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Mark the Hermit


Ascetic, polemicist, and theological author; d. after 430. Nicephorus Callistus (Hist. eccl. 14) says Mark was a disciple of john chrysostom (d. 407) and a contemporary of nilus of ancyra (d. c. 430). He was abbot of a monastery in Ancyra, but later became an anchorite, probably in the Judean desert. Although Nicephorus speaks of 40 treatises, only nine were known to Photius (Bibl. cod. 200). A 10th treatise, the important Contra Nestorianos, was published by J. Cozza-Luzi. In this work Mark used Scripture and the baptismal creed to refute the nestorians. Mark's works show an ascetic preoccupation, but their importance was attributed to their polemic and dogmatic character. He combatted the Nestorians and Messalians. He energetically repudiated the identification of grace with mystical experience. He saw the role and efficacy of Baptism in the Christian life in relation to Adam's sin and its consequences; but he rejected any explanation or excuse for sins committed after Baptism because of the corruption of human nature, the devil's influence, or Adam's sin. For him Baptism both destroyed original sin in man and infused into the soul a power of the Holy Spirit by which, with the free cooperation of man's will, he can resist evil tendencies and live as God would have him live. Photius (loc. cit. ) suspected Mark of Monophysitism; but his doctrine, particularly in the treatise De Melchisedech, is correctly based on the unity of person in the two natures of Christ.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca 65:8931140. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 9.2:196468. m. jugie, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 12.1:358361. k. jÜssen, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 7:11. j. quasten, Patrology 3:504509. m. f. argles, Dictionary of Christian Biography 3:826827.

[p. w. harkins]

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