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 that
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
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 Saint was born in Cyrene
(One of the Five Western cities, Pentapolis - in North Africa). His father's
name was Aristopolus and his mother's name was Mary. 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 emigrated to Jerusalem, where St. Peter had become
a disciple to the Lord Christ. St. Peter was married to the cousin of
Aristopolus. Mark visited St. Peter's house often, and from him he learned the
Once 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 the Lord Christ. He believed in the Lord Christ at the hands of his son
who baptized him.
After the ascension of the Lord
Christ, he accompanied Paul and
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,
with the order of the Lord Christ, St. Mark went to Afrikia, Berka, and the Five
Western cities. He preached the Gospel in these parts, and believed on his hands
most of its people. From there, he went to Alexandria in the
1st. of Bashans 61
When he entered the city, his
shoe was torn because of the much walking in preaching and evangelism. He went
to a cobbler in the city, called Anianus, to repair it. While he was repairing
it 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
happened to it.Moses,
who brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, and gave them the Law, the
captivity of the children of Israel to Babylon, and the prophecies that foretold
the coming of Christ.
Anianus invited him to go to his
house and brought to him his children. The Saint preached and baptized them in
the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
When the believers in the Name of
Christ increased and the pagan people of the city heard that, they were raged
with anger and thought of slaying St. Mark. The faithful advised him to get away
for a short while for the sake of the safety of the church and its care. St.
Mark ordained St. Anianus a Bishop for Alexandria, three priests and seven
deacons. He went to the Five Western Cities, remained there for two years
preaching, and ordained bishops, priests, and deacons.
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
It came to pass, when he was
celebrating the feast of the Resurrection on the 29th day of Baramudah, year 68
A.D., the same day coincided with the great pagan Celebration for the feast of
the god Syrabis, a multitude of them assembled and attacked the church at
Bokalia and forced their way in. They seized St. Mark, bound him with a thick
rope and dragged him in the roads and 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 (30th of
Baramudah), 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 in the hand of God, and
received the crown of martyrdom, the apostolic crown, the crown of evangelism,
and the crown of virginity.
Nevertheless, St. Mark's death
did not satisfy the rage of the pagans and their hatred. They gathered much
firewood and prepared an inferno to burn him. A severe storm blew and heavy
rains fell. The pagans became frightened, and they fled away in fear.
The believers came and took the
holy body, carried it to the church they built at Bokalia, wrapped it up, prayed
over him and place it in a coffin. They laid it in a secret place in
The prayers of this great Saint
and honorable Evangelist be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
+ He was born
in the Pentapolis or Qairawan (Now Tunisia or Libya according to other sources)
approximately 15 years after our Lord was born.
+ He witnessed
the preaching of our Lord in Palestine as well as his passion.
+ He is the
author of the earliest Gospel to be written (it was written in Greek).
+ He was the
founder of Christianity in Egypt or in Alexandria at least. He came to
Alexandria approximately 48 AD. Foot Note: According to some sources, St. Peter
preached in Babylon about the same time St. Mark was in Alexandria, however he
focussed on the Jews of Babylon (A city near Memphis, Cairo now ).
+ He was
martyred in 68 AD when pagans of Serapis (the Serapion-Abbis Greek Egyptian god
) tied him to a horse's tail and dragged him through the streets of Alexandria's
district of Bokalia for two days until his body was torn to pieces.
+ The Church
celebrates his martyrdom on the 8th of May each year.
+ His head is
in a church named after him in Alexandria, and parts of his relics is in St.
Mark's Cairo's Cathedral. The rest of his relics are in the San Marco Cathedral
in Venice, Italy.
+ Of his titles
are : The Evangelist, the Apostle, the Witness and the Martyr.