"Holy Apostle Mark the Evangelist, intercede with God all-merciful that He may grant us the remission of our sins."
(Troparion of the Saint)
Each of the Gospels found in the New Testament call us to faith. Although not included in the original twelve apostles, St. Mark the Evangelist traveled with St. Paul and St. Barnabas to Antioch from Jerusalem. The primary source of his Gospel is St. Peter, along with his own experience in the early Church.
St. Mark, the author of the second Gospel, may have chronologically written the first Gospel. Having been encouraged by the Christians in Rome, he wrote his gospel in Greek to document the message of salvation in Jesus Christ. We read in his Gospel about Christ - His ministry, being the suffering Messiah, and discipleship to Him.
In the early Church the faithful assembled in the simple and humble homes of the Christians. The family of St. Mark was among the first prominent and affluent families of the time that accepted Jesus Christ as the Savior. His parents readily offered their house to be transformed into a church. It was in this environment that St. Mark grew and came to know the Apostles of the Lord. It is even considered that in this home was the "upper room" where the Mystical Supper was held; the same room where the Apostles were assembled on the Day of Pentecost; and the same place where St. Peter went when the angel of the Lord released him from prison (See Mark 14:13-31; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 12:1-12).
A disciple of the Apostles, St. Mark preached the Good News in many places. He was chosen by the Apostle Peter to become a bishop and to go to Egypt to preach the Christian Faith. As the first bishop of the Church in Egypt, he succeeded in overcoming paganism and established a strong community of believers to carry on his mission.
The pagans detested the success of St. Mark’s ministry and had him arrested and tortured. Thrown into prison, the Lord appeared to him and said: "Peace to you, Mark my Evangelist!", and St. Mark replied: "And peace to You, my Lord Jesus Christ!" The next day, St. Mark was tormented again by his persecutors. Weakened by this he prayed: "Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit", and at that moment, he fell asleep in the Lord.
The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark the Evangelist speaks to Christians of every generation. He reveals the teachings of Jesus Christ in a manner that was clearly understood in the early Church and carries the same message to the Church today!
We are called to be faithful disciples of the Lord as stewards of our Christian Orthodox Faith. We read in the New Testament: "For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" (Mark 8:36). This question asked by Jesus is so applicable today! It is a question posed to each of us and the answer is dependent upon our understanding and commitment to Christian Orthodox Stewardship.
True stewardship is the call to respond faithfully and obediently to the teachings of Jesus Christ. We read in the Holy Gospel according to Mark that our lives may experience obstacles, but our unwavering faith in our Redeemer will enable us to be victorious in the end!
To learn more about the stewardship of the saints, click here.