He is also called "Mark the Athenian" because Athens was the place of his birth. His parents died after he completed his higher education in Athens. He thought to himself that death, even for himself, was unavoidable and that one should sufficiently prepare beforehand for that honorable departure from this world. Distributing all of his possessions to the poor, he sat on a plank in the sea and with a tenacious faith in God's help, prayed that God direct him wherever He wills. God, in His Providence, protected him and brought him to Lybia (or Ethiopia) to a mountain called Trache. Mark lived an ascetical life on this mountain for ninety-five years, seeing neither man nor beast. For thirty years, he waged a violent combat with evil spirits and suffered from hunger, thirst, frost and heat. He ate dirt and drank sea water. After thirty years of the most vehement suffering, the defeated demons fled from him and a angel of God began to bring him food daily in the form of bread, fish and fruit. St. Serapion visited him before his death and, afterward, made known the miraculous life of Mark. Mark asked St. Serapion: "Are there any Christians in the world now, who, if they were to say to this mountain, `Arise from here and hurl yourself into the sea,' would it be so?" At that moment, the mountain upon which they stood moved in the direction of the sea. Mark raised his hand and stopped it. Such was the miracle-working power which this man of God possessed. Before his death, he prayed for the salvation of mankind and then gave up his soul to God. St. Serapion saw angels as they bore Mark's soul and he also saw an extended hand from heaven which received it. St. Mark lived to be one-hundred thirty years old and died about the year 400 A.D.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE PRAYER OF SAINT MARK OF TRACHE
Behold the final hour on earth for me ticks,
I go where the Lord shines in place of the sun,
From the dusty, fleshly garment, I am leaving,
And before Your face O Christ, I am departing.
Just one more wish over the earth, I am unfolding
Before Your Throne, with prayer I penetrate:
For all mankind, I desire salvation,
For everyone and for all, freedom from sin.
I desire that the virtuous ascetics be saved,
And all diligent laborers in Your field.
I desire that prisoners [for the Faith] because of You, be saved,
For the sake of Your love, who sacrifice themselves,
And for sinners cruel, that, violence commit
And those who endure violence for Your sake,
Salvation to the monasteries [Lavras] with monks plentiful,
Salvation to the faithful; the tearful and the poor,
Salvation to the churches throughout the whole universe,
The Shepherds of the Church, to all as to me,
All the servants of God and handmaidens all,
Whom the world knows or whom in loneliness hide:
Salvation to the baptized ones and the adopted ones,
With the Life-giving Spirit of God enlivened:
Salvation to the humble and the merciful,
Faithful emperors and princes faithful
To every heart of man, the healthy and the infirm,
And salvation to my brother Serapion.
O Powerful Lord, that is my wish
And final prayer. Let it be Your will!
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