Traditions & NameDays

ST. MARK - April 25

Name day of everyone named Marko.

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, also known as John Mark, was one of the Seventy Apostles, and was also a nephew of St. Barnabas. He was born at Jerusalem. The house of his mother Mary adjoined the Garden of Gethsemane. As Church Tradition relates, on the night that Christ was betrayed he followed after Him, wrapped only in a linen cloth. He was seized by soldiers, and fled away naked, leaving the cloth behind. After the Ascension of the Lord, the house of his mother Mary became a place where Christians gathered, and a place of lodging for some of the Apostles.

St. Mark was a very close companion of the Apostles Peter and Paul and Barnabas. St. Mark was at Seleucia with Paul and Barnabas, and from there he set off to the island of Cyprus, and he traversed the whole of it from east to west. In the city of Paphos, St. Mark witnessed the blinding of the sorcerer Elymas by St. Paul. After working with the Apostle Paul, St. Mark returned to Jerusalem, and then went to Rome with the Apostle Peter. From there, he set out for Egypt, where he established a local Church.

When the Apostle Paul came to Rome in chains, St. Mark was at Ephesus, where St. Timothy was bishop. St. Mark went with him to Rome. There he also wrote his holy Gospel. From Rome St. Mark traveled to Egypt. In Alexandria he started a Christian school. St. Mark preached the Gospel in the inner regions of Africa, and he was in Libya at Nektopolis. During these journeys, St. Mark was inspired by the Holy Spirit to go again to Alexandria and confront the pagans. There he visited the home of Ananias, and healed his crippled hand. The dignitary happily took him in, listened to his words, and received Baptism.

The pagans seized St. Mark when he was serving the Liturgy. They beat him, dragged him through the streets and threw him in prison. There St. Mark was granted a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who strengthened him before his sufferings. On the following day, the angry crowd again dragged the saint through the streets to the courtroom, but along the way St. Mark died saying, "Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."

The pagans wanted to burn the saint's body, but when they lit the fire, everything grew dark, thunder crashed, and there was an earthquake. The pagans fled in terror, and Christians took up the body of St. Mark and buried it in a stone crypt. This was on April 4, 63. The Church celebrates his memory on April 25.