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Author Topic: Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, the first Patriarch of the See of Alexandria  (Read 1118 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fortunatus
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« on: May 08, 2003, 09:41:36 PM »

+PiKhristos af tonf! Khristos anesti! Al Maseeh qam! Christ is risen!+

Axios, Axios, Axios, Abba Marcos pi Apostolos.
 
St. Mark the Evangelist
 
There is a tradition that St. Peter and St. Mark first visited Egypt together sometime prior to St. Mark’s independent visit(s). Little literature has been found to fully support this.

Eusebius, an early Christian historian, writes that St. Mark first visited Egypt on his own in the third year of the reign of the Emperor Claudius - this could be anywhere from AD 41-44.  As Dr. Otto F. Meinardus points out, his stay could not have been very long, because we know that in the year 46 he was in Antioch, and the year after he was in Cyprus. St. Mark’s whereabouts are known from the year 46 to 50, and then only for various parts of the year 58 to 62. So for virtually all of the years of 50-62, history does not give St. Mark’s whereabouts, nor from 62 to 68. The Coptic Orthodox tradition is that St. Mark died in Alexandria on Easter Day (May Cool, 68 AD. This long period of his disappearance in history compliments the Coptic tradition. More specifically, the Coptic tradition holds that St. Mark visited Egypt, and after staying there for some time, he had to leave. Before leaving, St. Mark ordained Anianus as Bishop for the people, and was happy when he returned years later to find that the Christian community had grown significantly.

Most of us are already familiar with the story of Anianus’ conversion; however, we will retell it for the sake of continuity. St. Mark had been traveling for some time, and upon arriving in Egypt, his sandal strap was torn. He took it to a cobbler (Anianus), who while repairing it struck a nail into his hand and cried out, “Oh the One God!” St. Mark was amazed that he called out to the One God, since this man was not a Jew. Naturally, the great Evangelist took advantage of the opportunity, questioning the man on his belief, and then expounding to him the fulfillment of the prophecies and the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ the Logos. Of course, he also healed Anianus' wound first. Anianus and his household believed and were baptized, and they hosted St. Mark during his stay in Alexandria. The church grew, and as mentioned, Anianus was ordained Bishop for it when St. Mark left for Occident.

After returning from the West, we are told that St. Mark spent time in the Pentapolis (the “Five Cities”) before returning to Egypt. The Pentapolis was later established as being under the jurisdiction of the Alexandrian Patriarchate. The Christians rejoiced to see him, and St. Mark rejoiced that they had increased dramatically in number. St. Mark wrote his Gospel during this time, the first of the four canonical ones.

The popularity of the Christians grew, and this upset the pagans living in the city. So much so, that in their fury over the rumour that Christians were going to physically overthrow the pagan gods, masses of them swarmed around the Bucolia (the first church in Alexandria which was originally a barn), demanding that St. Mark be given to them. This occurred on the feast of the Resurrection, 30 Baramouda, (May Cool, 68 AD, which coincided with festival of Serapis, the ancient Egyptian god. St. Mark was tied to a horse and dragged around the city, then thrown into prison for the night. An angel appeared to St. Mark, healed him, and told him that he would receive the crown of martyrdom the following day. Indeed, St. Mark was dragged once more around the city the following morning, tied to the horses by his neck, until he joined the ranks of the heavenly, surrendering his soul to his Redeemer.

The pagans tried to burn his body, but the Lord did not suffer for his body to be further abused. Great rains fell upon the earth, and the believers took his body and buried him.

St. Mark’s head was severed from his body during his torture, and it was the tradition that a newly ordained successor of St. Mark’s See, was to kiss and carry the head immediately after ordination. The new Pope would take the head around the church in procession, and vow before the altar and the congregation his commitment to shepherd the flock in the footsteps of the first Pope of Alexandria. His relics were briefly in control of the Melkites (Byzantine Orthodox coexisting in Egypt - see writeup on the Council of Chalcedon), but were returned to us after the Arab conquest. Later in history, his body would be stolen and taken to Venice - not returning to Egypt until 1968 - 1900 years after his martyrdom.

St. Mark is also said to have authored his Liturgy while at Alexandria, this Liturgy is used in its Coptic form today, and attributed to St. Cyril the Great (24th Patriarch of Alexandria) who translated it from Greek to Coptic.

Agape,
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Amen, maranatha!
 
"A man's life or death cometh from his neigbour; if we benefit our brother we benefit ourselves, and if offend him we sin against God."
-Abba Antony the Great
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Agape,
         Fortunatus
Amen, maranatha!
"A man's life or death cometh from his neighbour; if we benefit our brother we benefit ourselves, and if we offend him we sin against God." - The Great Abba Antony
Linus7
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2003, 09:53:45 PM »

Great post.

I love to read the lives of the Apostles and other saints.

Thanks. :clapper:
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The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Fortunatus
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2003, 12:18:05 AM »

+PiKhristos af tonf! Khristos anesti! Al Maseeh qam! Christ is risen!+

Peace and grace.

Hey Linus7,

Then maybe this would interest you too...  :walksmil:

Pope Peter, the 17th Pope of Alexandria, 'the Seal of the Martyrs' always used to refuse to sit on the throne of St. Mark. He would always just sit in front of it or beside it on the floor. THe people used to plea with him to sit on his throne, and he would refuse. Then one times the priests and Bishops did it, so he had a meeting with them and rebuked them, and explained to them that it was because he could see St. Mark sitting on his throne! Then he made them vow not to speak of it... so when Pope Peter was martyred, they took him and placed him on the throne of St. Mark in his Patriarchal garments. This then became the custom for all of our Patriarchs after their death.

Our previous patriarch, Pope Cyril VI, also often would sit at the feet of the throne for the same reason. His personal deacon also tells us of another story. In the Coptic Orthodox Church it is the custom that during a procession, the Pope's deacon will walk behind the Pope carrying the Papal Staff. During one procession, suddenly the Pope was ordering the deacon to walk in front of him. SO the deacon thought he had done something wrong and was being reprimanded! So he apologized, and the Pope said, JUST WALK IN FRONT OF ME! So the deacon walked in front of the Pope for the entire procession, and after it was done, the Pope said to the deacon, "Don't you know that when the Pope is before you you walk behind him? There was the true and first Pope of Alexandria and you were walking behind me!"

Smiley

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Agape,
         Fortunatus
Amen, maranatha!
"A man's life or death cometh from his neighbour; if we benefit our brother we benefit ourselves, and if we offend him we sin against God." - The Great Abba Antony
Linus7
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2003, 11:02:08 AM »

Fascinating, Fortunatus! Cool

Thanks! I'll be happy to read as many of those stories as you can post.

They are great examples of humility.
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The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Tags: saints Coptic Orthodox Church 
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