April 25

From the Prologue

Mark was a traveling companion and assistant to the Apostle Peter who, in his first epistle calls him his son, "The chosen one at Babylon sends you his greeting as does Mark, my son" (1 Peter 5:13), not according to the flesh but a son according to the spirit. While Mark was in Rome with Peter, the faithful begged him to write down for them the saving teaching of the Lord Jesus, His miracles and His life. Thus, Mark wrote the Holy Gospel which the Apostle Peter himself saw and attested to its truthfulness. Mark was appointed a bishop by the Apostle Peter and was sent to Egypt to preach. As so, St. Mark was the first preacher of the Good News [Gospel] in Egypt and was the first bishop in Egypt. Egypt was entirely oppressed by the thick darkness of paganism, idolatry, soothsaying and malice. With the help of God, St. Mark succeeded to sow the seed of the teaching of Christ throughout Libiya, Ammonicia and Pentopolis. From Pentopolis, St. Mark came to Alexandria where the Spirit of God led him. In Alexandria, he succeeded in establishing the Church of God and installed bishops, priests and deacons and to firmly strengthen them all in the honorable Faith. Mark confirmed his preaching through many and great miracles. When the heathens raised accusations against Mark, as a destroyer of their idolatrous faith, and when the mayor of the city began to search for Mark, he again fled to Pentopolis where he continued to strengthen his earlier work. After two years, Mark again returned to Alexandria to the great joy of all the faithful, whose number was greatly multiplied. On this occasion, the pagans seized Mark, bound him tightly and began to drag him over the cobblestone pavement crying out: "Let us drag the ox to the pen." Wounded and bloodied throughout, they cast Mark into prison where, at first, a heavenly angel appeared to him encouraging and strengthening him. After that, the Lord Jesus Himself appeared to him and said: "Peace be to you Mark, my Evangelist!" To that Mark replied: "Peace be to you also my Lord Jesus Christ!" The next day the vicious men brought Mark out of prison and again dragged him throughout the streets with the same cry: "Let us drag the ox to the pen." Completely exhausted and worn out, Mark uttered: "Into Your hands O Lord, I give up my spirit." Mark expired and his soul was translated into a better world. His holy relics were honorably buried by Christians and, through the centuries, his relics give healing to people from all of their afflictions, pains and diseases.

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