Feast Day 25 April: Sineu
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
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.