Saint Mark was one of the four Evangelists, traditionally identified with the cousin of Barnabas who accompanied him and Paul (Colossians 4:10; Acts 12-15). According to Papias he was the interpreter of Peter in Rome (cf. 1 Peter 5:13).

By the fourth century he was credited with the founding of the Church of Alexandria. His relics were removed from there and taken to Venice in the ninth century. His feast day is April 25.

The Book or Gospel of Mark is the second book of the New Testament. In it Jesus is depicted as a servant and a king, Man and God; Jesus is seen as a mighty worker rather than a great teacher. The verse of Mark 10:45, «For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his life as a ransom for many,» describes the scope of the book.

The book contains the preaching of John the Baptist (1:1-8); Jesus’ baptism and temptation (1:8-13); his appearance and ministry in Galilee (6:1-9; 14-15:43); his journeys in and out of Galilee (6:1-9, 50); his journey to Jerusalem (10); the last week there (11-13); death (14-15); and resurrection (16).

Most scholars and critics agree that Mark is the earliest of the Synoptic gospels; his crude Greek paucity of the sayings of Jesus and theological roughness were remedied in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. Mark’s main purpose of the book appears to have been to emphasize the importance of Jesus’ suffering and death over and above his reputation of a performer of miracles.

There is no reason to discount the traditions linking the gospel with Rome. It is evident from the by the numerous details of internal evidence, suggesting an eyewitness, that Peter contributed much to the gospel, but it is apparent that the author used other sources as well. Much of the material possesses an Aramaic coloring. Tradition holds the gospel was written in Rome most probably between the years 65 and 68 AD. A.G.H.


Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, p. 696
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 618