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THE APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST MARK (40-63)

 

The Apostle and Evangelist Mark, son of Aristobulus and Maria, was born in Cyrene of Pentapolis.  At a young age he went to live in Jerusalem. He was a nephew of the Apostle Barnabas, one of the 70 Apostles, whom he followed together with Paul, Apostle of the Nations on their first Missionary journey (Acts 13:4-5). In Asia Minor he was confronted by the angry mob of citizens of Perges who were against the two Apostles, which forced him to return to Jerusalem. Because of this, Paul refused to allow Mark to participate in the work of the Gospel, and so the Apostle Barnabas, accompanied by Mark, went to Cyprus where he preached the Christian faith and established the island’s Church.

 

Some then years later, as is mentioned in Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:10) Mark went to Rome with the Apostle Peter.

 

According to Church tradition the Apostle and Evangelist Mark arrived in Alexandria around 40 AD where he preached Christianity and established the Alexandrian Church of which he was the first Bishop.

 

On the day of Pascha in 63 AD (3rd April / Pharmouthi, during which the pagans celebrated the Feast of Serapidos, St Mark was arrested while performing the Divine Liturgy and was imprisoned. The next day, 4th April, he was dragged through the streets of Alexandria by the crowd and died as a Martyr of the Church. He was buried by the Christians of the city in the area of Bucolus where the beautiful Church in his memory was later erected.

 

In the 9th century, Venetian traders took his holy relics to Venice where they can be found to this day in the Cathedral of St Mark in the city.

 

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