St. Mark The Apostle

St. Mark The Apostle

Saint Mark is credited with being the founder of the Coptic Orthodox Church, or the Church of Alexandria. Consequently, he is considered the first pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

An African native born to Jewish parents, Saint Mark received a good education, and was able to converse in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.

The traditional icon of St. Mark show a lion standing by his side. That is a reference to an event where Mark and his father were traveling to Jordan. During their trip, they encountered two lions. The father begged Saint Mark to run, but instead, Saint Mark began to pray. The two beasts fell dead and as a result of this miracle.

Saint Mark’s ministry began when he left Rome to his home town of Pentapolis (in modern day Libya) to preach the word of God. Afterwards, he headed for Alexandria, Egypt. Upon his arrival, Saint Mark went to a cobbler named Anianos to fix his torn shoes. While he was repairing Saint Mark’s shoes, the awl pierced his finger.  The Apostle took some clay, spat on it, and applied it to Anianus’ finger, and the wound healed immediately. Anianos and his family were baptized, and many others followed.

With the increasing growth of Christianity in Alexandria, St. Mark appointed Anianos a bishop as well as three priests and seven deacons. St. Mark left Alexandria to go to Rome. When he returned to Alexandria, Christianity had grown so much that churches were being built.

Saint Mark received the crown of martyrdom in 68 AD when the heathen mob captured and tortured him and put him into prison. The Lord appeared to him that night to support him. The torture resumed the following day until the saint departed. The Christians stole his body and buried it in their church in Alexandria.

In addition to establishing the church of Alexandria, some of the Saint’s other accomplishments are:

  • Authoring the earliest Gospel to be written

  • Establishing the “School of Alexandria” which defended Christianity against philosophical school of Alexandria and conceived a large number of great Fathers.

  • Authoring the Divine Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist which was modified later by St. Cyril to what is known today as the Divine Liturgy of St. Cyril

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