2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
The details of the life of St. Mark are scant. He is often identified as John Mark, whose mother's house was a meeting place for the disciples of Jesus, or as the young man who flees and loses his clothing at the time of the crucifixion. He is sometimes identified as the cousin of Barnabas, who vouched for Paul when he met with the apostles at Jerusalem. Mark and Barnabas preached in Cyprus after a quarrel between Barnabas and Paul. While Paul was imprisoned in Rome, Mark was with him; St. Peter is supposed to have influenced Mark, whom he calls "my son." Legends say that Mark wrote his gospel at the request of the Christian community at Rome under the supervision of Peter. Mark is traditionally considered the founder of the see of Alexandria, where he may have been martyred c. 74. The Coptic liturgy is attributed to him.
St. Gregory the Great is thought to have introduced the Major Litanies formerly done in Rome on the feast of St. Mark (25 April) to replace the feast of Robigalia (to ward off the mildew god) rather than to commemorate the apostle.
Mark is also the patron of Venice, which claims his relics. The original San Marco burned in the X Century. The mosiacs of his life in the present church date from the XII-XIII Centuries. Mark's symbol is a lion.
Karen Rae Keck
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