Saint Mark the Evangelist is the Patron of Venice and Egypt, one of the 70 Disciples of Christ, and the author of the second Gospel account of the New Testament. Also known as John Mark in The Acts of the Apostles, he was the cousin of Barnabus and a close associate of both St. Peter and St. Paul. He followed the Apostle Paul on many of his evangelical journeys, and later journeyed with St. Peter to Rome and Egypt. Ancient writers such as Papias attest how St. Mark concisely recorded the words and memories of St. Peter in his account of the Gospel. As one of the Four Evangelists, St. Mark is represented in the Apocalypse of St.John as a winged-lion. Comments from many Church Fathers explain this is because Mark’s Gospel emphasizes the might and royal dignity of Christ.Later in life, Mark returned to Egypt to preach the Word ofChrist and baptize the pagans in that land.
While in Alexandria, a mob of enraged pagans seized Mark in the midst of serving the Divine Liturgy, and threw him into prison. There he was granted a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ, who strengthened him for the torments to come. The next day the pagans draggedSt. Mark through the city streets to the court house, but he died along the way, commending his soul to the Lord.The flag of Saint Mark is a royal red and bears the winged lion, which symbolized the Evangelist in Apocalypse of St. John (see above). It was the banner of the Republic of Venice, where the Saint’s relics currently rest after they were transferred there from Egypt during the Muslim Invasions.
Saint Mark is commemorated on April 25/May 8.