SAINT MARK

March 29

From the Prologue

We are told about Mark's suffering by St. Gregory the Theologian and by Blessed Theodorit. According to this report, Mark, during the reign of Emperor Constantine, destroyed a pagan temple and converted many to the Faith of Christ. When Julian ascended the throne and, shortly thereafter, apostatized from the Faith of Christ, a citizen of Arethusa then also denied Christ and reverted to paganism. Then they rose up against Mark because he destroyed their temple, seeking that he either rebuild the temple or pay a large sum of money. Since the aged Mark refused to do either of the two, he was flogged, mocked and dragged through the streets. After that they severed his ears with a thin but strong thread. They then stripped him, rubbed him with honey, and left him tied to a tree in the heat of summer so that he would be bitten by wasps, mosquitoes, and hornets. The martyr of Christ endured all without moaning. Mark was very old, but in his countenance he shone like an angel. The pagans reduced the price for their temple even more and finally sought from Mark an insignificant sum, which he could have easily given, but he refused to give even one coin for this purpose. His patience made an enormous impression on the citizens, and they began to admire him for it and to feel sorry for him. They then lowered the cost of the temple to practically nothing, in order to allow him to live. Finally, they permitted him to go free, and one by one they all received instruction from him and returned to the Faith of Christ. At the same time, in the city of Heliopolis at the foot of Mt. Lebanon Cyril a deacon, suffered for a similar act. During the time when Christianity enjoyed freedom, Cyril destroyed some idols and under Julian the Apostate, was brutally tortured. So embittered were the pagans against him that when they killed him, they tore and ripped open his entrails with their teeth. The same day on which St. Cyril suffered, many others also suffered. The spiteful pagans carved up their bodies into pieces, mixed them with barley and feed it to the swine. Punishment reached them swiftly: all of their teeth fell out and an unbearable stench emitted from their mouths.





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