On this day Saint Mark the evangelist and apostle, the first of the Archbishops of the city of Alexandria, became a martyr. The name of the father of this holy man was “Aristopolus,” and he was born in Cyrene (One of the Five Western Cities Pentapolis – in North Africa), and his mother’s name was Mary, and she is mentioned in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Now the name of this apostle formerly was “John,” even as saith the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, for [it saith], “The Apostles were praying in the house of Mary, the mother of John, who is called ‘Mark the Apostle’” (Acts xii, 12). And this woman was rich, and she taught her son the Greek, and Hebrew languages. And when he was grown up, he took Barnabas with him into the preaching, when he departed with Saint Paul; and when he saw tribulation come upon them, and scourging, and disgrace in the country of Pamphylia, he forsook them and returned to Jerusalem. When the Apostles returned to Jerusalem, and held converse together concerning the reception of the Gentiles into the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and considered how God had worked signs and wonders by their hands, he was sorry, and repented, because he was one of them. And he sought to go with them, but Saint Paul did not wish to take him because he had forsaken them, but he took Barnabas, and Saint Mark went to Saint Peter in the city of Rome, and became his disciple. And there he wrote for himself his Gospel, and Saint Peter interpreted (or, translated) it, and preached it in Rome; and after this he walked in the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the commandments of the holy apostles in the city of Alexandria, and he preached therein the preaching of the Holy Gospel. And he also preached in the country of Africa, and Berka, and Pentapolis [the Five Western cities in North Africa]. As he was coming to the city of Alexandria, the latchet of his sandal broke off from his foot, and when he reached the gates thereof he found a certain sandal-maker there, and the saint gave him his sandal to repair. As he was sewing the sandal, the awl pierced his finger, and blood ran down from it, and he said in the Greek language, “Estaas,” which is, being interpreted, “one God”. And Saint Mark said unto him, “Dost thou know God?” And he said unto him, “Certainly not. We utter His Name only, but we do not know Him.” And Saint Mark began to talk to him about the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, and how the transgression of our father Adam took place, and of the coming of the Flood, and how God sent Moses, who brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, and gave them the Law, and how the children of Israel were carried captives to the city of Babylon from Jerusalem, and how our Lord Jesus Christ became man, and how the prophets foretold His coming. And then the saint spat in the dust, and smeared it on the hands of the sandal-maker and he was healed straightway. Now the name of the sandal-maker was “Anianus,” and he took Saint Mark to his house and he brought to him his sons and kinsfolk, and Saint Mark the apostle admonished them all, and taught them, and baptized them with Christian baptism in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And when the believers on our Lord Jesus Christ increased, and the men of the city heard the report of Saint Mark, they gathered together, and wished to kill them. And Saint Mark appointed Anianus archbishop, and he made his sons priests and deacons, and he went out to the city of Berka and to Pentapolis and preached in them, and strengthened the people in the Faith. And he remained with them two years, and he appointed bishops, and priests, and deacons over them, and then he returned to the city of Alexandria where the believers had increased in number. And he built a church in a place, which is known as the “Field of Bulls,” on the shore of the sea; and the infidels sought for Saint Mark to kill him. And he visited Pentapolis very frequently, and when he came back he entered the city of Alexandria secretly. One year he returned from Pentapolis and came into the church on the day of the festival of the Resurrection, which took place on the nineteenth day of the month of Miyazya, and all the people were round about him. And the infidels came into the church, and threw cords round the neck of Saint Mark, and dragged him about through the city, and they said also, “Let us drag him to the church in the ‘Field of the Bulls.’” And the blood of the saint was in every street of the city, and the district round about it, and the ends thereof. When the night came, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him in the form which He had when He was with the Apostles, and He gave him [the kiss of] peace, and strengthened him, and made a covenant with him, saying, “Behold, thou art the equal of thy brethren the Apostles”; and his soul rejoiced and was glad. And on the following day they put cords about his neck, and dragged him through the villages, and at the end of the day he delivered up his soul; and the infidels lighted a large fire and threw his body into it. And by the good pleasure of our Lord Jesus Christ there came darkness, and a cold wind, and the sun hid his light, and there was lightning and thunder and rain and hail, and the infidels fled before them. And certain believing men came and took the body of Saint Mark, which was whole and had suffered no injury, and they wrapped it up for burial in fine cloths, and laid it in a secret place. Salutation to Mark, whose body was crowned with lightning, and rain, and hail.
Glory be to God Who is glorified in His Saints. Amen.