Mark was a traveling companion and assistant to the Apostle Peter, who, in his first Epistle, calls him his son – not a son according to the flesh but a son according to the spirit (I Peter 5:13). While Mark was in Rome with Peter, the faithful begged him to write down the saving teaching of the Lord Jesus, His miracles and His life for them. Thus Mark wrote his Holy Gospel, which the Apostle Peter himself saw and bore witness to as true. Mark as appointed as bishop by the Apostle Peter and was sent to Egypt to preach. And thus St. Mark was the first preacher of the Gospel and the first bishop in Egypt. Egypt was entirely oppressed by the thick darkness of paganism, idolatry, soothsaying and malice. With the help of God, St. Mark succeeded in sowing the seed of the teaching of Christ throughout Libya, Ammonicia and Pentapolis. From Pentapolis St. Mark came to Alexandria, where the Spirit of God led him. In Alexandria he succeeded in establishing the Church of God, in ordaining bishops, priests and deacons, and in firmly strengthening them all in the honorable Faith. Mark confirmed his preaching through many great miracles. When the heathens raised accusations against Mark as a destroyer of their idolatrous faith, and when the governor of the city began searching for Mark, he again fled to Pentapolis, where he continued to strengthen his earlier work. After two years, Mark returned to Alexandria, to the great joy of all the faithful, whose number had greatly multiplied. On this occasion, the pagans seized Mark, bound him tightly, and began to drag him over the cobblestone pavement, crying out: “Let us drag the ox to the pen.” Wounded and bloodied all over, Mark was cast into prison, where at first a heavenly angel appeared to him, encouraging and strengthening him. Then Lord Jesus Himself appeared to him and said: “Peace be to thee, Mark, my Evangelist!” To this Mark replied: “Peace to be Thee also, my Lord Jesus Christ!” The next day the vicious men brought Mark out of prison and again dragged him through the streets with the same cry: “Let us drag the ox to the pen.” Completely exhausted and worn out, Mark uttered: “Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” Mark expired and his soul went to the better world. His holy relics were honorably buried by Christians and, through the centuries, have given people healing from all afflictions, pains and diseases.
Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One.
O Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
When thou hadst received the Spirit’s grace from Heaven’s heights, thou rentest apart the webs of the philosophers; and on catching all of the nations in thy net, O all-lauded Mark, thou didst offer them to thy Lord, by preaching the Gospel of divine renown.