St. Mark the Evangelist (Photo : Jan van Bijlert, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons )


On April 25, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist. Although he was not a direct disciple of Jesus, Saint Mark is the author of one of the four Gospel accounts and played a vital role in spreading the Gospel as a missionary in the early church.

Saint Mark was born in the early 1st century in the year 5 AD in Cyrene, present Libya, Africa. He passed away in the year 68 AD in Cyrene, present Libya.

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 St Mark as one of the seventy disciples Jesus sent to spread the gospel according to Luke 10:1, in Judea.

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.

St. Mark is sometimes called John Mark in the New Testament. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother's house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians.

Major Shrines : 

Mark is featured throughout the Basilica in a variety of beautiful domes and chapels. 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.

Patron Saint : 

St Mark is the Patron Saint of Venice, lawyers, painters, interpreters and lions.

Relics and Veneration : 

Saint Mark was martyred and initially buried in the Baucalis section of Alexandria in Egypt. Saint Mark's relics, the putative remains of Mark the Evangelist, are held in St Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy.

The Feast of St Mark is observed on April 25 by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Where John Mark is distinguished from Mark the Evangelist, John Mark is celebrated on September 27 and Mark the Evangelist on April 25.

- Article by CT Staff

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