at prayer

St. Mark the Evangelist
St Mark
Feast Day 25 April: Sineu
Martyred c.67

The last twelve verses of the Gospel according to St Mark are missing from the oldest manuscript which ended at 16:8 with the empty tomb. Many alternative endings are known to have existed. His Gospel is thought to be the earliest of the Synoptic Gospels. He is also said to be the John whose other name was Mark (Acts 12:25) and a disciple of Saint Peter the first Pope. Although Mark is mentioned on more than ten occasions in the New Testament it is not known if the name refers to one person or several.

Some sources are of the opinion that the young man who fled naked from Gethsemane was Mark himself (Mark 14.51). Perhaps it would hardly be worth a mention if he were not? Others, such as St Jerome or St Augustine, consider that he neither heard the Lord nor followed Him.

Hippolytus, writing in the third century, referred to Mark as having stumps or mutilated fingers. Explanations range from self-mutilation (to enable him to leave the Jewish priesthood) to the metaphorical.

He is said to have preached in Alexandria and is, therefore, considered by both the Eastern and Western Churches as the founder of Christianity in Africa.

Designated a martyr, he is said to have died by being dragged behind several horse through the streets of Alexandria. In 828, his relics were removed to Rome having been covered in pork to prevent Muslim interference in their removal. The head remained in Alexandria and is preserved in the Coptic cathedral there.