St. Mark the Evangelist — An Evangelist and Friend

St. Mark has many patronages, including lawyers, Venice, and stained-glass workers. His feast day is April 25.

Vladimir Borovikovsky (1757-1825), “Saint Mark the Evangelist”
Vladimir Borovikovsky (1757-1825), “Saint Mark the Evangelist” (photo: Public Domain)

Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is helpful to me in the ministry. ―2 Timothy 4:11b


Mark, also known as John Mark, does not specifically appear in any of the Gospels. However, we learn a fair bit about him in the Acts of the Apostles. Evidently, he was a very early Christian filled with great faith. Mark’s mother, Mary, was also a devout believer in Christ, frequently letting her home be used as a gathering place for the early Church members in Jerusalem.

Mark’s zest for Christ must have struck Paul in a profound way, because he asked Mark to go on an ambitious missionary journey with him and Barnabas. In the midst of the travels, however, Mark abruptly left the others; the Bible never gives a reason why, and readers can only guess, but it is clear that his leaving caused some serious tension. While Paul and Barnabas were planning another missionary voyage, they disagreed intensely over whether Mark should join them. While Barnabas firmly defended Mark, Paul was skeptical about his earlier abandonment, and their discord caused them to split.

In the end, however, it is clear that the distrust Paul felt toward Mark was eventually replaced with respect and friendship. He wrote in his Second Letter to Timothy that he desired to see Mark because Mark was helpful.

Besides helping the Faith grow at home and abroad, Mark also wrote the second Gospel. Mark’s Gospel has a few unique characteristics to it. The shortest of all the Gospels, it has a very plain writing style and seems to have been written after much interaction with Peter. Mark’s Gospel stresses the divinity of Jesus by putting a strong emphasis on his miracles.

Many historians believe that after writing the Gospel, Mark moved to Alexandria, Egypt, and became the first bishop there. Although the cause and date of his death are uncertain, most believe that he was martyred. A strong tradition also exists that the people of Venice obtained the remains of his body in the ninth century and brought them to Venice. There they constructed a stunning cathedral to hold his relics ― San Marco ― where St. Mark has been venerated for centuries.


A Novena of Days with St. Mark the Evangelist

St. Mark has many patronages, including lawyers, Venice, and stained-glass workers. His feast day is April 25 — which is also happens to be the latest possible date for Easter (this last occurred in 1943 and won’t happen again until 2038!). The list of passages below can offer insights into this Evangelist’s story—if desired, read, study, ponder, and jot down a few notes for nine consecutive days. See how St. Mark might inspire you.

  • Day 1) Acts 12:12
  • Day 2) Acts 12:25
  • Day 3) Acts 13:5
  • Day 4) Acts 13:13
  • Day 5) Acts 15:36–39
  • Day 6) Colossians 4:10
  • Day 7) 2 Timothy 4:11
  • Day 8) Philemon 23–24
  • Day 9) Mark 1:1ff