a rope and dragged from Alexandria till a little port in Bucoles according to sources in the year 68 AD. Attempts to burn him were in vain and so his fellow Christians claimed his remains and they were buried in a church he founded in Alexandria, The Church of Alexandria. His relics were stolen and transferred to Saint Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy. Saint Mark the Evangelist died at the age of 63.

His Ethnicity

Saint Mark was believed to be of the tribe, Judah.

 

 His Education

He was an apprentice of Saint Peter the Apostle after an encounter with him. He traveled with Saint Peter as his companion and interpreter.

 

His Parents

St. Mark’s parents were known to be a man named, Aristopolos and Saint Mary of Jerusalem.

 

His Religious Life

His religious journey was believed to have begun when he encountered Saint Peter the apostle where he was converted and taken as a companion and an interpreter. Mark wrote sermons of Saint Peter thus composing the gospel according to Mark before he left for Alexandria in the third year, that is in the year 43 AD.

According to Acts 15:39, he went to Cyprus with Barnabas after the council of Jerusalem. Then in 49 AD, Saint Mark the Evangelist founded the Church of Alexandria and became the first bishop of Alexandria. He is honored as the founder of Christianity in Africa. He also set up a Christian school in Alexandria. He is also said to be the founder of Anchorites, people who withdraw from secular life to lead a prayer-intensive life, as illustrated by Saint Jerome.

 

His Canonization

Saint Mark the Evangelist was canonized pre-congregation, before the set up of modern investigations performed by the congregation for the causes of saints.

His Feast Day

St. Mark the Evangelist is celebrated on the 25th of April, the day believed to be of his death, whereas John Mark is celebrated on the 27th of September.

 

He is Venerated in

He is venerated by Christians and a feast is usually held in his honour on the 25th of April.

 

Major works

His major works are that;

  1. He was the first pioneer of Christianity to Africa.
  2. He founded and became the first bishop of the Church he founded in Alexandria.
  3. He brought about the founding of the first Christian school in Alexandria.

He is famously known to be the author of the gospel according to Mark as explained by Saint Peter the Apostle and giving it such profound imagery and vivid coloring by the use of language such as;

I. Jesus was “with the beasts;”

II. That He slept in the boat “on a pillow;”

III. That He “embraced” the little children

.Saint Mark preserves for us the commanding words “Peace, be still!” by which the storm was quelled and the very sounds of His voice, the “Ephpheta” and “Talitha cumi,” by which the dumb were made to speak and the dead to rise.

The “looking round about with anger,” and the “sighing deeply,” long treasured in the memory of the penitent apostle, who was himself converted by his Saviour’s look, are here recorded by his faithful interpreter.

 

His Attributes

Saint Mark is represented as holding the gospel and writing. He is also represented as a lion in the desert and a bishop on a throne decorated with lions. He is portrayed also as a man with a book and a scroll accompanied with a winged lion.

 

His Legacy

His main legacy is his authorship of the gospel according to Mark. He is the founder of a Christian school and a church in Alexandria.

 

His Major Shrines

Saint Mark’s major shrines are; Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Saint Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt, St Mark’s Sebian Orthodox Church in Belgrade, Serbia and the St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt.

 

His Relics

His relics were first in Alexandria. In 828, they were stolen by two Venetian merchants and in 1094, Saint Mark revealed the location of his remains by extending an arm from a pillar. The remains were then placed in a sarcophagus.

 

Part of his relics are believed to be in Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo while his head is said to be in a Church in Alexandria, Egypt.

 

In June, the year 1968, Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria sent a delegation to Rome to receive a relic of St Mark from Pope Paul VI which was but a small bone.

 

He is the Patron Saint of:

Venice, lawyers, painters, interpreters and lions.

 

Say this Prayers to St. Mark

 

 O, Glorious St. Mark

through the grace

of God, our Father,

you became a great Evangelist,

preaching the

Good News of Christ.

May you help us to know Him

well so that we may faithfully

live our lives as followers of

Christ.

Amen.