St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

Feast of
Saint Mark, Evangelist
April 25



Anianus of Alexandria B (RM)
1st century. According to Eusebius and the apocryphal acta of Saint Mark, Anianus was a shoemaker by trade. He was converted to Christianity and became a disciple of Saint Mark when he was healed of an awl wound. His fervor and virtue were so great that Mark appointed Anianus as his vicar during his absence and upon Mark's death Anianus succeeded him as bishop of Alexandria for 18 years and seven months. Other sources have him a noble who was named bishop by Mark. Saint Epiphanius mentions a church in Alexandria built in the honor of Anianus (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).


Blessed Boniface of Valperga B (PC)
Died 1243. Boniface, a monk of the Benedictine abbey of Fruttuaria, was chosen to be prior of the Augustinian canons regular of Saint Ursus at Aosta in 1212 and finally bishop of Aosta (1219-1243) (Benedictines).


Erminus of Lobbes, OSB B (RM)
(also known as Ermin, Erminon)

Born in Laon; died 737. Erminus given the Benedictine habit in Laon by Saint Ursmar after his ordination to the priesthood. Erminus followed in Ursmar's footsteps by practicing his apostolic zeal as abbot and regional bishop of Lobbes (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Evodius, Hermogenes & Callistus MM (RM)
Date unknown. The Roman Martyrology mentions this group three times. On August 2, they are given as the three sons of Theodota, martyred at Nicaea in Bithynia. On the other two dates their martyrdom is placed at Syracuse, and in each of these places, the third name is given as Callista, indicating a sister and not a third brother. There is no passio of the martyrs of Syracuse, and it is possible that they suffered at Nicaea (Benedictines).


Blessed Giovanni Battista Piamarta (AC)
Born at Brescia, Italy, November 26, 1841; died at Remedello, April 25, 1913; beatified October 12, 1997. (Coming in 2000.)


Heribald of Auxerre, OSB B (AC)
Died c. 857. First as a Benedictine monk and abbot of Saint Germanus Abbey in Auxerre, then as bishop there, Saint Heribald demonstrated his love of well-regulated lives and ceremonies and well-built churches (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).


Kebius B (AC)
4th century. Saint Kebius was ordained bishop by Saint Hilary of Poitiers, and, returning into his own country, preached conversion in Cornwall (Husenbeth).


Macaille of Croghan B (AC)
(also known as Macculi, Macull)

Died c. 489. If this one is confusing, it is because I am confused. The sources say that there are two bishops whose feasts fall on the same day named Macaille (the second one actually has his feast on April 27). One was a disciple of Saint Patrick, and the other was only converted by him (though the stories do not indicate that either was really a disciple, per se, of Patrick). Today's Macaille was a disciple of Saint Mel and assisted him in receiving the vow of Saint Brigid. There is a tradition that Mel erred in using the service for the consecration of a bishop, and that Macaille strongly protested. Saint Mel refused to admit he was wrong and said that it was all the will of God. This Macaille became the first bishop of Croghan, Offaly. A third gentleman, sometimes known as Saint Maccai, was also a disciple of Saint Patrick and is venerated on the isle of Bute (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth, Montague).


Mark, Evangelist (RM)
Died c. 75; feast day in the East is September 23; feast of the translation of his relics to Venice is celebrated on January 31. Among the younger figures of the New Testament is John Mark (Acts 12:25), mentioned several times in the New Testament. Of the four Gospels his is the most vivid and informal because it was probably the first recorded (AD 60-70). In some ways it is the most descriptive Gospel, yet he writes as though it had to be done quickly. Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, Asia Minor, called him the interpreter of Peter, c. 130, and said that he preached the gospel in Alexandria. An ancient tradition had the Gospel written down in Rome for Gentile Christians.

He recorded the story of Jesus as he heard it from the lips of Saint Peter. "For," according to Papias, "he had neither heard the Lord, nor ever been his disciple, but later had attended Peter, who composed his teachings to suit the needs of the moment, but did not profess to make a regular collection of the Lord's sayings. And so Mark made no mistakes; writing down the particulars just as he remembered them."

Mark's Gospel is written in awkward Greek, full of Semitic turns of phrases, cumbersome participles, and a lack of transitions. Yet Mark's simple language, stripped of rhetorical flourishes, without oratorical periods, without concern for syntax, is perhaps the clearest language through which to see best the flesh and blood of Jesus. The miracles of Jesus must have deeply affected Mark because his Gospel recounts many of them. In order to demonstrate Jesus's divinity to the Romans, Mark skillfully shows Jesus as a worker of miracles rather than Jesus fulfilling prophecies that would be unknown to his intended readers. Mark's Gospel starkly sets out the demands of Jesus on his followers.

Jesus had suffered, says Mark; His followers will suffer similarly. Indeed, Jesus had explicitly warned the disciples about this. But it is also clear that those who can endure such sufferings will be greatly rewarded, for what Mark claims to be bringing is 'good news,' 'the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,' as he states in the very first verse. Another early historian, Eusebius, reporting the words of Saint Clement of Alexandria says that Saint Mark, a follower of Saint Peter, was asked by Roman tradesmen to compose a permanent memorial of Saint Peter's sermons, and so came to write, from his memory of them, the Gospel which bears his name. Saint Ireneaus also tells us that Mark was Saint Peter's interpreter and mouthpiece.

Saint Mark was a cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10). His mother, Mary, was evidently a person of some wealth and position in Jerusalem, for her home was a center of hospitality to which the leaders of the early Church naturally gravitated. When Saint Peter escaped from prison, he came "to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying," and it was a maid of the house, called Rhoda, who answered the door.

Mark was probably a Levite, because we know that his kinsman Barnabas was one (Acts 4:36), and perhaps a minor minister in the synagogue. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Antioch is AD 44 (Acts 12:25), then to Salamis in Cyprus, and with Barnabas was on Paul's first missionary journey (Acts 13:5), but left Paul at Perga in Pamphylia and returned alone to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). For some reason he evidently offended Paul, who did not take him on his second missionary journey to Cilicia and Asia Minor, which was the occasion of the disagreement and separation of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-40).

Mark accompanied Barnabas to Cyprus (Acts 15:39) and then, evidently back in Paul's good graces, was with him in Rome during his first imprisonment (Col. 4:10), where he was apparently a disciple of Peter, who affectionately called him "my son, Mark" (1 Peter 5:13). During Paul's second Roman captivity, shortly before his martyrdom, he writes to Timothy, who was at Ephesus, to "take Mark and bring him with you, for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11).

An early uncertain tradition, recorded by Eusebius, renders Mark the first bishop of Alexandria, but neither Papias nor Clement of Alexandria mentions it. The tradition says that upon his arrival in Alexandria, like Paul arriving in Damascus, Mark found lodging with an inhabitant, in this case with a shoemaker. The shoemaker was also to become a saint, whose feast is celebrated today-- Anianus. Tradition continues that Mark was martyred during the reign of Emperor Trajan or the "eighth year of Nero," and the shoemaker Anianus succeeded him as bishop.

One Easter Sunday, the uncertain tradition continues, April 24, 68, Mark was arrested. The long path of Jesus, from Gethsemani up to the palace of Anna, which Mark had not had the courage to pursue in Jerusalem, had been reserved for him, with a rope around his neck, from Alexandria up to the little port of Bucoles.

He fell several times along the way. Finally, after having carried his rope all day and then for a night, and feeling it sink into his flesh, in the end he no longer desired that it be removed. He wanted to find this collar to his measure, this light yoke--and died strangled. In the East, John Mark is believed to be a separate person who became bishop of Biblios and whose feast is celebrated on September 27.

Regardless of Papias's remarks that Mark never knew our Lord, there is speculation that he would have been acquainted with Jesus. He may have been the unnamed youth (mentioned only in Saint Mark's Gospel 14:51-52) who appeared at the time of the Betrayal, wrapped in a sheet, as if he had come straight from his bed, and who, when caught, escaped into the night (this has always been curious to me). It is likely enough that Saint Mark, as a boy, had been drawn to the scene, but it is only a conjecture. Other Scripture scholars note that the Last Supper may have occurred in the room reserved in Mark's mother's house for pilgrims, and that the Garden of Gethsamane belonged to the family. It would have been common enough for one of the family members or servants to sleep in the garden as a protection against thieves, which would explain the boy sleeping in the open (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Gill, Walsh, White).

In art, Saint Mark is an evangelist with a book or scroll and a winged lion. At times he may be shown (1) with palm and book (sometimes pax tibi Marce is written on his book); (2) as a bishop with his throne decorated with lions; (3) coming to the aid of Venetian sailors; or (4) rescuing Christian slaves from the Saracens (Roeder). The winged lion is used as Saint Mark's emblem. This is one of the four winged creatures of Ezekiel 1:10; 10:14 that were first applied by Jewish scholars to the four archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel) with reference to and later used in reference to the four major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel).

By the 2nd century after Christ, Christians transferred the emblem to the four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in written allusions. These became visual symbols in the 5th century. Traditionally, it is explained that the winged lion is chosen for Mark because his gospel speaks of the royal dignity of Christ, and because he begins his account of Saint John the Baptist with the "voice crying is the desert" (Appleton).

Saint Mark is the patron of Venice, to where his relics were reputedly brought in the 9th century from Alexandria. Although the original church of St. Mark in Venice was destroyed in 976, the rebuilt basilica contains both the relics and a magnificent series of mosaics on Mark's life, death, and translation. These date from the 12th-13th centuries and form a unique record (Farmer). He is also the patron of Egypt, glaziers, notaries, secretaries, and Spanish cattle breeders (for which there is no obvious explanation). He is invoked by captives (Roeder, White).


Mella of Doire-Melle, Abbess Widow (AC)
Born at Connaught; died c. 780. Saint Mella was the mother of SS. Cannech and Tigernach. After the death of her husband, Mella embraced religious life and died as abbess of Doire-Melle, Leitrim (Benedictines).


Phaebadius of Agen B (AC)
(also known as Fiari, Phebade)

Died c. 392. When the second Arian confession of faith was drawn up at Sirmium in 358, Bishop Saint Phaebadius of Agen, southern Gaul, worked with Saint Hilary of Poitiers to successfully stamp out the heresy in Gaul. His extant book in defense of the faith is so masterfully written that it increases our regret that his others works have been lost. Phaebadius was one of the best known prelates of his time and presided over several councils. At the council of Rimini in 359, Phaebadius and Saint Servatus of Tongres zealously opposed the Arians; however, Ursacius and Valens tricked them into accepting a captious proposition. When the two bishops realized the implications, they declared that they had been deceived and condemned what they had done at Rimini. To repair the evil he had unwittingly done, Saint Phaebadius redoubled his opposition against the heresy during the council of Paris in 360 and that at Saragossa, Spain, in 380. There is an excellent treatise refuting the heretical act of the council of Rimini, which Phaebadius is believed to have authored. It is translated into Greek in the 49th discourse of Saint Gregory Nazianzen. Saint Phaebadius was a decrepit old man when Saint Jerome mentioned him among "the illustrious men" of the Church (Benedictines, Husenbeth).


Philo & Agathopodes (Agathopus), Deacons (RM)
Died c. 150. Philo and Agathopodes were deacons of Antioch who escorted Saint Ignatius to his martyrdom in Rome c. 107. They took back to Antioch such relics of the saint as they were able to recover and are believed to have written the acta of his trial and death (Benedictines).


Robert of Syracuse, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died c. 1000. Benedictine abbot of a monastery at Syracuse, Italy (Benedictines).


Blessed Robert Anderton and William Marsden MM (AC)
Born in Lincolnshire, England; died 1586; beatified in 1929. Both Robert Anderton and William Marsden were educated at Oxford (Robert at Brasenose College, William at Saint Mary Hall). After Robert's conversion to Catholicism he studied for the priesthood at Rheims and was ordained in 1585, as did William. The following year they were martyred on the Isle of Wight (Benedictines).


Stephen of Antioch BM (RM)
Died 481. Patriarch Stephen of Antioch was the special target for the fury of the Monophysite heretics. In the end they attacked him at the altar, struck him down, and flung his body into the River Orontes (Benedictines).



About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on www.saintpatrickdc.org with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.