Mark, Evangelist, St.
MARK, EVANGELIST, ST.
There is no reason to doubt that the Mark or John Mark mentioned in the NT is the same person to whom the tradition, following papias of hierapolis, ascribed the authorship of the second Gospel (see mark, gospel according to). For knowledge of Mark, except for the statement of Papias, one is completely dependent on the NT. Mark was a member of the first Christian community in Jerusalem. His mother, Mary, owned a house in Jerusalem, which the Christians used as a place of prayer during Peter's imprisonment under Herod agrippa i (Acts 12.12). When Paul and Barnabas returned from their visit to Jerusalem (11.30), they took Mark back with them to Antioch in Syria (12.25). Later they brought him along as their [symbol omitted]πηρέτης (servant or assistant) on their first missionary journey from Antioch (13.5). However, after he had accompanied the Apostles through Cyprus, Mark chose to leave them rather than continue on to the mainland of Asia Minor (13.13). Luke offers no explanation for Mark's departure, but the fact that he returned to Jerusalem, not Antioch, suggests homesickness. He is mentioned later in Acts as again in Antioch and the subject of dispute between Paul and Barnabas as they made their preparations for a return journey to the churches they founded in Asia Minor; Barnabas, Mark's cousin (Col4.10), was sympathetic to him, but Paul would not hear of his again accompanying them (Acts 15.36–38). The disagreement ended in the separation of Paul and Barnabas. Mark accompanied Barnabas by ship to Cyprus, while Paul took an overland route with another companion (15.39–40). Eventually, Mark redeemed himself in the eyes of Paul, and the Apostle became dependent upon him during one of his imprisonments (Col 4.10; Phlm 24). Writing to Timothy during his final Roman imprisonment, Paul asked for Mark's assistance (2 Tm 4.11). The reference in 1 Pt 5.13 to Mark as "my son" indicates that he was an associate also of St. Peter.
In Christian iconography medieval artistic representations of Mark as an evangelist depict him with his Gospel and frequently, though not always, as having a
winged lion as a distinguishing feature. The image of the lion seems to be derived from Mark's description of John the Baptist as "a voice crying in the desert" (Mk 1.3), which artistic tradition came to compare to a roaring lion. The wings come from the application of Ezekiel's vision of the four winged "living creatures" to the four Evangelists. Following the datum of 1 Pt 5.13, artists sometimes associate Mark with St. Peter. Other representations of Mark follow the legends of his association with Alexandria. According to these legends he was bishop of Alexandria, cured a shoemaker there, and suffered martyrdom in the streets of the city.
Feast: April 25.
See Also: paul, apostle, st.
Bibliography: h. b. swete, ed., The Gospel according to St. Mark (London 1920) xiii–xxviii. v. taylor, ed., The Gospel according to St. Mark (London 1952) 27–31. c. e. b. cranfield, ed., The Gospel according to Saint Mark (Cambridge, Eng. 1959) 5–6. j. schmid, ed. and tr., Das Evangelium nach Markus (3d ed. Regensburg 1954) 6–7. j. blinzler, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 7:12–13.
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