Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, Bishop and Martyr (April 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  Coptic Cross

Founder of Christianity in Africa


The Assigned Readings for This Feast:

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 2 or Psalm 2:7-10

Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-16

Mark 1:1-15 or Mark 16:15-20

My Collect:

Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you gave to the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God to Africa: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in the truth of our Lord and Savior; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


St. Mark was probably John Mark, a cousin of St. Barnabas and a traveling companion of Sts. Peter and Paul.  Tradition identifies St. Mark as the unnamed young man who fled naked from the arrest of Jesus when a guard grabbed his loin cloth (Mark 14:51-52).

St. Mark is the traditional author of the Gospel bearing his name.  History tells us that first person to associate the earliest canonical Gospel with St. Mark was Papias, a Bishop of Hieropolis (in Asia Minor), early in the Second Century C.E.  Tradition holds further that St. Mark derived his information from St. Peter, his spiritual father.

I am uncertain of the veracity of those traditions regarding the authorship of the first Gospel.  I do know, however, that the current scholarly consensus places the authorship of the Gospel of Mark between 65 and 75 C.E., referencing the persecutions during the reign of Nero as well as the First Jewish War and the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem (70 C.E.).  Indeed, the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) exist in the shadow of the First Jewish War and destruction of the Temple , which, depending on the Gospel and its date of composition, was either impending or recent.

St. Mark could have written the earliest Gospel if its date of composition was no later than 68 C.E., for that was the year of his death.  The saint, the founder of Christianity in Africa, became the first Bishop of Alexandria, in Egypt.  Today the Coptic Pope of Alexandria is the successor of St. Mark, just as the Bishop of Rome is the successor of St. Peter and the Ecumenical Patriarch is the successor of St. Andrew.  St. Mark became a martyr in 68 C.E., when angry pagans dragged him through the streets of Alexandria until he died.

Regardless of what St. Mark did or did not write, his legacy is the presence of Christianity on a continent.


JUNE 12, 2010


Posted June 12, 2010 by neatnik2009 in April 25, Saints of the Bible

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