An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Mark the Evangelist, Saint

(Author of the second gospel. He was also known as John Mark. He was the son of Mary of Jerusalem. Although she was a widow, she was a woman of means. She owned a house which was large enough to hold a large Christian gathering, and she had at least one maid. The Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples may have been in her house. Mark may have witnessed some of the final events in Jesus' life. It is believed that Mark was in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was taken captive. The young man was noticed and about to be questioned. Apparently he lost his nerve and ran away, leaving his clothes in the hands of Christ's captors. Later on, Mark went to Antioch with his cousin Barnabas. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on part of their first missionary journey, but “ran away” again for some unknown reason. His action angered Paul. When Mark asked to go along on the second journey, Paul flatly refused. Mark seems to have been close to Peter. It is believed that Mark was Peter's secretary and wrote down many of the things Peter remembered about Jesus. The gospel which bears Mark's name may be based on the eye-witness reports of Peter. Mark is supposed to have taken Christianity to Alexandria. The church in Alexandria claims Mark as its first bishop. One ancient account states that he suffered a martyr's death there. Mark's life is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Apr. 25.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.