Mark, Pope, St.
MARK, POPE, ST.
Pontificate: Jan. 18 to Oct. 7, 336. Virtually nothing is known about Mark who is described by the Liber pontificalis as "a Roman by birth, son of Priscus." According to the Liberian catalogue, he was consecrated on Jan. 18,336. He died after a reign of less than ten months, and was buried, according to the Depositio Episcoporum, in the cemetery of Balbina on the Via Ardeatina (Oct. 7,
336) in a basilica that he had probably built; its ruins survived until the seventeenth century. He may be the Mark mentioned in a letter of the Emperor constantine to Pope miltiades in 313; if so, he was a longtime member of the Roman clergy before his election.
Mark founded the Titulus Marci (S. Marco), incorporated in the Palazzo Venezia during the Renaissance; S. Marco was at first named after him, and later placed under the patronage of the Evangelist. The Liber pontificalis states that this pope decreed that the bishop of Rome was to be consecrated by the bishop of ostia who was privileged to wear the pallium. St. Augustine testifies (c. 400): "The Roman pontiff is wont to be ordained by three bishops of whom the first is the bishop of Ostia" (Coll. c. Don. 3.16); but ecclesiastical use of the pallium is attested only for the middle of the fifth century, as illustrated on the celebrated Ivory of Trier.
Feast: Oct. 7.
Bibliography: Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 1886–92, 1958) 1:202–204; 3:81. h. leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq and h. i. marrou (Paris 1907–53) 13.1:1198–99. a. ferrua, "La basilica del papa Marco," La civiltà cattolica 99.3 (1948) 503–513, excavations. damasus i, Epigrammata Damasiana, ed. a. ferrua (Rome 1942). r. u. montini, Le tombe dei Papi (Rome 1957). j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictonary of Popes (New York 1986) 28–29. c. pietri, Roma Christiana (Rome 1976) 154–160.