John Mark, Markos, Marcus
Date of Birth:
Date of Death:
April 25, 68
Saint Mark was the first bishop of Alexandria in Egypt and is believed to have founded the first known Christian school in the city.
He was persecuted for trying to convert the Alexandrians.
Saint Mark died a martyr on April 25, 68 AD.
Mark the Evangelist is the traditional author of the Gospel of Mark. He is one of the Seventy Disciples of Christ, and the founder of the Church of Alexandria, one of the original four main sees of Christianity.
According to William Lane, an "unbroken tradition" identifies Mark the Evangelist with John Mark. However, Hippolytus, in his work On the Seventy Apostles distinguishes Mark the Evangelist (2 Tim 4:11), John Mark (Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13; 15:37) and Mark the Cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10; Phlm 24). According to Hippolytus, they all belonged to the "Seventy Disciples" who were sent out by Jesus to saturate Judea with the gospel (Luke 10:1ff.). However, when Jesus explained that His flesh was "real food" and His blood was "real drink", many disciples left him (John 6:44-6:66), presumably including Mark. He was later restored to faith by Peter; then became Peterís interpreter, wrote the Gospel of Mark, founded the church of Africa, and became the bishop of Alexandria.
According to Eusebius of Caesarea (Eccl. Hist. 2.9.1-4), Herod Agrippa I in his first year of reign over the whole Judea (AD 41) killed James son of Zebedee, and arrested Peter, planning to kill him after the Passover. Peter was saved miraculously by angels, and escaped out of the realm of Herod (Acts 12:1-19). Peter went to Antioch, then through Asia Minor (visiting the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, as mentioned in 1 Pet 1:1), and arrived in Rome in the second year of Emperor Claudius (AD 42; Eusebius, Eccl, Hist. 2.14.6). Somewhere on the way, Peter picked up Mark and took him as travel companion and interpreter. Peter's preaching in Rome was so successful that he was honored by the inhabitants with a statue in the city; and by popular request, Mark the Evangelist wrote down the sermons of Peter, thus composing the Gospel according to Mark (Eccl. Hist. 15-16), before he left for Alexandria in the third year of Claudius (AD 43).
In AD 43, about 10 years after the ascension of Christ, Mark traveled to Alexandria and founded the Church of Alexandria, which today is claimed by the Coptic Orthodox Church. Aspects of the Coptic liturgy can be traced back to Saint Mark himself. He became the first bishop of Alexandria and he is honored as the founder of Christianity in Africa.
According to Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. 2.24.1), Mark was succeeded by Annianus as the bishop of Alexandria in the eighth year of Nero (AD 62/63), probably, but not definitely due to his coming death. Later Coptic tradition says that he was martyred in AD 68. It is believed that on the night when Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane Mark had followed him there and the Temple guards saw him, he ran away and dropped his loin cloth.
His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the lion.