The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark

(From the Prologue from Ochrid)

Mark was a companion and helper of the Apostle Peter in his journeys. Peter, in his first Epistle calls him his son, not according to the flesh but a son according to the spirit (1 Peter 5:13). When Mark was with Peter in Rome, the faithful begged him to write down for them the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus, His miracles and His life. So Mark wrote his Holy Gospel which the Apostle Peter himself saw and testified to as true. Mark was chosen by the Apostle Peter to be bishop, and sent to Egypt to preach. As so Mark was the first preacher of the Gospel and the first bishop in Egypt. Egypt was oppressed by a thick darkness of paganism, idolatry, divination and malice. But with the help of God, St. Mark succeeded in sowing the seed of the knowledge of God in Libya, Ammonicia and Pentopolis. From Pentopolis, he went to Alexandria, whither the Spirit of God led him. In Alexandria, he succeeded in establishing the Church of God, in giving her bishops, priests and deacons and in rooting everything firmly in faithfulness and devotion. Mark confirmed his preaching with many and great miracles. When the pagans brought accusations against Mark, as a destroyer of their idolatrous faith, and when the governor of the city began to search for Mark, he fled again to Pentopolis, where he continued his earlier work. After two years, Mark again returned to Alexandria, to the great joy of his faithful, whose number had already increased very greatly. The pagons took the opportunity to seize Mark, and they bound him firmly and began to drag him over the cobblestones crying: "We're taking the ox to the stall!" They threw him into prison all injured and bloodstained where there apeared to him first, an angel from heaven, who encouraged and strengthened him, and then the Lord Himself. Jesus said to him: "Peace to thee Mark My Evangelist!", to which Mark replied: "And peace to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ!" On the next day, the wicked people hauled Mark from prison and again dragged him through the streets with the same cry: "We're taking the ox to the stall!" Utterly spent and enfeebled, Mark said: "Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit," an thus breathed his last and went to the better world. His holy relics were given burial by Christians, and through the ages they give healing to people from every pain and ill.

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  Added 8/99 revised 6/2000
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