Bulletin Insert – April 22, 2018

The Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist

On April 25, we mark the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, author of the Gospel bearing his name, martyr, patron saint of Venice and notaries, and namesake of more than 230 Episcopal churches from Honduras to Alaska (according to the Episcopal Asset Map).

One of Jesus’ disciples, named Mark, shows up in several places in the New Testament, though we cannot be certain that all mentions of the name refer to the same person. Still, if this were the case, we would know that he was “the son of a woman who owned a house in Jerusalem, perhaps the same house in which Jesus ate the Last Supper” (Holy Women, Holy Men p. 344).

St. Mark Episcopal

St. Mark window at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Minneapolis, Episcopal Church in Minnesota

We would also see a reference in Paul’s letter to the Colossians: “Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas” (Col. 4:10), implying that Mark shared in Paul’s imprisonment. As Holy Women, Holy Men explains, “Mark set out with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but he turned back for reasons which failed to satisfy Paul (Acts 15:36–40). When another journey was planned, Paul refused to have Mark with him. Instead, Mark went with Barnabas to Cyprus. The breach between Paul and Mark was later healed, and Mark became one of Paul’s companions in Rome, as well as a close friend of Peter’s” (HWHM, 344).

St. Mark is connected with the Church in Alexandria, Egypt, where he is recognized as the city’s first bishop. The great cathedral and neighboring piazza of Venice are named in his honor and feature numerous images of a winged lion, the symbol of St. Mark and a reference to the four living beings mentioned in Revelation 4:6-8.

Collect for St. Mark the Evangelist

Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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