Saint Mark, Evangelist
One of Christ’s 70 disciples and the four evangelists, Saint Mark was born in Cyrene, Libya but his date of birth is unknown. He traveled with Saint Barnabas and Saint Paul on many religious missions, during which he founded the Church of Alexandria. He died circa April 25, 68 A.D. in Alexandria, Egypt.
Mark the Evangelist was one of the first original disciples of Jesus Christ. He is best remembered as the author of the ‘Gospel of Mark’ in the ‘Bible.’ He is also believed to be the founder of the ‘Church of Alexandria,’ one of the most important episcopal sees of early Christianity. He, along with another disciple of Jesus, Saint Peter, preached spirituality and delivered sermons all around the world after the death of Jesus. He is known to be the patron saint of Lions, lawyers, pharmacists, prisoners, and secretaries. People began to associate Mark’s boldness to that of a Lion after he delivered the Gospel message of Saint John the Baptist, which he received from Jesus and conveyed the same to Mark in the voice of the Lion in the wilderness. Mark was the primary witness of many miracles that took place at the time of Jesus Christ. He also mentioned a few in his Gospel. He was also the founder of the first Christian school in Egypt. He continued serving humanity until his death after he was tortured and imprisoned around 68 AD.
Early Life & Childhood
As per records, Mark was born in or around 5 AD in Cyrene, Pentapolis of North Africa. Aristopolus was believed to be his father. His mother’s home was believed to be in Jerusalem and it served as a centre for Christian life. According to the American New Testament theologian and professor of Biblical studies, William Lane, Mark the Evangelist identifies with John Mark.
He is also identified as the cousin of Barnabas, one of the first prominent Christian disciples in Jerusalem. It was also believed that he was one of the ‘Seventy Disciples’ sent out by Jesus Christ. Many also reckoned that he was the man who carried water to the house where the ‘Last Supper’ took place. Amongst his many possible identities, he was considered to be the man who ran naked when Jesus was arrested. However, there aren’t enough records in history to confirm any of these.
There are no records of married life of Mark. He dedicated his life to Jesus and delivering his messages in written or spoken form. After completing his mission, Mark returned to Pentapolis later in his life. From there, he went back to Alexandria.
However, he was not welcomed in Alexandria by the pagans, who judged his intentions for taking their dedication from the traditional Gods. It is said that in AD 68, a rope was wrapped around his neck by these pagans and he was dragged through the streets, which resulted in his death.
It is said that Mark saw visions of angels and heard Jesus’ voice at the time of his death. The remains of his body were stolen by sailors, who took it to Venice. St. Mark’s Basilica was constructed by his devotees. It is said even after his death, he miraculously healed people, when prayed. He was also seen by many people in their visions.
The ‘Feast of St. Mark’ is observed and celebrated on April 25 every year by Catholic churches and communities. In Christian communities, where John Mark is a separate identity from John the Evangelist, the same is celebrated on September 27.
There are a number of paintings and artwork dedicated to him. He is often depicted as writing or holding his Gospel or as a Bishop on a throne surrounded with lions.