Mark the Evangelist

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Saint Mark the Evangelist
Grandes Heures Anne de Bretagne Saint Marc.jpg
Miniature of Saint Mark from the Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany (1503–8) by Jean Bourdichon
Evangelist, Martyr
Born5 AD
Cyrene, Pentapolis of North Africa, according to Coptic tradition [1]
Died25 April 68(68-04-25) (aged 62–63)
Cyrene, Libya, Pentapolis (North Africa), now Shahhat, Jabal al Akhdar, Libya
Venerated inAll Christian churches that venerate saints
Major shrine St Mark's Basilica
Feast
Patronage Barristers, Venice, Egypt, Mainar
Major works Gospel of Mark

Mark the Evangelist (Latin : Mārcus; Greek : Μᾶρκος, romanized: Mârkos; Coptic : ⲘⲁⲣⲕⲟⲥMarkos; Hebrew : מרקוסMarqos; Arabic : مَرْقُسMarqus; Amharic : ማርቆስMarḳos; Berber languages : ⵎⴰⵔⵇⵓⵙ) is the traditionally ascribed author of the Gospel of Mark. Mark is said to have founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important episcopal sees of early Christianity. His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the winged lion. [2]

Contents

Mark's identity

Mark the Evangelist's symbol is the winged lion, the Lion of Saint Mark. Inscription: PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEVS ("peace be upon you, Mark, my evangelist"). The same lion is also symbol of Venice (on illustration) Leone marciano andante - Vittore Carpaccio - Google Cultural Institute.jpg
Mark the Evangelist's symbol is the winged lion, the Lion of Saint Mark. Inscription: PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEVS ("peace be upon you, Mark, my evangelist"). The same lion is also symbol of Venice (on illustration)

According to William Lane (1974), an "unbroken tradition" identifies Mark the Evangelist with John Mark, [3] and John Mark as the cousin of Barnabas. [4] However, Hippolytus of Rome in 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 1:24). [5] According to Hippolytus, they all belonged to the "Seventy Disciples" who were sent out by Jesus to disseminate the gospel (Luke 10:1ff.) in Judea.

According to Eusebius of Caesarea (Eccl. Hist. 2.9.1–4), Herod Agrippa I, in his first year of reign over the whole of 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 Peter 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 encountered Mark and took him as travel companion and interpreter. 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 (43). [6]

According to the Acts 15:39, Mark went to Cyprus with Barnabas after the Council of Jerusalem.

According to tradition, in AD 49, about 19 years after the Ascension of Jesus, Mark travelled to Alexandria and founded the Church of Alexandria – today, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, and the Coptic Catholic Church claim to be successors to this original community. [7] Aspects of the Coptic liturgy can be traced back to Mark himself. [8] He became the first bishop of Alexandria and he is honored as the founder of Christianity in Africa. [9]

According to Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. 2.24.1), Mark was succeeded by Annianus as the bishop of Alexandria in the eighth year of Nero (62/63), probably, but not definitely, due to his coming death. Later Coptic tradition says that he was martyred in 68. [1] [10] [11] [12] [13]

Bart D. Ehrman argues the Gospel of Mark was written by an anonymous author, rather than direct witnesses to the reported events. [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]

Biblical and traditional information

St Mark in the Nuremberg Chronicle Nuremberg chronicles f 104r 1.png
St Mark in the Nuremberg Chronicle

Evidence for Mark the Evangelist's authorship of the Gospel that bears his name originates with Papias. [21] [22] Scholars of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School are "almost certain" that Papias is referencing John Mark. [23] Catholic scholars have argued that identifying Mark the Evangelist with John Mark and Mark the Cousin of Barnabas has led to the downgrading of the character of Barnabas from truly a "Son of Comfort" to one who favored his blood relative over principles. [24]

Identifying Mark the Evangelist with John Mark also led to identifying him as the man who carried water to the house where the Last Supper took place (Mark 14:13), [25] or as the young man who ran away naked when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:51–52). [26]

The Coptic Church accords with identifying Mark the Evangelist with John Mark, as well as that he was one of the Seventy Disciples sent out by Christ (Luke 10:1), as Hippolytus confirmed. [27] Coptic tradition also holds that Mark the Evangelist hosted the disciples in his house after Jesus' death, that the resurrected Jesus Christ came to Mark's house (John 20), and that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost in the same house. [27] Furthermore, Mark is also believed to have been among the servants at the Marriage at Cana who poured out the water that Jesus turned to wine (John 2:1–11). [27]

According to the Coptic tradition, Mark was born in Cyrene, a city in the Pentapolis of North Africa (now Libya). This tradition adds that Mark returned to Pentapolis later in life, after being sent by Paul to Colossae (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24. Some, however, think these actually refer to Mark the Cousin of Barnabas), and serving with him in Rome (2 Tim 4:11); from Pentapolis he made his way to Alexandria. [28] [29] When Mark returned to Alexandria, the pagans of the city resented his efforts to turn the Alexandrians away from the worship of their traditional gods.[ citation needed ] In AD 68, they placed a rope around his neck and dragged him through the streets until he was dead. [30]

Veneration

Festa del bocolo (rosebud festival) in St Mark's Square, Venice (Italy) La tradizione del dono del "Bocol".jpg
Festa del bocoło (rosebud festival) in St Mark's Square, Venice (Italy)

The Feast of St Mark is observed on April 25 by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. For those Churches still using the Julian Calendar, April 25 according to it aligns with May 8 on the Gregorian Calendar until the year 2099. The Coptic Orthodox Church observes the Feast of St Mark on Parmouti 30 according to the Coptic Calendar which always aligns with April 25 on the Julian Calendar.

Where John Mark is distinguished from Mark the Evangelist, John Mark is celebrated on September 27 (as in the Roman Martyrology) and Mark the Evangelist on April 25.

Relics of Saint Mark

A mosaic of St Marks body welcomed into Venice, at St Mark's Basilica, Venice. Mosaics of San Marco in Venice 3.jpg
A mosaic of St Marks body welcomed into Venice, at St Mark's Basilica, Venice.
Saint Mark, 1411-1413, by Donatello (Orsanmichele, Florence). Stmark.jpg
Saint Mark , 1411-1413, by Donatello (Orsanmichele, Florence).

In 828, relics believed to be the body of Saint Mark were stolen from Alexandria (at the time controlled by the Abbasid Caliphate) by two Venetian merchants with the help of two Greek monks and taken to Venice. [31] A mosaic in St Mark's Basilica depicts sailors covering the relics with a layer of pork and cabbage leaves. Since Muslims are not permitted to eat pork, this was done to prevent the guards from inspecting the ship's cargo too closely. [32]

Donald Nicol explained this act as "motivated as much by politics as by piety", and "a calculated stab at the pretensions of the Patriarchate of Aquileia." Instead of being used to adorn the church of Grado, which claimed to possess the throne of Saint Mark, it was kept secretly by Doge Giustiniano Participazio in his modest palace. Possession of Saint Mark's remains was, in Nicol's words, "the symbol not of the Patriarchate of Grado, nor of the bishopric of Olivolo, but of the city of Venice." In his will, Doge Giustiniano asked his widow to build a basilica dedicated to Saint Mark, which was erected between the palace and the chapel of Saint Theodore Stratelates, who until then had been patron saint of Venice. [33]

In 1063, during the construction of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, Saint Mark's relics could not be found. However, according to tradition, in 1094, the saint himself revealed the location of his remains by extending an arm from a pillar. [34] The newfound remains were placed in a sarcophagus in the basilica. [35]

Copts believe that the head of Saint Mark remains in a church named after him in Alexandria, and parts of his relics are in Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, Cairo. The rest of his relics are in Venice. [1] Every year, on the 30th day of the month of Paopi, the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates the commemoration of the consecration of the church of Saint Mark, and the appearance of the head of the saint in the city of Alexandria. This takes place inside St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria. [36]

In June 1968, Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria sent an official delegation to Rome to receive a relic of Saint Mark from Pope Paul VI. The delegation consisted of ten metropolitans and bishops, seven of whom were Coptic and three Ethiopian, and three prominent Coptic lay leaders.

The relic was said to be a small piece of bone that had been given to the Roman pope by Giovanni Cardinal Urbani, Patriarch of Venice. Pope Paul, in an address to the delegation, said that the rest of the relics of the saint remained in Venice.

The delegation received the relic on June 22, 1968. The next day, the delegation celebrated a pontifical liturgy in the Church of Saint Athanasius the Apostolic in Rome. The metropolitans, bishops, and priests of the delegation all served in the liturgy. Members of the Roman papal delegation, Copts who lived in Rome, newspaper and news agency reporters, and many foreign dignitaries attended the liturgy.

In art

Mark the Evangelist is most often depicted writing or holding his gospel. [37] In Christian tradition, Mark the Evangelist is symbolized by a lion. [38]

Mark the Evangelist attributes are the lion in the desert; he can be depicted as a bishop on a throne decorated with lions; as a man helping Venetian sailors. He is often depicted holding a book with pax tibi Marce written on it or holding a palm and book. Other depictions of Mark show him as a man with a book or scroll, accompanied by a winged lion. The lion might also be associated with Jesus' Resurrection because lions were believed to sleep with open eyes, thus a comparison with Christ in his tomb, and Christ as king.

Mark the Evangelist can be depicted as a man with a halter around his neck and as rescuing Christian slaves from Saracens.

Major shrines

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 "St. Mark The Apostle, Evangelist". Coptic Orthodox Church Network. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  2. Senior, Donald P. (1998), "Mark", in Ferguson, Everett (ed.), Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (2nd ed.), New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., p. 720, ISBN   0-8153-3319-6
  3. Lane, William L. (1974). "The Author of the Gospel". The Gospel According to Mark. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. pp. 21–3. ISBN   978-0-8028-2502-5.
  4. Mark: Images of an Apostolic Interpreter p55 C. Clifton Black – 2001 –"... infrequent occurrence in the Septuagint (Num 36:11; Tob 7:2) to its presence in Josephus (JW 1.662; Ant 1.290, 15.250) and Philo (On the Embassy to Gaius 67), anepsios consistently carries the connotation of "cousin," though ..."
  5. Hippolytus. "The same Hippolytus on the Seventy Apostles". Ante-Nicene Fathers.
  6. Finegan, Jack (1998). Handbook of Biblical Chronology. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. p. 374. ISBN   978-1-56563-143-4.
  7. "Egypt". Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs . Retrieved December 14, 2011. See drop-down essay on "Islamic Conquest and the Ottoman Empire"
  8. "The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church Of Egypt". Encyclopedia Coptica. Archived from the original on August 31, 2005. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  9. Bunson, Matthew; Bunson, Margaret; Bunson, Stephen (1998). Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division. p. 401. ISBN   0-87973-588-0.
  10. "Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Mark" . Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  11. "Acts 15:36–40". Bible Gateway.
  12. "2timothy 4:11 NASB – Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and – Bible Gateway". Bible Gateway.
  13. "Philemon 1:24". Bible Gateway.
  14. E P Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, (Penguin, 1995) page 63 – 64.
  15. Bart D. Ehrman (2000:43) The New Testament: a historical introduction to early Christian writings. Oxford University Press.
  16. Ehrman, Bart D. (2005). Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Oxford University Press. p. 235. ISBN   978-0-19-518249-1.
  17. Nickle, Keith Fullerton (January 1, 2001). The Synoptic Gospels: An Introduction. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 43. ISBN   978-0-664-22349-6.
  18. Witherington, Ben (June 2, 2004). The Gospel Code: Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Da Vinci. InterVarsity Press. p. 44. ISBN   978-0-8308-3267-5. Note: Witherington, while not agreeing that the author of the Gospel of Matthew is unknown, he recognizes that this is what most scholars think.
  19. Ehrman, Bart D. (November 1, 2004). Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code : A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 110. ISBN   978-0-19-534616-9.
  20. Ehrman, Bart D. (September 1, 2006). The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot : A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 143. ISBN   978-0-19-971104-8.
  21. Hierapolis, Papias of. "Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord". newadvent.org.
  22. Harrington, Daniel J. (1990), "The Gospel According to Mark", in Brown, Raymond E.; Fitzmyer, Joseph A.; Murphy, Roland E. (eds.), The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, p. 596, ISBN   0-13-614934-0
  23. D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo and Leon Morris, An Introduction to the New Testament (Apollos, 1992), 93.
  24. University of Navarre (1992), The Navarre Bible: Saint Mark's Gospel (2nd ed.), Dublin: Four Courts Press, pp. 55–56, ISBN   1-85182-092-2
  25. University of Navarre (1992), The Navarre Bible: Saint Mark's Gospel (2nd ed.), Dublin: Four Court’s Press, p. 172, ISBN   1-85182-092-2
  26. University of Navarre (1992), The Navarre Bible: Saint Mark's Gospel (2nd ed.), Dublin: Four Court’s Press, p. 179, ISBN   1-85182-092-2
  27. 1 2 3 Pope Shenouda III, The Beholder of God Mark the Evangelist Saint and Martyr, Chapter One. Tasbeha.org
  28. "About the Diocese". Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States.
  29. "Saint Mark" . Retrieved May 14, 2009.
  30. Pope Shenouda III. The Beholder of God Mark the Evangelist Saint and Martyr, Chapter Seven. Tasbeha.org
  31. Donald M. Nicol, Byzantium and Venice: A Study in diplomatic and cultural relations (Cambridge: University Press, 1988), p. 24
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  33. Nicol, Byzantium and Venice, pp. 24–6
  34. Okey, Thomas (1904), Venice and Its Story, London: J. M. Dent & Co.
  35. "Section dedicated to the recovery of St. Mark's body". Basilicasanmarco.it. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  36. Meinardus, Otto F.A. (March 21, 2006). "About the Laity of the Coptic Church" (PDF). Coptic Church Review. 27 (1): 11–12. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  37. Didron, Adolphe Napoléon (February 20, 1886). "Christian Iconography: The Trinity. Angels. Devils. Death. The soul. The Christian scheme. Appendices". G. Bell via Google Books.
  38. "St. Mark in Art". www.christianiconography.info.
Titles of the Great Christian Church
New creation Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria
43–68
Succeeded by
Anianus