Saint Mark and Venice

Who was he?

   The story of Mark is largely lost in the mists of time, and it is almost impossible to sort out truth from legend. Both the Catholic Encyclopedia and indeed Wikipedia do their best, and I would suggest turning to them if you would like more.
   There are legends that link Mark with Christ: he was a servant at the Wedding at Cana, he brought water to the Last Supper. One that has occasionally appeared in art is the identification of Mark with the young man who ran away when Christ was arrested at Gethsemane:
And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:  And  he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. (Mark 14, 51-52.)

   Mark is associated with St. Paul, though it seems he may have fallen out with him. He is reputed to have acted as an amanuensis to St Peter in Rome, and became Bishop of Alexandria, where around the year 68 he was reputedly martyred. 


Giuseppi Cesare: Christ taken prisoner
Staatliche Museen, Kassel

Fra Angelico: St Peter preaching in the presence of St. Mark.
Museo di San Marco, Florence

Giovanni Bellini: The Preaching of St Mark in Alexandria
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Where would we be without The Golden Legend? This is the best source for the romantic and fanciful legends of St. Mark, though It does not include his dream of his resting place in the Venetian Lagoon, which was very much local to Venice.  Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History gives Mark a brief mention, locating him in Alexandria; Eusebius seems to have drawn what little information he had from the earlier writer Papias. 
   As for Biblical sources, there are references to a Mark, and a John Mark, in Acts, in various letters of Paul, and in 1 Peter. 

    St Mark Index 

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