THE BEHOLDER OF
MARK THE EVANGELIST
H.H. POPE SHENOUDA III
THE BEHOLDER OF GOD
SAINT AND MARTYR
POPE SHENOUDA III
THE 117 Th.
OF THE SEE OF ST. MARK THE EVANGELIST
OF THE FOURTH EDITION
SAMIR F. MIKHAIL, MD.
MAGED S. MIKHAIL, MD.
PETER AND ST. PAUL COPTIC
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA 90401
Tel. : (310)
THE BEHOLDER OF
MARK THE EVANGELIST
SAINT AND MARTYR
Shenouda III, 117th Pope of
Alexandria and the See of St.
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE
AND THE HOLY SPIRIT,
ONE GOD AMEN.
Egyptian Orthodox Church in the United States
of America was named after
Saint Mark. It was logical to the
early Egyptians who came to the States to
choose his name. for
their first church in their new country. St. Mark was
and the preacher and the first bishop to their church. He is
one who led their forefathers to accept the faith and to confess
Jesus Christ is the Savior, and the Son of God. They had
appreciative to this great apostle.
The prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled and
became known to Egypt.:
"In that day shall there be an altar to
the Lord in the midst of
the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border
thereof to the Lord.
[Isaiah 19 - 19]
"Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless,
saying, Blessed be
Egypt my people".[Isaiah 19 - 25]
Here in our church at
Santa Monica, we felt obliged to
let our children know about this great
apostle and what he did
for Egypt. Since they can't read our books written in
about St. Mark and the See of Alexandria, it was necessary
translate to them in English so they can benefit from it.
Board of Directors unanimously chose the
book written by His Holiness Pope
Shenouda III about St.
Mark to be translated to the Egyptian Americans and
one who is seeking the knowledge and education.
We feel proud to introduce a concise translation of the
written by H.H. Pope Shenouda III which was published
in Cairo in 1968 and
was reprinted several times. This is a book
that the new Egyptian Americans
will be keen to read about the
church, whose fathers brought with them to USA
came to the land of immigration and never traded it
In our humble effort we want to thank the directors
the Church Board for the support to print this book and to all
contributed in that effort. Special thanks are in order to
Mr. Hany and Mr.
Nabil for their help in expediting the
publication of this book.
for God's blessing. We are thankful for the
opportunity given to us to print
this book in English. The
scholar who wrote "The Beholder of God, Mark the
Saint and Martyr", is no stranger to St. Mark, he is
Shenouda III, the 117 Patriarch in succession to our Saint. Let
prayers and blessings be with us, Amen.
September 1995 Father
Santa Monica, California. St. Peter & St.
Coptic Orthodox Church
We are indebted to this great preacher, who
came to our
country to teach in the name of Christ. The Word of
reached us after his blood was shed on our land.
We appreciate this
Saint, the first to write the Gospel
registering the life of Lord Christ and
His Works, so humanity
can be saved.
We are grateful to the Saint whose
name was given to
the first church in our country, where his body was buried
after him our Patriarchs were chosen. Their first duty was to
blessed by his tomb and holding his skull and dressing it
with a new
The great Saint preached in the name of Christ in
Cyprus, some countries in Asia, Rome and other
European countries. He is
honored by Venice and other
countries are seeking his blessings.
the apostle, the preacher, the evangelist, the
martyr, the beholder of God,
whose home was the first church
in the world [Acts 12 - 12]. In this home,
God instituted the
sacrament of the Eucharist and His disciples were with
He did many miracles and was symbolized by a
This lion is also the symbol of his Gospel and character.
neglected the Saint in the past ! Now we
will try, from our hearts to honor
him, as a father for all of us.
We celebrated the return of his relics with
joy. A new cathedral was built and was given his name, so
other churches built every where carrying his name, in
Egypt and in the lands of immigration, where our sons
daughters proudly feel, that they belong to this great preacher.
name was given to our first bishop in France.
His works, evoke the deep and
cordial feelings in our hearts,
whenever we celebrate his feast.
his way, is the least to express our feelings
towards this great preacher. It
is nice to complete his work
in preaching and teaching, and to remember his
struggle for the
faith. He took numerous trips, through the three
the ones known at his time. He walked along the long
till his sandals were torn.
Let his spirit be with us and by the
Grace of God, we
can proudly follow his path .
This book is just a kind of
expression of our gratitude
towards the great teacher and to acquaint his
daughters all over the world, with his pure life, that suffered
struggled so the faith can reach us.
This book was written in 1968 on
the occasion of the
return of the relics of St. Mark to Egypt and the
of the Saint Mark Great Cathedral at Anba Ruweis in
The book was reprinted to satisfy the demands from the public
their benefit .
Thanks to those who contributed in issuing this
particularly the staff at the Printing Shop at the Great
in Anba Ruweis.
THE UPRAISING OF SAINT MARK
Jew With A Gentile Character:
St. Mark was a Jew from the Levite Tribe
(1), he preached
both Jews and Gentiles, but mainly among the gentiles.
had two names, "John", is the Jewish name and "Mark", is the
one. Mark became his distinctive name. He was born a
Jew in Africa, thus he
is an African born Apostle. His
birthplace was in Gyréne, one of the Five
Western Cities in
Libya, in a small village called Aberyatolos.(2)
His Jewish name, "John", meant "The Kindness of God" (3)
was mentioned twice in the Book of Acts. [Acts 13:5,
13]. His Roman name was
"Mark" which meant a
"hammer"(4), an unfamiliar name to the Jews. (5)
his book, mentioned that he was the cousin of Philo. (6)
Apostle was mentioned as Mark in all the epistles of St. Paul
4:10 ; Phi 24 ; II Tim 4:11] ; St. Peter in [1 Peter 5:13] and
in the Book of
Acts [Acts 15:39]
On three occasions, his two names were mentioned
It was either said, John who was named Mark, or John who
known as Mark.
A Religious Family :
Mark was raised in a religious
family, many of its members
were the acquaintance to Lord Christ Himself. His
one of the "Marys" who followed Christ. The believers
and prayed at her house, at the time of the Apostles.
[Acts 12:12] She was a
reverend woman and highly regarded
by the early Christians. (7)
was Artistopolos, a cousin of the wife of St. Peter
mentioned that he was also related to Barnabas, one
of the seventy apostles
(8) St. Paul told the Colossians,
"Aristarchus my fellow prisoner salutes
you, and Marcus, sister's
son to Barnabas." [Col 4:10]. However, some of the
Latin and Coptic translations didn't mention the phrase
Barnabas" (9), may be due to the fact that
some of the Greek words had more
than one meaning. Bishop
Yousab of Fouwa, in his book, "The History of The
wrote that St. Mark was related to St. Thomas the Apostle.
religious family with such ties to the Lord Christ was a
good environment for
young Mark to grow up.
Anba Severus Ben Al Mokafaa, the Bishop of
Ashmouneen, wrote in his book, " The History of The
Alexandria", that St. Mark the Apostle was born in
Gyréne to religious
parents who knew the Law and the
His uncle Barnabas, or his
cousin, was one of the first who
sold property and lived a shared life with
the Apostles, as
mentioned in the Book, "And Joseph who by the Apostles
surnamed Barnabas, a Levite,(10) from Cyprus", "Having land,
and brought the money, and laid it at the Apostles' feet "
The Book of Acts testified , "For he was a good
man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith." The Holy
chose him to preach with Paul, telling him, " Separate me
and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them"
Barnabas, who was filled by the Holy Spirit and faith
and with Paul , John
and Mark, served as the Book described,
"And they had also John to their
minister". [Acts 13:5]
His Birth and Upraising:
He was born in
Gyréne, in the Western Five Cities, where his
father and uncle were rich. His
mother was also rich and was
capable of teaching him Greek, Latin and Hebrew.
excelled in them, (12) and became well educated in religion.
studied The Law and the history of the prophets. Because
of that wealth of
knowledge, some thought he was a translator
to Peter the Apostle during his
It was mentioned that some barbaric tribes attacked
family's properties in Gyréne, at the time of Augustus Caesar,
forced them to emigrate to Palestine. By the time Lord
Christ began His
teaching, the family was already settled
That was how Mark met
The Lord and became one of his
disciples. His mother Mary also hosted Him in
her house and
was among the women who served Him. It was mentioned
Mark was at the Wedding of Cana of Galilee, where God did
miracle, changing the water into wine. [John 2} He
was among those who tasted
ST. MARK'S HOME
THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH
had more fame than St. Mark's home. It was there
where Lord Jesus Christ
observed the passover with his pure
disciples. There He washed their feet and
gave them His
Covenant, His Holy Body and Blood. That was where
disciples hid before the resurrection. In it, the Holy Spirit
the disciples and they spoke in tongues. This great home was
first Christian Church and its most upper room was the
All these facts were mentioned in our Coptic references as
as in books of the Catholics, Protestants and other
In his book
" Les Saints d'Egypte", Father Paul Dorliane
Chineau testified that Mark was
known as 'son of Mary', the
neighbor and the hostess of Christ, and that
Mary's home was
where Christ celebrated the last Passover, (15) It was built
Mount Zion, on the big rock.
Another distinctive testemony was what
a Catholic scholar in the sixteenth century, referred to
Mark's home, "It was a destination for the Lord Christ and
followers, where He celebrated the Passover with them and
hid after His death. In its upper room, the Holy
Spirit filled them, thus it
became the first Christian church. (16)
The same was mentioned by Theodosius,
a Sixth Century
writer, in his book "The Holy Land", and was published
Gildemeister in De Situ Terrae Sanctae ( 43 p. 20)
Encyclopedia (17) mentioned that St. Mark's
home was the center of the
Christian life in Jerusalem.
As The Lord Christ celebrated the Passover in
home, all scholars concluded that he was the man who
the water pitcher, Our God talked about to His disciples
said, " Go you into the city, and there shall meet you a man
pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he
shall go in, say you to the
goodman of the house, The Master
said, where is the guest chamber, where I
shall eat the Passover
with my disciples? " [Mark 14: 13-15] & [Luke 22:
Alexander pointed to this in his book " Landatio Barnaboe "
The upper chamber in St. Mark's home, where the disciples of
assembled, was mentioned, "These all continued with one
accord in prayer and
supplication, with the women, and Mary
the mother of Jesus, and with His
brethren." [Acts 1: 14]
In the same room where they were sitting, the Holy
filled them, and it " Filled the house" ; "They began to speak
other tongues". [Acts 2:1-4] Accordingly, this house
establishment of the First Church.
Thus it wasn't surprising to honor this
house as the first
church. When the angel freed St. Peter from the prison,
went directly to this house, "He came to the house of Mary the
of John, whose surname was Mark ; where many were
gathered together praying".
[Acts 12:12] (18)
What a person he would be in such amazing
environment ? A person who served the Lord. ! A person who
raised in the arms of his righteous mother, among relatives
Apostles, in a house which God entered, where
He gave His Body and His Blood
and filled them with the Holy
Nobody within such an environment,
would be, other than
the Beholder of God, St. Mark the Evangelist, who joined
disciples, and became one of the selected Seventy Apostles.
ONE OF THE SEVENTY APOSTLES
Throughout the years, the Coptic historians professed
St. Mark was one of the seventy apostles, as mentioned by
Evangelist. [Luke 10:1-12] Our contemporary
writers, (19) as well as those in
the Middle Ages. shared this
fact. Severus Ben Al- Mokafaa, Bishop of
the tenth century mentioned it in his book. (20) Ben
included his name in both, the origional Coptic and the Greek
of the apostles (21)
This was also reported by Al Maqrizi, a Muslim
from the Middle Ages, saying that he was among the
Describing Mark as the Evangelist whose name was John, who
three "tongues", Foreign, Hebrew and Greek. (22)
Ibn Al Salibi, Bishop of
Amad, in 1149, included him among
the seventy two .(23)
Bishop of Cyprus mentioned this fact in his
book. Before him, Origen, a
scholar of the second and third
centuries, reported this in his book the
"Faith in God", saying
that Mark was among the seventy, who were chosen by
be His messengers. (24)
Among the non Orthodox, we find Al Mushreki
introduction, explaining the Gospel of St. Mark, included him
the seventy apostles and was named Theophoros,
meaning the bearer of
Chineau, who is a Catholic, in his book " Les Saints d'
called Mark an apostle. [ Apôtre]
In our Church's Ritual Books:
Mark the apostle, (25) is
the title given to this Saint, in all the
prayers and praises. He has another
title in the Doxlogies, as in
the song of Watus,(26) referring to him as
That is the same title which is repeated in all the
songs for the
Saint, in the book for the Annual Praises. (27)
When we read
his Gospel we say , "From the Book of St.
Mark the preacher and the pure
He is always mentioned as a disciple and an apostle of God.
his feast day 30, Baramoda, the readings are about the
selection of the
apostles, their work and their authority. (28)
Among the very distictive
testemonies that support this
belief, are the readings of his Gospel during
the "Cross and
In front of each icon, relevant readings
are read. In front of
the icon of the angels, the related readings are said,
and so on
for the icons of the martyrs. When the icon of St. Mark
reached, the verses from the Gospel according to St. Luke are
beginning with, "After these things the Lord appointed
other seventy also and
sent them two and two before His
Our Catholic brethren confess
his apostleship as an apostle, as
shown in the Theotokion (29) where it is
a- "O Mark the apostle the evangelist... all earth's tribes
blessed by you. Your words reached everywhere." Probably
phrase was taken from Psalms 18:4. that gives the idea
that his service was
more universal than regional.
b- "Three heavenly names you were awarded O
theologian, the evangelist and the apostle. You had been
awarded three crowns O belover of God : the crown, you had
an apostle, the crown of martyrdom and the crown of
c- " Your
fellow apostles are proud of you and we are proud of
them and you." The words
of his fellows made him on the
same line of the apostles and that the
fellowship bound them as
All scholars agree that Mark was the young
followed Christ at the time He was arrested, "And there
certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about
his naked body; and the
young men laid hold on him: And he
left the linen cloth, and fled from them
naked." [Mark 14: 51-
The church, to protect her sons and daughters
from any false
assumption, insisted on calling Saint Mark with the title
to all of us, that is " The Beholder of God "
THE BEGINNING OF
THE PREACHING OF SAINT
His First Miracle:
St. Mark's father, was the first to receive the faith
through his son. On
their way to Jordan they were faced by
two beasts, a lion and lioness. The
father realized that they
would be eaten soon by the beasts. He urged his son
and leave himself to the lions. Mark assured him that
would protect them and prayed saying, "O' Christ the Son of
save us." Immediately the lions perished and they were saved.
Arstopolis accepted Christ immediately (30) through his
and confessed his faith The father died later as a
St. Mark And The Lion:
The lion's event led the
artists to insert a lion in all of his
pictures. It is possible also that
because of the beginning of his
Gospel, he described a roar of a lion, "The
voice of one crying
in the wilderness." Or because that his Gospel
Christ in His Majesty and His Kingdom, as He was " The
of the tribe of Judea."
Always it is referred to the four
Evangelists, as the four
beasts, mentioned in the Book of the Revelation, [4
: 7]. The
lion symbolized St. Mark the first among them.
We noticed that
the people of Venice, took St. Mark as their
Patron and intercessor, and
adopted the lion as a symbol. They
have a big statue for a winged lion in St.
Mark Square in their
city. The artists competed trying to show a tame lion
Mark as he extracted its cruelty and kept for it its
Preaching With The Apostles:
St. Mark began his preaching
at a very early age. At the
beginning he accompanied other apostles. In the
Book of Acts,
it is mentioned that he worked with St. Paul and St.
the Apostles, but before that he worked with St. Peter
Jerusalem and Judea. Severus Ibn Al Mokafaa stated that after
resurrection, Mark accompanied Peter, preaching the
multitudes in Jerusalem
and went from there to Bethany to
preach the Word of God. (32)
1- Les Saints d'Egypte p. 465 .
Severus Ibn Al Mokafaa: The History of The Patriarchs,:
may be born in
Adrenapolis, now called Darnis.
3- Schaff: History of the Christian Church,
vol. , I , 628.
5- Hastings' : Dictionary of the Bible p.
6- Ant. 18 :8 :1 and 19 :5 : 1.
7- George Post: Dict. part Ii p.
8- Ibn Kabar: the Lamp of the Darkness: the 4 th book.
9- Ibn Kabar mentioned that Mark was Barnaba's cousin.
Read for Kamel Nakhla :"St. Mark" p. 40 & p.
10- This may prove that Mark was a Levite.
11- Synaxarion: 30,
12- After Anba Severus,Bishop of Nastowa. [ nineth century.
Severus Ibn A Mokafaa: The History of the Patriarchs.
14- Ibn Kabar: The Lamp
of the Darkness: the fourth book.
15- Les Saintes d'Egypte p. 496.
Francis Al Etre The Magazine of The Rock 1951 p. 118-
The Church History for
Vlademire Gitta part I P. 258 &
Concise History of The Coptic
Nation, Selim Soliman
Francis El Etre p. 274.
17- Encyclopedia- Britanica
11th edition. : Mark.
18- Look for the last chapter of this book.
Anba Isitheiros, Habeeb Guergis, Menasa Youhanna,
Francis El Etre, Kamel
Saleh Nakhla & Iris Al Masri.
20- The History of the Patriarchs. part
21- The Lamb of the Darkness: the fourth book.
22- Al Maqrizi : al Kawl
Al Abrizi edition: 1898 p. 18.
23- Explanation of St Mark Gospel [ introduction]
24- De Recta
in Deum Fide.
25- Look the chapter of the church rites and prayers, this
26- p. 113 - p. 119 .
27- P. 122 - P. 123.
28- as # 25.
Rome edition for the Catholic Copts.
Kiak month P. 175 - 177
of The Rock, 1951, p. 105-P. 107
30- Ibn Kabar: The Lamb of The Darkness: The
31- Kamel Saleh Nakhla : St. Mark the Preacher P. 48.
History of the Patriarchs: Part I
MARK THE EVANGELIST
UNIVERSAL PREACHER NOT FOR EGYPT
1- A UNIVERSAL
Although St. Mark was particularly the preacher for
yet he was a universal preacher for all humanity. St.
Bishop of Nastora (from the ninth century ) truly said that
great St. Mark, enlightened Egypt, and the world.
He was one of the
seventy apostles, who were sent by God to
He was one of the four
who preached the world by the
Gospels they wrote. The world still benefits
from the books
without limitation. They were meant for all the world and
for one particular church.
With his holiness, all the world benefited.
He established The
Theological School of Alexandria which enlightened the
The only known continents at that time were limited
Africa and Europe. St. Mark preached in all of them to spread
Word of God.
2- HIS PREACHING IN ASIA AND EUROPE
St. Mark preached
in Judea, Lebanon, Syria, Antioch and in
Cyprus. He reached Paphos,
Pamphylia, Rome, Colossi ,
Venice and Aquila.
Preaching in Judea:
He preached with St. Peter in
Judia, Jerusalem, Bethany and
He accompanied St. Paul and St. Barnabas on their first
They went to Syria, and particularly to Antioch. [ Acts 11 : 27
30] ; " And took with them John, whose surname was Mark."
handled with them the Word of the Savior to Antioch
about 45 AD.(1) This was
also mentioned by Josephus the
famous historian. (2)
He went with them to
Seleucia, [Acts 13 : 4] which was the
port of Antioch. (3) St. Mark came
again to Antioch with
Barnabas the apostle, [Acts 15 : 37] after the council
Preaching in Cyprus:
In his first trip with
St. Paul and St. Barnabas, they preached
together in Cyprus. "They departed
to Seleucia then they sailed
to Cyprus. And when they were in Salamis,(5)
the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews : and they
also John to their minister." [Acts 13 : 4-5]
Hasting mentioned in his
book the " Dictionary of the Bible "
(6) : that Mark was serving with them,
meaning that he was
assisting them in the preaching. This word was used with
meaning in Luke 4 : 20 . It is probable that Mark was known
fellow Jews by the name of John, the servant [ who
was in the service of God
We hear about St. Mark after the council of Jerusalem in
year 50 or 51 AD, when he went again to Cyprus with St.
so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto
Cyprus." [Acts 15 :
Preaching in other places in Asia:
In his first trip with Saint
Paul and Saint Barnabas, St. Mark
preached with them in Paphos, then went
Pamphylia. Later he left them and returned to Jerusalem. [
13 : 13]
We don't know the reason why he left them, but we know
his return saddened St. Paul the apostle, that he refused to
Mark with him when he returned to visit the believers in Syria
Selukia. Paul disputed with Barnabas that they left each
other. Paul realized
how important the service of St. Mark was,
as we will see later.
Lebanese believe that St. Mark was one of their
preachers and that he was the
first bishop in Gobayel. His
Holiness Mar Aghnatius Yacoub, Patriarch of the
Orthodox, said that Mount Gobayel is proud of her first bishop
In the book "Antioch the Great, the City of God ", by Dr.
Rostom, (8) it is written that Mount Lebanon was
reached by St. Mark.
Mark's seat was in Alexandria, and the five Western Cities
belonged to this
His Preaching in Rome:(9)
St. Mark and St. Paul established
the Church in Rome. The
relation between St. Mark and St. Peter was written
Moraweg Al Akhyar book, [ He traveled with him to the
city of Rome and shared with him the effort,(10) also
mentioned that when
Peter left Rome for a long journey, he
"ordered his dear disciple Mark to
serve this church." (11)
His Preaching in Colossi:
This was clear
from the recommendation of St. Paul to the
Collosians, "Aristarchus my fellow
prisoner salutes you, and
Marcus, son of Barnabas' sister, touching whom you
commandments: if he comes unto you, receive him." [ Col. 4
His Preaching In Venice and Aquila:
credited St. Mark for his preaching. The
people of Venice stole the body of
the Saint, took him as their
intercessor and a Patron of their country.(12)
also that he preached them, before going to the Five
Cities.... If he had gone to Italy and preached in Rome,
could have stopped him from preaching Venice. Aquila, is
Venice, was claimed to be within the area that belonged to
preaching of St. Mark. It was said that St. Mark preached his
in Akopla (14) and it had many antiquities. All the
Italians appreciated his
Away from Asia and Europe, the preaching of St.
continued in the Five Western Cities, Alexandria, the
regions and later after his martyrdom it was extended to
Sudan and Ethiopia..
Saint Mark's preaching wasn't limited to Egypt.
Church was his main work although his contributions
His Preaching In Africa:
At the ordination of the
Patriarchs in Egypt, they repeat,
"The seat of St. Mark, the Evangelist,
with the true knowledge
that he called for in all the universe for the
comfort and soul
saving." His individual great work, was his Gospel,
Liturgy, and the establishment of the Theological School
When we celebrate the feast of this Saint, the world shares
celebration with us , expressing the gratitude towards the
1- Selim Soliman and Francis El Etre : Concise
History of the
Coptic Nation p. 274.
2- Josephus: History of the Jews 2,
3- Ruined, near to it present village Al Kalsi.
Dictionary. of the Bible Vol. 4 P. 245
5- Salamis, capital of Cyprus
Hastings' Dictionary. of the Bible Vol. 4 P. 245
7- The History of the Syrian
Church of Antioch.
8- G. 3 P.398.
11- Moraweg Al Akhyar fi Taragem Al
Abrar [25 Nisan ] p.
12- La Rousse P. 1522.
13- Cardinal Paronios
in 45 AD [The Rock 1951]
14- in Nuba, known as Marcusa, disappeared by the
ST. MARK AND ST. PETER
MARK AND THE INJUSTICE:
How much injustice did St. Mark receive from the
of St. Peter ? They tried to rob him his apostolic dignity,
credit all his efforts to somebody else? I mean St. Peter.
OF THEIR CLAIMS:
1- Denying his fellowship to the Lord during the period
Lord's ministry on earth and that he became Christian only
the resurrection at the hands of St. Peter.
2- They claimed that St.
Mark's Gospel was written by St.
3- They attempted to credit all
St. Mark's preaching, even that
in Egypt and the Five Western Cities to St.
Strange was the fact that they tried to falsify the history of
fathers and our church.
A- The Attempt To Deny Him His Faith And
They ignored the fact that Lord Christ used to enter
house, and ate the Passover with His disciples there, and that he
the one who was carrying the pitcher of water when the
two disciples met him
on the road and followed him according
to God's plan. [Mark 14 : 13, 14] All
the references pointed
that St. Mark was the young man who followed Lord
night He was arrested, "Having a linen cloth cast about
naked body ;and the young men laid hold on him : And he left
cloth, and fled from them naked." [Mark 14 : 51, 52]
In spite of all of that,
they tried to rob the great apostle his
faith. They claimed that St. Mark was
one of those who
accepted the faith by St. Peter after the receiving of the
Spirit at the beginning of Christianity. They claimed that St.
referred to him in his first epistle as his son, because he
Christian by him. (1)
In the book " Moraweg Al Akhyar", accepted by
Meximos Mazloom, it was written that St. Mark didn't
Christ except after His resurrection, through St. Peter, who
him in his entourage. Again that was why he called him,
his son, in his first
More strange, is the fact that they published what
referred to Papias, claiming that St. Mark, "didn't hear God
They forgot that St. Mark was one of the seventy
we mentioned earlier. (3) This was proven in the history
and rituals. The Coptic Catholics praise him in their
Theotokion, (4) saying "O the evangelist, the apostle,
theologian.evangelist, the apostle, you were awarded the crown
being an apostle, your fellow apostles were proud of you and
we are proud of
them and you."
So if he was an apostle to God, then how come he didn't
God nor followed Him. ?! If he was one of the seventy
how come he didn't become a believer till the
Pentecost by Peter, while his
house was prepared for
celebrating the Passover for God. St. Peter, we are
wouldn't have approved what Papias wrote, in trying to
credibility of Mark.
The fact that Peter called Mark his "son", didn't mean that
was a son in the faith, but as a father because of his age. (5)
Catholic history and liturgy books, Mark was described
as an apostle.
French Encyclopedia, with its Catholic publishers, stated,
"The claim that
Mark was a disciple of Peter was nothing other
than stupidity based on some
B- The Attempt to refer his Gospel to Peter:
called it the "Book of St. Peter and His Follower
Disciple". Father Chineau
called him, " His dear secretary and
translator" (7) [ Marc, son secretaire
et son cher interpréte.]
Others said that Peter dictated the gospel to Mark.
claimed that Mark wrote from the collection he had when he
Peter, or from what he knew from him. Some even dared
to call this Gospel,
Bizarre was the printing of these claims in our liturgy
when they published them in their countries. As in the case
Rene Basset published a Synaxarium in Paris about the
"Patrologia Orientales" and mentioned on St.
Mark's feast on the 30 th of
Baramoda, "He went to Peter in
Rome and became his disciple. There he wrote
his Gospel that
Peter dictated to him, and preached in Rome."(8) That is
it appeared in French : "Marc, alla trouver Pierre à Rome et
son disciple. Ily êcrivit son evangile que Pierre lui dicta
et l' annonça
dans la ville"
In order to express this wrong idea about the Book of
they created an icon for St. Mark by the artist Angelico
Mark at Peter's feet, while preaching in Rome, with a caption
the book which read, : " Saint Marc assis au Pieds de Saint
Prechant au Romains, note dans un livre ses paroles"
Here we may say that the Gospel was Mark's and it
dictated by Peter, but was from the filling of the Holy
Mark the apostle had no need to know from St. Peter
information about Lord Christ, he knew it very well as he
God and saw His miracles from the start, beginning
with the first one at the
wedding in Cana of Galilee, as one of
the seventy apostles. He knew it all as
his house was the place
where the apostles assembled and with them was Saint
the Mother of God.
C- The Attempt To Credit St. Peter For St.
According to their story, it was St. Peter who sent
Egypt and the five western cities and he was the one to be
Father Peter Fermag, a Jesuit, in his book, "Moraweg al
wrote, " When King Kilouddos dismissed the Jews
from Jerusalem, 49 AD (10)
The Beloved St. Peter was sent to
Egypt to preach the Holy Bible."
Mazloom, The Roman Catholic Patriarch, a
Melchite, repeated the same words
saying, "St. Peter sent St.
Mark to Egypt in 49 AD,(11) to preach these
people with the
Gospel that he wrote."
In a bizarre words Father Chineau
in his book, "Saints of
Egypt" wrote that St. Mark, after preaching in the
cities, went to see his distinguished teacher, Peter the
to give him an account for the assignment that was given
It is known, that the Holy Spirit directed the apostles in
preaching. This was shown in the Book of Acts, where it
mentioned that St. Paul and his company, after going through
Phrygia and Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit
go to Asia. When they arrived to Mysia they tried to go to
and the Holy Spirit stopped them. During the night,
when Paul saw a man from
Macedonia in a vision pleading to be
reached for help, he realized that the
Holy Spirit was guiding
them, and God was calling them to go and preach.
[Acts 16 : 6
What Chineau mentioned was strange. He said that St.
the apostle, went to St. Peter, his teacher to deliver an
about the assignment that was given to him. However himself
same chapter in the Book of The Saints of Egypt, he
referred to St. Mark, "By
the guide of the Holy Spirit he sailed
to Cyrene, then to Alexandria. These
were his words in French,
"Ensuite sur L'inspiration d'Espirit Saint, il
Cyréne et fit voitle vers Alexandrie" (13)
difference when one speaks guided only by his
conscience, and when he speaks
influenced by a fixed idea,
trying to have the world to adopt his
Historians agreed of what Severus Ibn Al Mokafaa, Bishop
Ashmouneen, in the tenth century when he said, "The region of
was assigned to the apostles with the guide of the
Holy Spirit, to preach the
Word of God...St. Mark's assignment
was to go to Alexandria by the order of
the Holy Spirit, so they
listen to the words of the Gospel of Lord Christ."
The Claim Of Being Ordained As A Bishop:
Among the strange
things mentioned about St. Mark was his
appointment by Peter as a bishop in
three different continents.
It was said that Peter the apostle appointed him
a bishop of
Akoyla, near Venice in Italy, in Europe. It was also
that he was appointed also by Peter as bishop for Gobayel
in Lebanon, that is in Asia. This was beside the appointment
Bishop of Alexandria in Africa. That is, he was appointed as a
in the only known three continents of the world at that
claims, they confused every body. Probably they
were trying to express their
views about the Roman supremacy,
at a time when Alexandria was on the top
among the universal
councils. At that period the pope of Alexandria was
"The judge of the universe".
The Works Of St. Mark With St.
St. Peter was related to St. Mark. Peter's wife was the
of Mark's father. Thus St. Peter was like a father, age wise.
Peter used to visit their home frequently and when he was freed
jail by the angel, he went directly to, "The house of Mary
the mother of
John, whose surname was Mark; where many
were gathered together praying."
[Acts 12 : 12]
It may be possible that Mark had accompanied his relative
his preaching in Jerusalem and 'Beth-Ania' and other Jewish
was mentioned by Severus Ibn Al Mokafaa in his book
"the History of the
St. Mark was with St. Peter when he wrote his first
and he wrote, "The church that is Babylon, elected together
you salutes you and so does Marcus my son." [ I Peter 4 :
13] A big dispute
among the historians occurred about this
Babylon. Was it literally Babylon,
or what meant was Rome.?
Did St. Mark really preached in Rome with St.
DID HE PREACH WITH HIM IN ROME?
It was proven in the history of
the church and recorded in
both the Orthodox and the Catholic books, even the
that Mark the apostle did preach in Rome.
1- Morawag Al Akhyar fi Taragem Al Abrar
(25 Nissan) p.
2- Kinz Al Ebad Al Thameen fi Akhbar Al Kiddiseen
Nissan) p. 551.
3- Referred to it earlier.
4- From Theotokos month
of Kihak p. 175-177.
5- Look the book : Love your parents.
6- part 16 p.
871 of The Rock 1951 p. 107.
7- Chineau : Les Saints d'Egypte I, p.
8: Le Synaxaire Arab- Jacobite.
9- Louis Reau Icongraphie de l'art
chretien, III p. 871
10- Not agreed upon by most of the
11-Look up the chapter for the five western cities in this
12- Les Saints d'Egypte, I p.500.
14- The History of
the Patriarchs Part I.
15- Assad Rostom: The City of God, Antioch the Great.
ST. MARK AND ST. PAUL
accompanied St. Paul in his first journey, but he
didn't finish the trip to
the end. At the beginning St. Paul
wasn't pleased that he left him, but later
he realized the
significance of his service and St. Mark became the
person to St. Paul.
He worked with St. Paul and his followers like
Demas, Lucas and other pillars of the church. St.
mentioned St. Mark in his epistle to Philemon as his "my
labor" (Philemon 24). He then went to Colosse at the request
Paul, where he met St. Timothy in Ephesus.
St. Mark was called by St. Paul to
come to Rome, as he was
alone with St. Luke, to help in establishing the
church there. He
left Rome only after the martyrdom of St. Paul in about 67
to return to Alexandria where he received his martyrdom, one
ST. MARK AND THE CHURCH OF ROME
St. Mark contributed in the
establishment of the church of
Rome. The Catholics mentioned that St. Mark
wrote his book
for Rome and the Romans and it was written in Greek
Paul wrote while he was in Rome, in his epistle to the
people of Colosse,
"Aristarchus my fellow prisoner salutes you,
and Marcus, sister's son to
Barnabas,(touching whom you
received commandments: if he come unto you,
And Jesus who is called Justus, who are of the
These only are my fellow workers unto the Kingdom of God
(Colosseans 4 : 10, 11)
St. Paul wrote also to Philemon, while he was still
"There salute you Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus
Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers."
Again St. Paul wrote from Rome in his second epistle to his
St.Timothy, "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and
bring him with you: for he
is profitable to me for the ministry."
(II Timothy 4 : 11)
St. Paul found
that his service with St. Luke in Rome needed
St. Mark's help. St. Mark did
go to Rome and stayed with St.
Paul there and only returned to Alexandria
after St. Paul was
ST. MARK & THE FIVE WESTERN
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THESE CITIES:
1- St. Mark was born
there before his family immigrated to
2-He preached them the
faith before coming to Egypt to preach
in Alexandria in the name of
3- He went back and revisited them to ordain priests and
and to serve. Many miracles occurred through him.
4- These cities were
represented at the time the disciples
received the Holy Spirit on the
Pentecost, "And in the parts of
Libya about Cyrene." [ Acts 2 : 10] These
cities belonged to
the see of St. Mark for a long time.
We pray God that
our church be blessed to be able to work in
the Five Western Cities. We
wouldn't be ashamed when we
meet St. Mark, who may ask, what did we do with
what he left
As many don't know the names of these cities nor their
we feel obliged to write concisely about them, as
represented an important role in St. Mark's
These cities are presently in Barka. It is
one of the three
present states of Libya. They were built by the Greeks
the seventh and the fifth centuries BC,(1) and were called the
"Pentapolis", but when it was conquered by the Arabs they
renamed as "Antapols".
Father Chineau called them "La Pentapole de
Libye" in his
book, "The Saints of Egypt."(2) "La Pentapole Libyque"
the Five Libyan Cities. La Rousse in his dictionary
called them the
These cities were called the western cities to differentiate
from the other Five Eastern Cities, in the eastern part of
Sea [in Lebanon]. These were, Sodom,
Gammorrha, Adams, Segor and Seboim.
These cities were built by the Greeks to accommodate their
left their country because of poverty. The Greeks
lived peacefully with the
natives and spread their culture,
education and their religion to them. They
got involved in
agriculture and breeding sheep, beside trading. This
became under Alexander The Great in the fourth century BC.,
under Ptolemy till it was considered a property of
Egypt.(4) In the year 56
BC, it was taken by the Romans.
During this period, many Jews came to Barka
and their number
increased during the reign of Augustus Caesar and
NAMES OF THE CITIES:
It is the
first and the oldest city and was built in 631 BC on
the Green Mountain, away
from the coast, to be safe from the
pirates. It is a different city, not to
be confused with Cyrene of
Probably Simon from Cyrene was the one
who carried Christ's
cross, [Mark 15 : 21]; and Lucius the Cyrenian was from
prophets and teachers. [Acts 13 : 1]
The old Greeks called Barka as Sirenka. At the present time
is called Al Shahat or Ein Shahat.
It is also known as
Bernika. Its old name was Hesperis or
Hesperides. During the era of the
Ptolomey it was changed to
Berenice, after the name of the wife of Ptolomais
I. At the
present time it is called "Beni Ghazi" and it is the capital
3 Barka "Berce"
It is the second or the third old
city. It is in the middle of the
Green Mountain and its contemporary name is
"Al Marg". Its
old port is called Ptolomais.
Ptolemais, port of Barka, is
considered by many historians
including La Rousse, that it was one of the
five cities and
known also as Tolomita.
name is Tokra and was built in 510 BC by the
Greeks on the coast and may have
been used as another port
At one time it was named as "Arsinoe"
after the mother of
It is a port on the coast, known now as
"Souzah". It may
have been a port for Cyrene, before its present port
This may be the place where St. Mark was born.
THEIR NAMES IN
These cities, had different names in Coptic, except Barka
Cyrene which are similar.
It needs to be mentioned that in North
Africa there was a
Diocese named "Kartaganah" that didn't belong to St.
History tells us that St. Keperyanos was its bishop.
was the bishop of Hippo, a small town in this
diocese. In 419 AD, there was a
council which was recognized
by our church. Two hundred and seventeen bishops
St. Augustin, attended the council under St. Orilos.
CITIES AT THE TIME OF ST. MARK:
These cities were prosperous at that
time. They were
politically stable till the time of the Romans. Their people
mixture of Libyans, Greeks, Romans and Jews. They had
different religions too. Some tribes worshipped trees
mountainsand, some were influenced by the Egyptians and
Isis, Osiris, the sun, the moon and Amun. The
aristocrats worshipped the
stars, like Mars etc..
The Greek language and culture were common. In the
century BC, a philosophical school appeared and was called
Cyranaica", by Arstipos,(6) a disciple of Aristocrat. Its
philosophy was based on the assumption that pleasure was
basis of man's behavior.
ST. MARK'S PREACHING:
Mark served with St. Peter, St. Paul and Saint
Barnabas, he went to preach
the faith in his native country, the
five western cities.
The Saint didn't
forget his place of birth or his own poor people
and wanted to lead them to
the light to save their souls.
When he arrived there, about 58 AD, he noticed
was a glimpse of light among the darkness. He met
acquaintances, from Libya and Cyrene. [Acts 2 : 10] who were
during the Pentecost at his home when the Holy Spirit
filled them. Probably
some of them returned back to Libya as
believers. Another factor was, that
the aristocrats were
rejecting at that time the idea of having many Gods, and
to conceive a new idea of the presence of one god only. (7)
history books didn't mention much about his service
during that time, but God
blessed him by performing many
miracles that attracted many to the faith.
Severus Ibn Al
Mokafaa, Bishop of Al Ashmouneen wrote in his book,
history of the Patriarchs" the following:- [When St. Mark
from Rome, he went first to the five cities and
preached the Word of God. He
showed them many miracles,
the sick were cured, those with leprosy were
cleansed and those
with evil spirits were freed from them. Many believed in
Christ and broke down their idols. He baptized them in the
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.]
Father Chineau confirmed these
blessings in his book the
"Saints of Egypt " (8) where he wrote: [St. Mark
began first with
the Five Western Cities in Libya, he comforted the
during their suffering, and cured their sick. These miracles
them to accept Christianity.]
Ibn Al Mokafaa, wrote that the Holy
Spirit guided him to go
to Egypt, so he left his fellow believers and prayed
for them to
stay in the faith till he would come back to share with them
They wished him well and they prayed together and
prayed for those who knew the Holy Name. (9)
He left Libya heading
towards Egypt and arrived to
Alexandria in 61 AD.
THE RETURN OF ST.
MARK TO THE WESTERN
St. Mark left the Five Western Cities and
went to Egypt,
where he preached the faith. After he established the church
Egypt, he was advised by the believers to leave Egypt
they were concerned about his safety. The
pagans were thinking of killing
him. He accepted to leave and
return after a while.
The Apostle came back
to the Five Western Cities in 63 AD
(10)and again met the believers and
preached their people. He
stayed in Libya two years preaching in the name of
organizing the church, and ordaining bishops, priests
Then he left to go back to continue his universal ministry
St. Paul, before returning back to Egypt after the martyrdom of
THESE CITIES BELONGED TO ALEXANDRIA:
Christian era, these five cities belonged
spiritually to Alexandria. (11)
This was confirmed by the sixth
cannon of the council of Nicea in 325 AD
where 318 bishops
from all over the world assembled. This decision was based
" Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail
the Bishop of Alexandria has jurisdiction in all these."
1- Hassan Soliman : Libya Between The Past and
2- Chineau : Les Saints d' Egypte I p. 464.
Rousse, p. 1601.
4- Mrs. Butcher : The Coptic Church history : p.24.
Dr. Zaher Riad : The Church of Alexandria in Africa. p. 30.
6- Dr. Zaher Riad
: Church of Alexandria in Africa. p.22-35.
8- Chineau: Les Saints
d' Egypte, I p. 500.
9- Ibn Al Mokafaa: The History of The Patriarch I
Possible in 65 AD [ Ibn Al Mokafaa.
11- Laws of Apostles, Universal and
12- Nicene and P.N. Fathers Writings 2nd 9 Series Vol. 14.
Chineau : Les Saints d' Egypte.
ST. MARK AND THE CHURCH
1-THE GREATNESS OF ALEXANDRIA
Alexandria was the cultural capital of the world when St.
arrived there. Its famous School was the centre of
science and philosophy
with a library filled with hundreds of
thousands of books.
of Alexandria was estimated to be from half
to three quarters of a
million,(1) who were Egyptians, Greeks,
Jews, Romans, Ethiopians, Nubians and
2-ITS RELIGIOUS STATUS:
The people St. Mark faced were
a complex of different
religions. There was the old Pharaohnic religion, that
gods like Isis, Oziris, Hirus, Amun, Abis, Hathur etc., under
great god Ra.
The Greeks had many gods under their supreme god Zius.
this period there was a movement calling to combine both the
and the Greek gods, as 'syncretism' to be under the
god 'Sirabis', the great
idol. The Romans too had many gods
There was also the Jews,
with their prophets, laws and the
scriptures and the heresies that the
Pharisees introduced. Their
number in the city was huge, that they occupied
one out of the
five districts of the city.
At the same time some of the Jews who arrived recently
Jerusalem were already converted to Christianity before coming
The name of Christ had already arrived to many individuals,
Apollo of Alexandria. Apollo was mentioned in the
Book of Acts, "An eloquent
man and mighty in scriptures... He
was fervent in the spirit ... For he
mightily convinced the Jews
and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that
Christ." [ Acts 18 : 24 -28]
It might be possible that some of
the Jews of Alexandria had
received the Word of God through St. Simon of Cana
through "dear Theophilus" who was close to St. Luke. But all
cases were limited to some individuals only.
Beside all these religions,
there were many wise men from
India, Persia and Egyptian priests who were
leaders in a pagan
Accordingly, the city was a mixture of
idol religions with an
atmosphere of philosophical arguments and
particularly at the school of Alexandria and its museum.
Mark stood alone to face all these religions and
philosophies, but he was
capable in defeating them with the
power of God. He entered Alexandria with a
torn sandal from
walking the long way.
3- WHEN DID HE ARRIVE TO
ALEXANDRIA ? :
It is difficult to determine the exact dates for the
the apostles. Usually calculated in relation to the events,
the time of the arrival of St. Mark was no exception.
famous historian, mentioned that St. Mark came
to Alexandria in 43 AD, while
Mrs. Butler estimated it to be in
45 AD. Patriarch Maximos Mazloom suggested
that it was in
49 AD. Selim Soliman, Francis Al Etre, Deacon Menassa
gave the date as 55 AD. For Ibn Akbar it was 58
AD and for Father Chineau it
was 60 AD, when St. Mark was
50 years old. Abu Shaker Ibn Al Raheb, Anba
Guirgis, Kamel Saleh Nakhla and Iris Al Masri, said that
arrival was in 61 AD.
With such variations in dates, most of the
preferred not to guess and rather to stress on the
themselves. That was what the Book of Acts almost did.
accept the earlier dates, as St. Mark was still a
youth, in the company of
other apostles. Certainly he didn't
come before the Council of Jerusalem
which was about 50 AD,
as agreed by all the historians.
After the Council
of Jerusalem, he accompanied St. Barnabas
to Cyprus where both preached
together. Later, St. Paul,
appreciating the importance of St. Mark in
preaching, he called
him to work with him.
When St. Mark was alone on his
own, he went to the Five
Western Cities and stayed there for few years. He
arrived there between 55-58 AD. It is most probable that
arrived in Alexandria about the year 60 or 61 AD and this was
by most of the Coptic historians who estimated his
stay in Alexandria to be
seven years or seven years and eight
4- ON THE WAY TO
On his way to Alexandria, the words of Isaiah might have
on his thought, "The burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rode
swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt and the idols of
Egypt shall be
removed at his presence, and the heart of Egypt
shall melt in the midst of
it." "And that day shall there be an
altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt and a pillar
the border thereof to the Lord...And it shall be a sign and for
witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt...And the
be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the
Lord in that day, and
shall do sacrifice and oblation, yes, they
shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and
perform it..." " Blessed be
Egypt my people." [Isiah 19 : 1 , 19 -21 ,
Also he might have been thinking about the journey of Christ
Virgin St. Mary and the blessing they left to Egypt.
It was said that he
entered Alexandria, coming from the Five
Western Cities, passing through the
oasis to Upper Egypt and
from there to Alexandria where he entered it east to
where there was an oblisk.(3)
5- THE PREACHING OF ANIANUS THE
He was praying before entering Alexandria to God, to
him with the spiritual needs for the success of his mission.
the time he arrived, his sandal was already torn, so he
went to Anianus, a
cobbler, to repair it. While Anianus was
holding the needle, it went through
his finger and he screamed
from pain and said, "O' the One God". St. Mark was
when he heard this phrase, which was an appropriate chance
begin talking to him about that One God.
It was also appropriate to
ease him from his pain first, so he
took some mud and spat on it and put it
on his wound,
saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ, Son of God, heal
hand." (4) It was healed on the spot as if nothing happened to
Anianus was surprised at the miracle which was done in the
Jesus Christ and opened his heart to the Word of God.
St. Mark asked him
about the One God he called, but Anianus
replied that he heard about Him, but
didn't know Him. Then
St. Mark began to talk to him spiritually. When his sandal
repaired he was invited to go to Anianus' home to talk more
As St. Mark entered the house he made the sign of the cross
God's Blessing to fill it. (5) He stayed with this family
talking about Lord
Christ. When Anianus asked to see The
True God, St. Mark assured him that he
will. He talked with
him about the scriptures, the prophets, the incarnation,
miracles, the crucifixion and the great sacrifice He provided to
Anianus and his family became believers and St. Mark
This home was the first fruit in St. Mark's
preaching in Egypt.
SPREAD OF THE FAITH IN EGYPT:
St. Mark who is considered the, First
Bishop of Alexandria,
found that his first responsibility was to continue
from one place to another, challenging all the difficulties that
met. With great enthusiasm he was able to convert many to the
God, in spite of the different numerous religions of the
Romans, Persians and the arguments of the
The Catholic Jesuit,
Father Frermaj reported in his book
"Moraweg Al Akhyar" referring to St.
Mark, that " God blessed
him for his unique enthusiasm. The land which was
darkness of the filth among the unbelievers, was changed by
Mark the Evangelist to a heavenly paradise, with justice
Maximos Mazloom, the Patriarch of the Greek Catholic
wrote about St. Mark, " He pulled the inhabitants to
the faith in Christ, in
grooves, with God's blessing and the
marvelous miracles he did,.that Alexandria became a
Jerusalem, similar to what happened when the Holy Spirit
in the Chamber of Zion . (7)
The Word of God flourished forcefully and very
the encountered difficulties, which were overcome.
understand what St. Paul meant when he said about St. Mark,
"For he is
profitable to me in the ministry." [2 Titus 4 : 11]
7-ALEXANDRIA AFTER ST.
St. Mark had great impact on Alexandria. His success to
large numbers to believe was due to his deep
spirituality, and his strong
relation with God.
Eusebius the famous historian, referred to this as such,
were multitudes of believers, men and women, who gathered
beginning and lived the extraordinary simple life, that
Phillo noted to be
worthy to describe. Their efforts,
gatherings, and their comfort in all the
ways of their lives were
tremendous. (8) Eusebius in a complete chapter in
about the philosopher Phillo admired the monastic life in
Father Chineau in his book " The Saints of Egypt " wrote,
became marvelous in Egypt after accepting the faith and
Phillo, the famous
Jew, confirmed that Alexandria brought back
the memory of the early days of
the Church in Jerusalem. (9)
Let us find what the philosopher Phillo said
believers in Egypt as stated by Yousabius, "They left
properties, under the influence of their faith and followed the
of the prophets" ; "There was a holy place in every house,
to practice their
religion in, in complete isolation. They didn't
permit into it any food,
drink or anything for the need of the
body" ; "All day long from the morning
to the night they were
praying, reading the Holy Books".; "They created songs
praises for God with different tunes and rhythms" ; "They
only after sunset" ; "They enjoyed the wisdom, without
tremendously." He also referred to their purity and described
prayers, silence and services.
8- OTHER WORKS OF ST. MARK:
established a Theological School to stand against the
school for the pagans
and to combat their ideas. He designated
St. Justus to manage the school who
later became the sixth
bishop of Alexandria.
He wrote the Holy Liturgy for
St. Anianus and the priests to
use in praying.
9- ANIANUS WAS ORDAINED
A BISHOP FOR
ALEXANDRIA AND ST. MARK'S TRAVEL:
tremendous success and achievement for the faith
in Egypt, the unbelievers
were very angry and they decided to
kill St. Mark. The believers advised St.
Mark to leave Egypt
for a while for the safety of the church. St. Mark,
preached other cities in Egypt, agreed to leave, to return back
Five Western Cities. He then ordained St. Anianus to be
the Bishop of
Alexandria in 62 AD. He also ordained three
priests, Milius, Sabinus,
Sardenus, and seven deacons.(10)
It is noticed that Anianus was ordained a
bishop while St.
Mark was still living, which indicates St. Mark's
universal authority to ordain bishops wherever he went, as
did in the Five Western Cities.
St. Jerome, mistakenly in his book,
wrote that St. Mark was
killed in 62 AD the year Anianus was ordained,
his predecessor must have died before such an event could
10-THE RETURN OF ST. MARK TO ALEXANDRIA:
Mark stayed for a few years among the church in the Five
Western Cities and
with St. Paul preaching in Rome. Then the
two great apostles St. Paul and St.
Peter were killed and St.
Mark returned to Alexandria. On his return, he
found that the
church he planted, grew and became prosperous and
number of the believers increased tremendously. and a church
in the eastern part of Alexandria, known as Pokalia.
St. Mark kept
watching his people grow and visited and
preached other cities in Egypt. This
annoyed the pagans to the
extent that they named him as, " The exterminator
of the idols".
1-The history of the Church of
Alexandria in Africa.
2- Refer to the numerous publications of Kamel Saleh
p. 106 & 107.
3- Kamel Saleh Nakhla : The history of St. Mark
4- Les Saints d'Egypte I p. 501.
5- This house became St. George
Church, The History of the
Patriarchs by Ibn Al Mokafaa.
6- Morawag Al
Akhyar fi Taragem Al Abrar p. 233 [25 Nisan]
7- Kenz Al Ebad Al Thameen fi
Akhbar Al Kediseen, Part 2 p.
552 [25 Nissan]
8- Eusebius: Ecclesiastical
History, II 16, 2.
9- Chineau : Les Saints d'Egypte, I p. 502.
10- Chineau &
Rene Basset: Le Synaxaire.
11- St. Jerome: Illustrious Men: 8.
Pokalia meant place for the cows or place with plants for
the cows to eat. It
is the present site for St. Mark Cathedral in
THE MARTYRDOM OF THE
THE PAGANS HATING ST. MARK:
As the pagans watched the
success of St. Mark, their hate
towards him became profound. They were shaken
success in preaching the name of Lord Christ. Even the
government saw him as a direct threat to them so they planned
HE WAS ARRESTED AND TORTURED
In 68 AD, the 14 th. year of
Niron's reign, on the 29 th. of
Barmoda, while the Christians were
celebrating Easter in the
church in Pokalia, the Egyptians and the Greeks
celebrating the national day for the idol god Sirabis.
day the pagans gathered to kill St. Mark. It was too
much for the pagans to
see many of their own people were
converting to Christianity as well as the
fact that St. Mark
himself was harsh in his criticism to the pagans. This
their rage. The people together with authority moved
against St. Mark. The crowd attacked the church at the time
Mark just completed the Eucharist. They pushed away the
arrested him and with a long strong rope they
put around his neck, they
pulled him along the streets and the
roads of the city.
cruelty they kept pulling him over the rough
rocky surface of the streets
that his flesh was cut into pieces
with the blood all over the roads. The Saint thanked God
made him worthy to suffer in His name.
By the end of the day, they got
tired, and they threw him in a
A VISION AND COMFORT IN THE
St. Mark spent that night with his terribly lacerated body,
a high spirit, and was looking forward to meet the Lord in
Kingdom. God didn't leave him alone.
At midnight, he saw an angel, who
touched him and said, " O
Mark, the good servant, the time has arrived to
award now ". " Be courageous, as your name has been
in book of life. " This comforted him and he raised his
towards heaven and said, "Thank you my Savior Jesus, You
me alone, You accepted me with whom You blessed
with Your mercy."
angel left, the Savior appeared to him and gave him the
peace and said. " O
Mark, my disciple and my evangelist, peace
be with you." The disciple
screamed and said, "O' my Lord
Jesus." When the vision ended, he became
comfortable, as his heart was ready to meet the Lord.
MARTYRDOM OF THE SAINT AND HIS BURIAL:
The following morning, on 30
Barmoda, the idolaters came,
to take him from the prison and again surrounded
his neck with
a thick rope and repeated what they did with him the
day. While he was pulled over the stones he prayed God to
His soul left him for its Creator, to receive the crown
As if his killing was not enough in the eyes of the killers,
they prepared a big fire to burn his body, but heavy stormy
extinguished the fire and dispersed the crowds. Some
believers took the body of their father in the faith,
and put him in a coffin
and headed to the church in Pokalia.
Anianus together with the clergy and the
people prayed at this
moment of their grieve.
They dug a tomb under the
church, in the east side and buried
the Saint. The church was named after
him, as St. Mark
Church. Ironically in the year 310 AD, and at the same site,
Patriarch of Alexandria St. Peter, the last of the martyrs,
The Holy Church celebrates his martyrdom on 30
while the Western Churches observe it on 25, April. [25
Chineau reported that St. Mark was 58 years old when he
Patriarch Maximos Mazloom in his book ,"Al Kenz
Thameen fi Akhbar Al Kidiseen" wrote, "His tomb became to
Christians the place of respect with reverence and esteem,
that they came
from distant places to visit, as far as Galatia, as
St. Philoromis, the
THE MIRACLES OF SAINT
1- THE DEATH OF THE LION AND LIONESS:
That was his first
miracle, after which his father accepted the
2- HEALING THE
FINGER OF ANIANUS:
This was his first miracle in Egypt. When Anianus'
punctured by the needle and was healed, he became the first
believe in Alexandria. He later became the first bishop.
followed which attracted the people and
became believers accepting the
Kingdom of God and supporting
Chineau described his miracles
to be, "continuous and
3- HIS MIRACLES IN THE FIVE WESTERN
Severus Ibn Al Mokafaa, in his book, "The life of Saint
wrote, "He went first to the Five Western Cities
preaching the Word of God
and showed many miracles, healing
the sick, cleaning the lepers, casting out
the evil spirits by the
blessing of God in him. Many believed in Lord Christ
destroyed their idols they worshipped".
In his book, "The Book of St.
Mark" Al Mashriki, recorded
the miracles done by the saint in the Five
Chineau, in his book, "Les Saints d' Egyple" on page
wrote, "He lessened their pain and healed their sick and
from that to represent Christ to them."
4- HIS VISION IN THE
When the angel appeared to him for comfort and support.
THE FIRE WAS DISTINGUISHED AND HIS BODY
When the pagans
prepared the fire to burn his body, a big
storm with heavy rain extinguished
the fire. That served two
purposes, dispersing the crowds and giving the
chance to take his body for burial.
6-THE MIRACLE TOLD BY
THE PEOPLE OF VENICE:
It was said that while he was preaching along the
his ship was pushed into shallow waters along the coast by
strong storm. Mark, then saw an angel who told him that a big
be established there and named after him. Four
hundred years later, the
people in this area came to these coastal
islands and built Venice.
There is a great artistic picture in the museum of Venice
great famous artist, Pari d' Bordeaux, expressing the protection
St. Mark in defending Venice. There was about a story that
summarized as:, "Three persons asked a sailor to take
them to Lido. One of
them had a reverend look and the two
others were in uniform and were armed. As the ship began
sail into deep sea, they met a strong storm and saw many evil
hanging over them. The sailors were terribly frightened.
The man who looked
kind, looked towards heaven and prayed
in humbleness, while the other two
armed men were standing
beside him. It wasn't long that the sea became calm
saints expelled the evil spirits. The ship arrived safely
The sailors were astonished when they heard this kind
man saying, "I am Mark, Christ's Apostle, take this ring and
it to the ruler of the city, to reward you for what you did
for us during the
night. I came tonight with the two martyrs,
George and Theodore to save
Venice from the evil. The
people of Venice had fallen to the devil without
shame, and no
regret. I trust they would repent their sins."
received the ring and rewarded the sailors, who told
him about the Saint. A
celebration was in order for the safety
of the city and its
Napoleon admired the painting and took it to Paris with
however it was returned to Italy in 1815 AD.
The people in the West
are interested in our Saint, they
recorded his miracles in their books and
impressions in artistic paintings. We find ourselves limiting
miracles which occured during the apostolic time only. We
hope that we
declare his miracles of our time and ask that he
continues to show us his
miracles by the power of The Spirit in
1- Menassa Youhanna: History of The Coptic
2- Les Saints d' Egypte. I p.505.
3- History of The Patriarchs-
4- Tafseer Al Moshriki Part I p. 115.
5- Christian Symbolics and
its Meanings, George Firgoson,
Arabic Translation by Dr. Yacoub Guirgis, Part
II p. 224.
6- Habib Guirgis: St. Mark The Evangelist, p. 60 [ after
"ST. MARKS HEAD AND BODY"
BOTH THE HEAD AND THE BODY TOGETHER:
Both the head and the body were
buried in the church at
Pokalia in his coffin till the year 644 AD, This
known as the Cave or the Subterranean Monastery . It was in
eastern part of Alexandria, near the huge rocky area, where
During the (Chalcedonian) dispute, in 451 AD, St. Discoris
th. Pope was sent into exile. The Coptic church was
subject to severe
persecution. The Melchite's persecution
extended for 190 years. [two natures]
The Roman Melchites
confiscated our churches. Many of our Patriarchs never
Alexandria. The Church of St. Mark in Alexandria fell to the
of the Roman Melchites. As mentioned the remains of
St. Mark were safe and
complete till the year 644 AD.
2- THE HEAD WAS STOLEN AND
History recorded that the head [skull] of St. Mark was
or a sailor attempted to steal it during the Arab Conquest in
In our Synaxarium on Toba 8, this was mentioned as :
captain of the ship entered the church and put his hand in the
of St. Mark and touched the body of St. Mark. Realizing
that it belonged to a
great person, he took the head and hid it in
Ibn Al Sabaa, a
historian from the thirteenth century reported
this in a different version.
He said that one of the sailors went
at night to the church of St. Mark the Evangelist, on
Mediterranean, known as the Cave. As he entered it, he found
coffin of St. Mark and he thought that it might contain gold.
He put his hand
and picked the head and hid it in the ship.
Both references stated that when
Amr Ibn Al Aas proceeded
to Alexandria, all the ships left the port except
one. This was
the ship that had the Holy head. The ship failed to leave
port despite of the sailors' effort. Ibn Al Sabaa in his version
that Amr Ibn Al Aas gave an order to search the ship and
found the head.
After the head was removed the ship was able
to sail. The sailor who stole
the head was brought to Ibn Al
Aas and, confessed his crime and was
Amr Ibn Al Aas inquired about the Pope who fled earlier from
persecution and when he knew that he was hiding in upper
Egypt, he sent him a
hand written letter assuring his safety.
The Pope returned to receive the
head. When Amr was told
about the saint's miracles, he gave the Pope ten
to build a church for the Saint.
The church was built in
Alexandria, and was located at the
Missalla Street and is still present to
this day. The "head"
stayed there till the 13 th. century.
SEPARATION OF THE HEAD FROM THE
This information shows us that
the Head of the Saint was
returned to the Copts and that Pope Benjamin kept
it, till the
church was built. At the same time his body was in the hands
the Roman Melchites in the Pokalia church. Thus the head and
were in separate places at that time. Here is what
All the churches were in the hands of the Romans including
church that contained the body of this great Saint.
Regardless of the order
given by Amer Ibn Al Aas to enable
Pope Benjamin to get back all the
churches, this order was
never executed. Thus the Pokalia church with the
body in, was
not returned to the Copts.
Was it that the Romans insisted to
keep the Saint's body, at
that time or were the Copts helpless? Or did they
understanding with Amr? Or did they reach an agreement with
Copts? We don't know. Abu Al Makarem reported that
the churches were divided
so were the Jacobites, [The Copts
with the one nature] who took the church of
"Kamha" with the
head of St. Mark in it and the Melchites [The Roman
with the two natures ] took the body and the
Monastery. Later the Venetians stole the body.
monastery was the church of Pokalia where St. Mark was
pulled with a rope.) [ Fol. R. V. ]
Accordingly, the Roman Melchites had the
body in Pokalia
church, that is the church which was taken by them with
in the sixth century. Abu Al Makarem falsely said that the
the Romans have the body when the churches were
divided among the Copts and
The word Melchite come from the word " Malek " meaning
"King" and here it stood for authority which was the Roman
4- THE STOLEN BODY:
Ibn Kabar reported that the body of St.
Mark was still buried
in the eastern church on the Mediterranean till some
stole the body leaving the head, which was then with the
They took the body with them to Venice. This was confirmed
by Bishop Yusab of Fouwa, who stated, " The body was taken
the Romans to Venice." Abu Al Makarem didn't mention
this in detail, but
wrote, " The body was stolen and now it is in
Venice. They put it in a
hollowed marble pillar, secured with
The stealing of the body
happened between 828 and 829 AD,
or may be in 815. This was mentioned by
Butler referring to
Bernre the wise French monk who visited Egypt in 870 AD.
said, " Beyond the eastern door there was the Monastery of St.
where the monks were living. In the church the body
was buried, and the
Venetians came by sea and carried the body
to their Island."
Sani Al Lakani, treasurer of the Archeological
Society in Alexandria, wrote
in the, 'Progres Egyptiene', and
was reprinted in Watani on 27 June 1965 :
"During the reign of
Duke Justinian Partisipatio who was appointed and
to Venice, in 823 AD, the body of St. Mark the Evangelist
transferred to Venice. The body was in Alexandria under the
two Greek priests in one of the churches there. "
There were ten Venetian
ships in the port. The captain of one
of these ships contacted the two Greek
priests who agreed to
give him the relics of the Saint. They carefully opened
coffin and removed the cloth that covered the body without
the seals and took it to the ship. The Saint's relics
was carried to the
church of the Dukedom with enormous
enthusiasm and they adopted his name as
Guirgis Philothaus Awad, wrote in detail
about St. Mark, and
added more information. He wrote, " The two custodians
the relics of St. Mark were, Astergios, a monk and Theodore a
Two sea captains or merchants named Woresticos and
Triponos, from Venice
tricked the priests saying that the
government was about to take the churches and they were
that the holy relics of Saint Mark would be lost. They
promised to take it to
a safe place till the waves of the
persecution stop. The priests agreed. When
Venice, the people received the relics with extreme joy
celebrations, and put their republic under the protection of the
of St. Mark, in appreciation to his work in Italy."
5- THE BODY IN THE
CHURCH IN VENICE:
When the relics reached Venice in 828 AD, Duke
the ruler, built a splendid sanctuary for the relics. The
was burned in 977 AD to be rebuilt by Duke Peter
Another church again was built, one of the most splendid
of the world for St. Mark and was named after him.
They began to build it in
1052 AD during the reign of Duke
Demonico Contarini and was completed to its
present shape in
the eighteenth century. Top architects and engineers
to make it a landmark for the art in Lumbardo.
The church is on
the south-eastern side of the city, on one of
its famous canals. It is
distinguished by its buildings, marbles,
gold, pillars and
Its corridor has many oriental pillars and leads to five
On its walls, many events, taken from the Old Testament, like
early creation to Moses time, are painted. In the first floor,
golden decorations representing the history of the
transfer of St. Marl's
relics. The domes and the walls are
decorated with the most beautiful
At the beginning of the twentieth century, some repairs were
in the domes which took about ten years to complete. On
the day the dome was
consecrated, April 25, 1912 AD. a big
ceremony was attended by a deputy representing the King
The Popes in Rome always showed their care for this
and the relics. It was mentioned that Pope Leo IX visited the
and knelt at the tomb of St. Mark the Evangelist.
6-HONORING THE HEAD BY
It was a tradition that every newly appointed Patriarch,
to go on the second day of his ordination, to where the head
placed, accompanied by the bishops, priests and the people.
He would kneel
and bow before the holy head, then pray and
raise incense, reading from the
Book of Mark, and ending the
prayers by asking for God's mercy.
would exclude himself from the clergy and puts the
skull on his lap, changes
the cloth on it with a new one and
restore for it, then appears to the public
who would kiss it one
after the other according to their ranks. The Pope is
successor of St. Mark, since St Mark was the one who
In the book of the Ordaination of the Patriarchs, it is
that he embraces the head of the Saint as he became
TRANSFERRING THE HEAD:
A- At The Matra Monastery And The Church Of St.
Pope Benjamin, [38 th.] received ten thousands dinars from
Ibn Al Aas to build a church to contain the head of St.
Mark. He began to
build the church which was later known as
the "Suspended" or " Al Moalaqa" or
" Al Kamha", but he
never completed it. Pope Aghatho  completed it
to the Maqrizi, p.44.
Thus it appears that Pope Benjamin kept
the head with him at
Matra monastery, where he was staying, as mentioned by
Al Makarem. This monastery was called "Episcorpion"
When the church of St. Mark " Al Mualaqa" was built, they
put the head
there. It was not the church of Poklia which was
taken by the Romans. Ibn Al
Sabaa said, "This church was built
in Alexandria and was known as 'Al
Mualaqa' in Missalla Street
in Alexandria, till this day. ( the Thirteenth
B- The Head In The Monastery Of St. Macarius!
later, the Romans tried to take the head, it was
considered valuable also to
the rulers as they realized that they
can take money from the Copts under the
threat of taking it or
putting it for sale. In the Book Of the History of the
along with mentioning the life of Pope Zacharias  it
written that a Turkish Prince during time of the persecution by
ruler, Al-Hakem Be- Amr- Ellah took it till Bakira Al
Rashidi the bearer of
the cross retrieved it after paying 300
Dinars. He carried it back to Pope
Zacharias, who was then in
hiding in the Abu Makar Monastery.
The head was
taken later to the Monastery of St. Macasrius in
the wilderness of Sciet in
about 1013 AD. It remained there
during the time of Pope Zacharius  who
was in hiding. This
was mentioned also by Abu Al Makarem. It is probable
the head was returned to the church of St. Mark [Mualaqa]
C- The Head With The Eminent Copts Pillars
From the Eleventh Century and through the Fourteenth ,
head was moved between the homes of the rich Copts. This
was designed to keep it away from the rulers who
were actively interested in
taking money from the Copts or
selling the head to the Roman Melchites. These
much safer, and not known. The churches were well
During the time of Pope Christotholo (the 66 th)[1077
Mawhoob Ibn Mansur wrote, " The head of the Evangelist St.
in the house of Abu Yehya Zakaria. When he
became sick, ten Copts came to my
father to tell him that Abu
Yehya was too sick that he may die, and were
afraid his house
may be confiscated and were worried about the head
was in this house at that time. He left with them to see the
man who was dying, and took the box containing the head to
of Gabriel Ben Kozman which was not far from Abu
At night they
carried it to my father's house [father of
Mawhoob Ben Mansur Ben Farag Al
Iskandarani] and told him
that they we afraid to put it at Ben Kozman's
house, as it was
near that of Abu Yehya, and asked him to keep the head.
father refused as he was afraid from the Sultan who earlier
him and had problems with him.
As Sorour Ben Matrouh took it to his house,
priest, who later became a bishop of Tanaithis, was willing
take it and to look after it with his brother. Then they went
The ruler ordered that my father be arrested with all who
him. He said he wanted the head and the 10,000
dinars, as ordered by the Sultan. He told them that Ibn
wrote to the Sultan that the Romans were ready to pay him
Dinars . My father denied that he saw or took the head.
My father regretted
and blamed himself as he didn't take it and
was put in prison for 37
His father was then released from prison after he had seen a
of St. Mark telling him that he would be released from
the prison after three
days, and he was, after paying 600 Dinars
to the ruler. He arrived to
Alexandria and took the head with
him to his house.
According to the
different sources, the head was taken to five
or six different houses during
Bishop Yusab of Fouwa wrote in his book, "The head of
Mark was taken from a family that became afraid to keep it, so
put it in between two walls and built around it. By the end
of the war, they
put it back to its previous place and they lit
candles around it as they used
to do. Many miracles happened
through the blessing of the head."
the time of Pope Mark III , in between 1166-1189
AD, it was mentioned,
"After the ordination of Pope Mark Ben
Zaraa he entered the city to the house
where the head was,
spent the night there and in the morning, he opened the
with the key and put the head on his lap, praying and
During the thirteenth and the fourteenth Centuries, the
was in the house of Al Sukari, according to the History of
During the life of Pope Cyril, Ben Laklak, III  (1235
1243 AD ) He rode to the house of Ibn Al Sukari where the
head was, and
put it on his lap and covered it with a new cloth
as was the
This coincided with what Ibn Kabar wrote in 1334 AD that
head was moved to a house in Alexandria, that belonged to
D- Between The Houses And The Church "Mualaqa"
It was proven
that the head was moved from one house to
another. This was different from
what Ibn Al Sabaa's recorded
that it was in the Mualaqa Church (St. Mark
Church] till his
time, in the Thirteenth Century.
Probably the head was in
the church except during the
periods of persecution when they were afraid
may happen to it, so it was transferred to a house. When it
peaceful it would be returned to the church where it belonged.
It is probable that at a later date, a special tomb for
was built in the eighteenth century. In reference to St.
XVI  that he went to Alexandria and stayed in St. Mark
and visited his tomb.
The last of what was reported about the head was
reference to the life of Pope Peter VI . It was stated that
went to Alexandria, kissed the head of St. Mark the
Evangelist. When he was
about to leave Alexandria, he heard
that some people from Alexandria, or
possibly from Venice
were planning to take the head, so he hid it in the
may be in the church in eastern Alexandria which was
then as the monastery.
After Pope Peter , at the beginning of
Century, 250 years ago, the custom of holding the head by
patriarchs after their ordaination and changing the cloth
stopped. Since then we heard nothing about the head.
Nakhla, a deacon, in his book " St. Mark" on
page 122, wrote, "I learned from
the elderly Coptic Orthodox in
Alexandria, according to what they were told
by their ancestors,
that the holy head was put among other skulls
particularly of the
saints, in a marble space, located in the north eastern
part of the
Church of St. Mark and known today as " Al Maksura".
served the purpose that nobody would be able to recognize it
would be immune from being stolen. That was during Pope
Peter VI 
1- Severus Ben Al Mokafaa, History of The
Pope 25 - Pope 38.
2-Patrologia Orientalis: La Synaxaire
Arab - Jacobite.
3- Abu Al Sebaa: Al Gawhara Al Nifeesa Fi Olum Al Kanisa
p. 140 - 141, Chapter 87.
4- Synaixre, the thief confessed before the
5- Pope Benjamin [ 38 ] was hiding from the Melchites and
13 years away from his seat before the Arab conquest.
publications, St. Mark, was known also as Al Moalaka
8- Ibn Kabar: Mosbah Al Zolma: fourth book.
9- History of the
Patriarchs: Pope Cyril's III Life .
10-Guirgis Philothaus Awad: Article
about St. Mark, Al Yalaza
11-Butler, Arab Conquest into Egypt,
Trans. by Farid Abu
12- From other transated books.
13- As # 10.
14- Attia Bey
Wahba: Al Ather Al Zahabi, 1915, p:189-192.
15- As # 3.
16- After Bishop
Mikhail, of Tanases , 1051 AD. He himself
had the head in his house for a
17- History by Abu Shaker Ben Al Raheb.
MARK THE APOSTLE
PRAISES, PRAYERS AND
1- THE PRAYER FOR
There is hardly any prayer in the church that doesn't
his name , glorifying him or requesting his intercession
asking for blessing.
His name is mentioned in the blessing prayer at
the end of our
meetings. It is said after the Matin Raising of Incense, at
end of the Eucharist, after Partaking and at the end of every
or gathering. We begin, by asking our Lady The Mother
of God The pure Mary,
then we ask for the blessing of St.
Mark, saying " The beholder of God, the
Evangelist, St. Mark,
the Saint and Apostle" In this phrase, the five titles
of St. Mark
2-THE MINISTERS' ABSOLUTION:
priest asks for forgiveness for the priests, the ministers,
clergy and all the people " From The Holy
Trinity, the church, the twelve
Apostles and from the Beholder
of God St. Mark the Apostle, the Saint and
Martyr." The same
titles which are mentioned in the blessing of the "Grace
Thus we ask for his blessing and absolution.
3- OTHER PRAYERS IN THE LITURGY:
a- For his
intercession, we say, " Through the prayers of
Beholder of God, the
Evangelist, God forgive us our sins."
b- In the [Praxis], we say, " Peace be
with you O martyr, peace
for the Evangelist, peace for the apostle and peace
Beholder of God."
c- In the prayers for commemoration of Saints,
we say, " The
beholder of God,the Evangelist, Mark the apostle, the
and the martyr."
d- In the songs the deacon adds to these titles another one,
head of thebishops" saying : " St. Mark , the evangelist,
head of the
bishops and martyr "
4-IN THE AGPIAH BOOK: (Book of Prayers)
end of the prayers of midnight Absolution of the Priests,
it is mentioned,
"By the intercession of the intercessor, the
source of purity, blessing and
giving, our Lady the Virgin, the
pride of our race St. Mary, and the
compassionate martyr St.
Mark the evangelist the apostle and the preacher of
all the angels, the fathers, the prophets, the saints,
anchorites ,the worshipers and the struggling monks.."
5- IN THE
a- In the praise for midnight : "Ask God O the beholder of
the evangelist Mark for forgiveness of our sins." Also
b- At the
Vesper & Matin Raising of the Incense, it is said after
the prayer of
thanksgiving : "Through the prayers of the
beholder of God the evangelist
Mark the apostle, forgive us
God our sins." Also it is said, " Peace for you
O martyr, peace
on you O evangelist, Peace O apostle Mark the beholder
c- In another song said after the Litanies in raising the incense
evening or that for the sick and for the traveler in Matin raising
the incense, "Peace for our father Mark the evangelist who
idols " this is usually said after the matin's Psalm
is read, and this is
another title for him, " The great preacher, in
Egypt, Mark the apostle, that
denotes efforts to get rid of idol
6- SONGS AND PRAISES:
a- Two songs in 'Doxology' for his feast if it falls on a
Monday or Tuesday, in Adaam's tune is said. On the other days
the week the Watus song is performed. In these versions,
Mark is called the,
"disciple of Christ, Mark the apostle. The
Lord our God chose you to be the
preacher of His Gospel." In
Adam's he is described as the priest and
b- in the book of Doxologies, there is a song for St. Mark, "
St. Mark the evangelist , the disciple of Christ and the Patriarch
Alexandria." Referring to him as a Patriarch of Alexandria is
an added title,
and of course it wasn't known in the apostolic
era, as there was no higher
rank over a bishop other than an
Another description was " The
7-THE KATAMAROS :
The church celebrates his feast
on 30 Barmoda. The readings
on that day are focused on preaching, choosing
the apostles and
Referring to the preaching among the great congregation
success and firmness
" O come, let us make a joyful noise on the rock
The Gospel: all chosen from the Book of Mark, how
apostles were chosen, and what advice given to them, their
and their rewards.
When Jesus Christ called the twelve disciples and sent
to preach [ Mark 6 : 7 - 13]
" Verily I say unto you, there is no man
that had left house,
or brethren, or sisters or father or mother, or wife or
or lands, for my sake, and gospel. But he shall receive
hunderedfold now in this time, houses and brethren and sisters
mothers and children and lands with persecutions; and in
the world to come
eternal life." [ Mark 10 : 17 - 30]
" The beginning of the gospel of Jesus
Christ, the Son of
God...... Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well
[ Mark 1 : 1 - 11]
IN THE EPISTLES AND PRAXIS
From The Pauline Epistle St. Paul tells Timothy, "Take
and bring him with you, he is profitable to me for the ministry."
Timothy 4 :10 -18]
From The Catholicon , " The church that is in
elected together with you, salutes you and does Marcus my
I Peter 5 : 1 - 14]
From The Praxis : " And some days after Paul said
Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus." , " And so were
the churches established in the faith, and increased in
daily." [Acts 15 : 36 , 16 : 5]
8-DURING THE PROCESSIONS OF THE
THE CROSS & PALM SUNDAY
The priest, standing in front of
the icon of St. Mark, reads the
part referring to the choosing the seventy
them for the ministry and the punishment for those who
them. This confirms that St. Mark was one of the seventy.
The church celebrates the occasion of his martyrdom on
Barmoda; and on 30 Baba for the finding [appearance of] his
beside some other events during the year
10- IN THE ORDINATION OF THE
a- It is stated in the nomination of the Patriarch election,
... the Saint, the Patriarch, who is worthy of the seat of St.
the evangelist, with the good knowledge that was
expanded over the universe
for comfort and the saving of the
souls." This shows that his work was
universal and wasn't
limited to our church.
It continues to mention, '
which was preached , implanted and
strengthened in the apostolic universe, by
our pure father Mark
the evangelist, for the coming of its true groom, The
Begotten Son Jesus Christ The Perfect Savior Who
b- On seating the Patriarch, " We seat Anba... the chief
to the holy apostolic seat of our father the blessed Saint Mark
beholder of God, in the name of the Father, the Son and the
After the Patriarch is seated, with the Book of St. Mark on
chest, (The bishops kiss him in the mouth, the priests on his
and all the deacons kiss his hand.)
The patriarch kisses the Gospel of Mark
apostolic head of the beholder of God, as he becomes
successor and is ready to follow his foot steps.
A song saying, " in
succession of Mark the honorable apostle
the speaker of the Divinity",
another tittle known for him, would
c- The intercession of the
Saint is asked for, at the end of the
ceremony, " By the intercession of our
Lady The Mother of
God the ever-Virgin, Saint Mary and by our father the
pure apostle Mark the evangelist."
church's ceremonial customs, we find the following :
1- The name of St. Mark
is in every prayer, song and church
2- We ask in our
prayers, his blessing, absolution and
3- The church gives
him the many titles : Saint, martyr,
beholder of God, the evangelist, the
speaker of divinity, the
apostle, the disciple of Christ, one of the seventy and the
4- As for his preaching, the church mentions his
for the great multitudes, where he called the name of
among the gentiles. He preached daily for the salvation and
5- The church cares for his gospel.
A HYMN OF ST. MARK
WRITTEN IN COPTIC AND TRANSLATED
BY DR. EMIL MAHER
Come o believers, the
To honor our father St. Mark
In the cities in Egypt, and
also in the villages
People glorify their intercessor , our father St.
One thousand and nine hundreds years were completed this year
the martyrdom of our father St. Mark
Worthy are you o Apostle
martyr our Father St. Mark
For your confession and declaration
accepted the martyrdom, O father St. Mark
Truly you declared freedom and
In Jesus Christ, O our father St. Mark
The Egyptians and other
Became believers by, our father St. Mark
The lord Christ chose
you a disciple
And Evangelist too, our father St. Mark
Lightens the way, our father St. Mark
You established for us our
In Alexandria, our father St. Mark
Also the other holy Church
Libya, our father St. Mark
Didn't your church reach Ethiopia
And the rest
of Africa, our father St. Mark
You are the universal Apostle
You preached the Romans O St.
Truly blessed o my Lord Christ
As you chose our father St.
You gathered with your apostles
In the house of our father St.
Save the church to the end
By the intercession of our father St.
Truly we received your blessing
In our Church, O father St.
Your Church is in Alexandria
It is the beacon, our father St.
With the virtues and theology
Was the theological school our Faather
The ideal man the lover of Christ
That is the apostle our father
Peace for the Virgin, peace for the Apostle
Peace for the martyr
our father St. Mark
The souls of the believers in the highest
our father St. Mark
Same as the believers in the world
Celebrate for you
our father St. Mark
This is the humble, deacon Peter
Chants for you our
father St. Mark.
LITURGY OF ST. MARK
AS ST. CYRIL LITURGY"
St. Mark put the Holy Liturgy , he used it in his
gave it to St. Anianus to use it for praying together with
three priests who were ordained with him
At first It was in Greek then
was translated into Coptic. It is
one of the oldest Liturgies made by the
church. The other three
liturgies used were taken from it. It is very rich of
The holy Liturgy was learned by heart till 330 AD when
Athanasius the apostolic  put it in writing and gave it
Afromentius the first bishop of Ethiopia.
Pope Cyril the great added
many additions and wrote it in its
present form, and since then, it was known
The Oxford Dictionary reported that in 1928 AD a papyrus
was discovered among a collection in Strasbourg
belonging to the fourth and
fifth centuries, on which this Coptic
Liturgy by St. Mark or St. Cyril was
recorded. There was also
another copy of it in Ethiopian language. The
library of the
Vatican has three copies.of:
The God Rossanensis [ Vat. gr.
1970 sacc XIII]
The Rotulus Vaticanus [ Vat. gr. 2281, Sacc XIII]
Rotulus Messanensis [ Cod Mes. gr. 177. sacc XIII ]
ST. MARK, HIS EFFECT ON THE
St. Mark had a marked expressiveness on architecture,
and painting. There are numerous churches, schools
and institutions that
carry his name. Statues were built, and
many paintings showed him in person
or about his miracles.
His paintings in Egypt: (1)
The oldest paintings
belong to the Tenth and the Thirteenth
Centuries. There are three paintings
from each century
Of the Tenth Century :
Two are found in the
church at Al Syrian Monastery in the .
One of them is
located on the Iconostasis of the Sanctuary,
known as the door of prophecy
which dates back to the year
913 AD. It is the fifth painting, to the left on
The second painting stands between the [ first and
choires ] and dates back to 929 AD.
The third one that goes back to
the Tenth Century, is located
at the Mualaqa Church in old Cairo, on its
southern wall. It has
a touch of the Byzantine and Greek arts.
Thirteenth Century :
One of them dates back to 1220 AD and is placed in
library of the Al Syrian Monastery in Wadi Al Natrun under #
21 . It
is a manuscript of the four Gospels that has on one of its
pictures of the four evangelists.
The second one, is in the church of St. Anthony at St.
Monastery in the Eastern Desert. It probably goes
back to 1233 AD and was
discovered by the American
Byzantine Institute Expedition in 1931 AD.
third one is under # 5/196 'holy' in the Patriarchal Library
on the cover of
the four Gospels and goes back to 1291 AD.
There are many other paintings, of
more recent dates, as in
the church of St. Mina in Fom Al Khaleeg, the church
Virgin in Haret Zewela, the church of the Virgin in the Haret
Rum, the Botrossia church in Abbassia, the Cathedral of St.
Alexandria and the Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo.
St. Mark ICONS in The
Churches and Museums in
Monte Pellier Museum in France:
(2) Has some of the most
traditional paintings representing St. Mark sitting,
book, looking towards heaven or to the book with a pen in
Florence, Italy: There is a painting that goes back to
1507 AD by Fra Bartolomeo in the Monastery of St. Mark for
Louvre Museum in Paris: There is a painting with the
appearing with him. It is by Peniez a famous painter who was
Durer students. There is also another painting for him
with the lion, in
Venice by Bonifazeo.(3)
In general the artists painted him as a young looking
when they showed him writing the Gospel, and looking older,
was writing something else.
The Saint was also painted with others saints, as a symbol
his blessing to them, as in a portrait by Giovanni Martini in
with St. Hermagoras. (4)
Another painting that goes back to 1511 AD is found
church of Saint Mary Lady of Peace in Venice, by
representing St. Mark on a throne , shown at his feet, some
saints like St. Quzman and others, who were known of
their power in healing
the sick. This is a confirmation from the
West of his power of healing , that
was given to him by the
Holy Spirit during his preaching. (5)
the artist Durer in 1526 AD, painted the four
apostles, Paul and Mark
together and Peter and John together,
indicating that the ministry of St.
Mark was with St. Paul rather
than with St. Peter. (6)
In Venice there is a painting representing the martyrdom of
Mark, his torture, while receiving death with a peaceful
spirit . It also
showed how his body was brought to Venice.
In Dar El Kutub in Cairo, there is
a painting showing St. Mark
baptizing Anianus, his successor.
beautiful painting by Pari de Bordeaux, represented a
story about a war
fought by the Saint against the evils in
Venice. This wasn't an imagination,
but true events recorded by
the people of Venice, among the numerous miracles
of the saint.
One is by Nantorol from The Institute of Arts in Venice
was painted in 1648 AD. It stayed in Venice till the year 1799
then was transferred to Paris by Napoleon. It showed a
slave at the time of
his execution, with his hands cut in front of
a big crowd of people. In the
painting it showed St. Mark
descending from heaven and replacing the miserable
hands, who was also fleeing from his enemies with
1-Coptic Museum Guide 1932, Part 2 p. 81.
Habib Guirgis: St. Mark History, p. 57 - 60.
4- Iconographie di
l'art Chretien, III, p. 871.
THE SEAT OF ST. MARK
don't mean the literal meaning of the word ' seat ', as St.
Mark didn't have
one. He kept going, preaching from one place
to another, seeking the
believers, till his sandals were torn from
What it means is the
apostolic succession to the Saint, in
completing his work, preaching and
spreading the Kingdom of
God on earth.
1-THE FAME OF THE SEAT OF
A- Alexandria Seat And The Universal
The Seat of St. Mark was known as the Seat of
which attained a great fame in the early centuries.
abreast in the holy councils, whether by presiding them
theological and church studies.
Nicea Council or the Ecumenical Council
meeting in 325 AD
was under the supervision of the Seat of St. Mark. The
important personality in it was Athnassius the Deacon of
Alexandros of Alexandria. He was the most distinguished
among the 318 saintly bishops who attended this
The Holy Council
of Nicea established the Creed, for all the
Christian world that was put
undoubtedly, by Athanasius of
St. Athanasius became the Pope of Alexandria in about 328
He attacked the Arius doctrine and forcefully defended the
faith. He resisted
all the opposing thoughts, standing alone, and
wasn't defeated. Once he was
told that the world was against
him and he replied that he was also against
the world. Thus he
was called the " Contra Modum".
effort, with God's help, the faith might
have been lost. That is why he was
called 'Athanasius The
Apostolic' a title that was never given to other popes
Pope Thimothos of Alexandria similarly excelled in
Ecumenical Holy Council in Constantinople, in 381 AD. When
saint arrived to the council, he was asked about all
aspects of religion and
his reply was taken as the legal edict
within the church laws all over the
world. This was published in
the " Nicene & Post -Nicene Fathers, Vol.
The Ephesus Holy Council in 431 AD, it was chaired by Pope
of Alexandria, and was successful to defeat the teachings
of the Nastorians.
He was the most effective personality of his
During his time, the
Theological School of Alexandria was the
beacon of learning.
Fame In Monasticism:
Monasticism which was established by the great St.
who was born in upper Egypt in the middle of the Third
was extended from Egypt to the rest of the world.
St. Pachumius established
'the sharing life' in monasteries which
was soon adopted all over the world.
St. Basilius and the
Bendictism followed the same style.
People, from the West as well from the East came to Egypt
visit the monks to receive their blessing and to write about
Peladius wrote about them in his famous book,
Lausiaca" Others like John Kasian, in his books,
& "Conferences", Rouvinos in the " History of the Monks
Jerome, St. Paul the First Anchorite and St. John of Assuit;
holiness of the Egyptian monks and their fame,
attributed to St. Mark's
preaching, were acknowledged by Philo
in his book, about the School of
2- THE POPES AND BISHOPS OF THE SEAT OF
One hundred and sixteen patriarchs sat on that seat before
our present Pope. St. Mark was considered their first. The first
succeed him was St. Anainus, about whom the Catholic
Mazloom wrote, " St. Anainus the reverend
man whose heart was as God's Heart,
knew all His desires and
fulfilled them." (2)
At the beginning, the word '
Pope ' was not known and the
successor of St. Mark was called the ' Bishop of
(3) There were no other bishops, but in the Second
Pope Dimitrius  ordained other bishops with him. (4) It
be Pope Omanius  who ordained bishops and sent them
to other cities in
Egypt, Nuba, Libya and the Five Western
Cities.(5) Thus the successor of St.
Mark was given the title of
Archbishop, Patriarch and Pope.
number of the bishops increased in the church and in
the Fourth Century, by
the time of "Arius" when Pope
Alexandrus of Alexandria  called for a
regional council it
was attended then by 100 bishops from Egypt and Libya.
During Pope Simon I time, who died in 700 AD a council
called to discuss ' marriage ' and was attended by 64
end of the Eleventh Century a council was called to
judge Pope Cyril II 
and was attended by 47. Five bishops
didn't attend because of their old age
or because of the distance,
among them were Anba Fam and Anba Kozman of the
Those who attended were 52 and among these, 22 were from
Egypt. At the time this book was written, in 1968 , we
had only five
metropolitans and bishops in lower Egypt.
The Dioceses of the seat of St.
Mark needs to be studied and
further research is encouraged. History
Pope Mark VII ordained one Metropolitan for all upper
named Anba Peter.
The Decency in The Coptic Church:
seat was occupied by others than from the Coptic
were ordained patriarchs to the church: (9)
Pope Simon I  who died in 700
AD, was a Syrian who
came to Egypt to become a monk in Al Zogag Monastery.
was a saintly man that many miracles were performed
Pope Abram Ben Zaraa  who died in 978 AD, was also
Syrian who worked at the beginning in trade. During his time
miracle of moving Mokattam mountain , occurred.
Pope Mark III who died in
1189 AD was also a Syrian
Pope Yoannis X  who died in 1369 came from
"Al Sham" and was called [The trusted from Al Sham.]
3- THE DURATION OF OCCUPYING THE SEAT: (10)
V stayed the longest as a patriarch, 52 years, 9
months and 6 days. Pope
Athanasius the apostolic  stayed
for 45 years, followed by Pope Gabriel
VII , who stayed 43
years. Four other Popes stayed more than forty years.
were : Pope Dimitrius Al Karam [ 12] Pope Yoannis XIII ,
Yoannis XVI  and Pope Peter Al Gawly the
Six patriarchs stayed
for 30 - 40 years these were : Pope
Cyril the great [ 24], Pope Theodore
, Pope Damianus 
Pope Benjamin [38 ], Pope Christotholus [ 66], and
Matthew I [ 87]
Those who stayed for a short period were : Pope
 who stayed 6 months, Pope Simon II for 5 months,
possible seven and half months. Pope Mikhail  occupied
the seat for
4- VACANCY OF THE SEAT:
At the beginning the seat was
to be occupied as soon as it
became vacant. Pope Theophans departed on 6
AD. Pope Mina II succeeded him on 7 December 956 AD.
Cyril the great followed Pope Theophilos after two days.
Pope Khael III
followed Pope Shenouda I after six days. Pope
Kisma III followed Pope Gabriel
I, 14 days after his departure.
Occasionally, the seat became vacant for
Sometimes it extended to years. The first time that
was after Pope Simon I. The seat was empty for three years
nine months. The longest time this seat was vacant in the
history of the
church was after the departure of Pope Yoannis
VI  and it was for 19 years, five months and ten
There were disputes and political reasons.
The Location Of The
1- Its first location was the house of Anianus then at St.
Church in Pokalia where St. Mark was buried. It became
known as the Seat of
Alexandria. Alexandria remained to be
the site of the patriarchs during the
During the periods of persecution, the Popes used to flee
hide, particularly at the time of " Chalcedon ", when the
patriarchs took all the churches of Alexandria. Their
hiding place was
usually in a monastery by the name of Al Sagas
the Arab conquest in 644 AD, Pope Benjamin was
called from hiding by Amr Ibn
Al Aas, when his safety was
assured. The church in Pokalia was still in the
hands of the
Romans. The Pope took St. Mark Church, known also as Al
or Al Muallaqa as a place for the seat in Alexandria.
Other favorite places
for refuge were in Demira, Mehallet
Daniel and the monasteries in the Sciet
in the Natrun Valley.
3- Pope Christozolo  in the Eleventh Century was
to relocate St. Mark's Seat to Cairo, to the Muallaqa Church
4- The seat was again transferred to Abu Sefyn
(St.Mercurius) in old Egypt by Pope Gabriel  and kept
back and forth between the two churches till the
beginning of the Fourteenth
5- Then to The Church of the Virgin in Haret Zewela by
Yoannis VIII who departed in 1320 AD. It remained there till
6- Again transferred to The Church at Haret Al Rum
Pope Matthew IV  (1660 - 1670) till the early
7- In 1809 AD, Pope Mark VIII built St. Mark Church in
and the seat was transferred there. When the new
Cathedral of St. .Mark was
completed in Anba Ruweis
Monastery in Abbassiah, it became Pope Shenouda
5- THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ST. MARK'S SEAT
A: Before The Seat Was tied to monasticism:
Anianus was the first to succeed St. Mark. He was
followed by the three
priests ordained. by St. Mark. St. Yustus
who was appointed to head the
Theological School, was
elevated to this seat, among the many who taught in
Graduates of this school also became
bishops, and priests. At
that time, monasticism was not yet known, nor
When monasticism was established, it was essentially to live
life totally full of prayers, away from the world, in solitude
silence. Occasionally, some of the monks accepted to be priests
serve the Eucharist Liturgy in the monasteries and the
began, monasticism was far away from having any
authority over priesthood. It
was only in the Fourth Century,
after it had flourished, that many great men like Anba
Anba Pachonius, Anba Macarius and Anba Shenouda who
monasticism that things changed. None of the
patriarchs was a monk in this
early period. St. Athanasius who
was chosen to be a patriarch, was a deacon
and a disciple of
B- When did the monks become patriarchs
The first monk to become a patriarch was Pope Cyril , in
AD. He followed his uncle Pope Theophilus , who
used to visit the
monasteries and benefited from the monks'
services. His uncle sent him
earlier to the Sciet desert, to call
him later to assist him. After his uncle
passed away he replaced
him. He was a monk from Anba Makar
Between the time of Pope Cyril [24 ] and Pope Benjamin
there were 14 patriarchs, only five of them were monks. They
from the monasteries of Anba Makar, Al Zogag, Tabor
Yoannis III [ 40 ] was from Abu Makar Monastery,
selected in 680 AD, after
whom it became customary to choose
the patriarchs from the monks, to the
extent that otherwise was
C- The relation of the
monasteries with St. Mark seat:
The first and largest monastery was the
Monastery of Abu
Makar, out of which many monks were elevated to the seat
St. Mark, that it was called, "The father of the patriarchs
bishops". Traditionally at that time the first visit of the
patriarch was to go to this monastery in Sciet. Out of this
28 were elevated to the seat of St. Mark. The first
patriarch from this monastery was Pope Cyril the great ,
possibly Pope Yoannis I [ 29 ]. The following patriarchs : 40,
46, 47, 49, 50, 52, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 63, 65, 66,
67, 68, 76, 83, 98,
100, 111 were from this monastery. Their
last was Pope Dimitrius II, who died
in 1870 AD.
Al Zogag Monastery: is second to Abu Makar Monastery.
were selected there from : the 30, 34, 42, 43 rd. Their last
Alexandrius II who died in 729 AD.
Al Baramus Monastery: From it there
were six patriarchs.
Their first was Pope Christotholus in 1046 AD  then
popes : 96, 102, 112, 113 and Pope Cyril VI 
Monastery: Four were selected from it, their
first was Pope Gabriel IV
, then the popes 87, 90, 93. and
their last was Pope Yuannis X II who
died in 1480 AD.
Anba Anthony Monastery: Is the second largest
for the patriarchs. Twelve patriarchs were chosen from
monastery. Pope Gabriel VI  was the first , then the : 99,
103, 110 popesand their last was Pope Yusab II [ 115]
who died in
Al Syrian Monastery: from it were Pope Gabriel VII [ 95
(from 1525 - 1568) and Pope Shenouda III [ 117] on 14
November 1971, the
Anba Bishoy Monastery : Had two,: Pope Gabriel VIII 
1587 and Pope Macarius III  who departed in 1945 AD.
Other monasteries not presently existing : Eight
came from them, like the Monastery of Tamora in Marietta,
Monastery of Abu Yehnes, the Monastery of Pofanah
Monastery of Shahran, the Monastery of
Mount Tora and the Monastery of Al
There were eight patriarchs whose monasteries were
D- Laymen who became Patriarchs:
There was a
time when the church, selected laymen. It was a
deviation from the
established tradition of selecting the
patriarchs from monks. Among these
were Pope Gabriel Ben
Treek  in 1131, Pope Abram Ben Zaraa  in 1166
and Pope Yoannis VI  in 1189 AD.
E-.Popes from among the
Some of the patriarchs were priests as, Pope Zakharius [
in 1004 AD, who was one of the priests at the Church of the
Alexandria. The other was Pope Yuannis XI  in
1427 AD. He was a priest at
Abu Sefyn Church in old Cairo.
1-Nicene & Post
Nicene Fathers. Vol. 14.
2-Kinz al Abad Al Thameen Part II p. 553.
so Bishop of Rome. [ Law of Council of Nicea 325 AD].
4- Concise History of
The Coptic Nation.
5- Anba Isithirus .
of History of Patriarchs, 5th Part p. 34
ST. MARK AND THE
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE FAMOUS SCHOOL
At the time St. Mark came to Egypt, Alexandria was already
important center for education in pagan worshipping.
Through its library and
school, many philosophers and scientists
were well known. It was proper for
the new church to have a
theological school to support the faith in the
hearts of its
believers. A school had to stand up against the idolatry.
Mark, who himself was fluent in Hebrew, Latin and Greek,
danger of the idolatry on the faith. He established a
school and appointed Yustus, a scholar,
to manage it.
The new school was
based on the "Catechism method", where
education was received through
questions and answers. Beside
spiritual and religious subjects, medicine,
engineering and music
The pagan philosophers studied the Holy
Bible, not to believe,
but to be able to criticize and to fight it. It was
responsibility of this school to be able to argue their claims
to respond to them.
Amonius Al Sakat the top of the idyllic
philosophers used to
listen to the lectures and enjoyed it.
THE RELATION BETWEEN THE SCHOOL AND THE
SEAT OF ST.
Justus was the first to manage the school and later became
sixth patriarch. Others who attended this school and
distinguished to have high caliber, were also selected to the
St. Mark. At that time monasticism was not yet known.
St. Eumenius succeeded
Justus at the school and later was
elevated to the seat to become the seventh
patriarch. The same
happened with Mark, who first followed Eumenius at the
then to be the eighth patriarch.
Pope Julian [ 11 ] was a student
of the theological school.
During the Papacy of Pope Dimetrios  Yaroclaus
appointed as a director of the theological school after Origen
became the 13 th Pope. During his Papacy Dionesius was
teaching at the
school, then became the 14 th Pope. Both
Yaroclaus and Dionesius were
students of Origen. Also Pope
Peter  the seal of martyrs, Pope Archilaus
 and Pope
Timothy  were graduates of the school.
THE SCHOOL AND
Many graduated from the school and became bishops
the seat of St Mark. One of them for example was St.
known as the wonder-maker. He was the one who taught
led him to accept the faith. He wrote extensively
about the school and the
benefits he acquired studying there.
Others received the benefit of its
education through the books
written by its eminent teachers. Among those was
St. Basil the
great , Gregory, the Theologian, John Chrysostom, [ who
Origen's books, defended him ]. St. John Chrysostom was tried
suffered in defending Origen.
SOME OF ITS DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS
Athenaghoras was one of the most eminent among them,
defended Christianity and its apologists.
St. Pentinus preached in
India, and in the Arab Peninsula. He
was known of his excellent command in
the Coptic language.
St. Clement of Alexandria accepted the faith at his
became one of the famous scholars in Christianity. He wrote
books, including the well known " Stromata ".
St. Origen became a famous
writer through the ages. He
authored many books, studied the Holy Bible for
28 years and
made a comparison between the different translations.
wrote the "Hexabla" and explained most of the books of the
his famous books were, " Principles ",
"Answering Calsus " and " The
Pope Damian  became an authority on theology.
Athanasius who attended the school, was considered to
be the father to the
scholars. He was credited to be the one
who wrote the Christian Creed. He
defended the nature of the
Son in the council of Nicea and throughout his
life. He wrote
many books in reply to Arius, the "Incarnation of the
"A message to the idolatry", "Messages about the Holy Spirit"
the "Life of Anthony". The last four books were translated
to Arabic by
Reverend Fr. Morcus Dawoud.
During the era of St. Athanasius, the head of the
school was a
great blind scholar named St. Didimus. His fame attracted
Jerome to study under him. He translated his book, "The Holy
to Latin. St. Anthony the great praised him, saying,
"Don't mourn that you
lost your sight, the animals and the
insects have eyes, but rejoice because
you have the spiritual
eyes that can see the light of Divinity." He was very
in convincing the others, and was decent in his arguments
many of the pagan philosophers came to study under him. He
us many books on Divinity, dogmas and interpretation.
Theugust Piraeus [
known also as the new Origen ] , Serapes,
Makar, Rodon were some of the
eminent names among the
The greatness of the school
was in its teachers and not in its
buildings. It didn't have a fixed place at
the beginning. The
students followed the teachers where ever they were.
used to rent a place to preach during the time of the
The places were destroyed from time to time and
they had to seek alternative
THE SCHOOL'S CREDIT AND IMPORTANCE :
As there was
prosperity and growth in the church, the school
was equally successful. The
school unfortunately was neglected
gradually with the pressure on the church.
Ultimately it was
closed and that was a catastrophe to the church.
Cyril V , feeling the importance of such school,
established a new school on
November, 29 1893.
The new Theological School provided the church in
recent times with hundreds of priests and preachers. The Holy
after appreciating its benefits, limited the ordination of
the priests to its
Mr. Youssef Mancarius became the first director of
school, followed by the Archdeacon Habib Guirgis and after
Hegomen Attia Ibrahim Attia.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
THE FIRST GOSPEL:
It is agreed among scholars that the
Book of Mark was the
first of the Gospels, however they differed about the
time it was
written. Ibn Akbar estimated it to have been written in 45
St. Irenaeus stated that it was written after the martyrdom of
St. Peter and St. Paul, that is after 67 AD.
St. John Chrysostom said that it
was written in Egypt, that is
about 61 AD. It was written in Greek, which was
language in both Egypt and Rome at that time and later it
translated to Latin and Coptic.
PRECISION AND DETAILS:
wrote it in detail regarding the names, the time, the place
the numbers, the
colors, with such an inspiration, proving that
he was present in all its
Examples: In the names, he referred to Matthew to be a Levi,
son of Alphae, [Mark 2 : 14]. For the blind Bartimae, he
said, he was the son
of Timae [Mark 10 - 46]. About Simon,
he described him as a Cyrenian and the
father of Alexander and
Rufus [Mark 15 : 21 ] and so. on.
As for the
places, these are some examples: "And again,
departing from the coasts of
Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the
sea of Galilee, through the midst of the
coasts of Decapolis."
[Mark 7 : 31] and his saying "He entered into a ship
and sat in
the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea." [Mark 4
He wrote about the miracle of the five loaves in a
detail, "And he commanded them to make all sit down by
upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks,
by hundreds, and by
fifties." [Mark 6 : 39, 40] Other examples
in describing Christ when he slept
in the ship on a pillow, or
when He was transfigured before Peter, James and
"And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow;
as no fuller on earth can white them." [Mark 9 : 3]
The same is true
when he described healing the sick, [Mark 8
: 7 ; 7 :28 ; 1 :13]
described the feelings and expressions and here we have
some examples like :
Jesus moved with compassion, [Mark 1 :
41] ; and straily charged him, [Mark 1
: 43] ; when Jesus
perceived in his spirit, [Mark 2 : 8] ; looked round about
them in anger being grieved, [Mark 3 : 5] ; that virtue had gone
Him, [Mark 5 : 30] ; He sighed,[Mark 7 : 34], have
compassion on the
multitude, [Mark 8 : 2] ; and sighed deeply
in His Spirit, [Mark 8 : 12] ;
then Jesus beholding him loved
him, [Mark 10 : 21] ; and began to be sore,
and to be very
heavy, [Mark 14 : 33] ; and he took them up in his arms,
His hands upon them, and blessed them, ( the children) [Mark
ST. MARK WROTE FOR THE GENTILES, "THE
wasn't written for the Jews , as St. Matthew did.
He addressed the Gentiles
and particularly the Romans, as he
shared in the establishment of the church
in Rome with Paul.
Following are some proofs:-
a- He translated the Aramaic words in his writing, like
of Boanerges, which meant the sons of thunder. [Mark 3 :17]
the same time he didn't translate the name of Peter or other
Latin words. He
mentioned that ( Talitha cumi is interpreted,
Damsel, I say unto you , arise)
[Mark 5 : 41] ; that "Corban
meant "Gift" [Mark 7 : 11] and " Ephphatha" is
[Mark 7 : 34] He followed after the word "hell" an
that it was the fire that never be extinguished. [9 : 43] ; and
word "Abba", was followed by father. [Mark 14 : 36]. He
" Eloi, Eloi, lamasabachthani", meant "My God, my
God, why have you forsaken
me?". [Mark 15 : 34].
He had no need to translate, if he was writing to the
b- Explaining the customs of the Jews and their places.
explained what was meant by (defile), " And when they
saw some of his
disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say,
with unwashed, hands, they
found fault.... as washing of cups,
and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables."
[Mark 7 : 2 - 4] He
explained ,"The first day of unleavened bread, when
slaughtered the Passover." [Mark 14 : 12] ; and explained, "
when the even was come, because it was the
preparation, that is the day
before the Sabbath." [Mark 15 : 42]
He explained the value of the " two mites
which make a
farthing" and he didn't do that for the dinar which was
[Mark 6 : 37]
When he talked about "Sadducees", he explained its
to the Roman readers, that they were the people who said
resurrection'. This was known of course to the Jews. When he
about the "Syrophenician", he said "The woman was a
Greek, 'a Syrophenian by
nation'. That was the style the
As for the places, the Jews had no problem in
them. He defined the 'Jordan' as a river, [Mark 1 : 5],
'mount of Olives' was over against the temple. [Mark 13 : 3]
'Bethphage' and Bethany were near Jerusalem. [Mark
11 : 1]
Little reference to the Old Testament:
The Book of Matthew quoted many
references from the Old
Testament, as it was written essentially to the Jews.
other hand, St. Mark wrote his Book to the Gentiles with
limited little reference to the Old Testament compared to
INTRODUCING LORD CHRIST TO THE
St. Mark, realizing the fact that the Romans were
action, he introduced Christ to them with His work and power.
concentrated on His deeds more than His speech. The
Romans were the rulers of
the world and people of authority,
thus he showed them the powerful Christ,
the Son of the
Almighty God, Who has the authority on every
Without introduction, he gave his message.
people who were on the move, they travel, trade, and go to
He didn't say who Christ was, nor gave a preparatory
preface such as the
annunciation, Baptism, St. Mary's visit to
Elizabeth, the Nativity and His
birth etc., but he began directly
to pronounce His work.
He began his Book saying :"The beginning of the gospel
Jesus Christ, the Son of God" , versus St. Matthew who began
"The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of
David, the son of
The road was prepared for the kings, so he described it that
, "I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare
thy way before."
[Mark 1 : 2] The voice of one crying in the
wilderness. [Mark 1 : 3] For the
remission of sins. [Mark 1 : 4 -
John the Baptist said, "The latchet of
whose shoes I am not
worthy to stoop down and unloose." [Mark 1 : 7] , "And
came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in
am well pleased." [Mark 1 : 11] The evil spirits
confessed that He was "The
Holy One." [Mark 1 : 24] , "And
was with the wild beasts; and the angels
ministered unto him."
[Mark 1 : 13]
As Matthew began to record Lord
Christ's miracles of healing
and casting out the unclean spirits in his 8 th.
chapter, we find
St. Mark recording them in the first chapter, showing the
authority of Christ.
He mentioned his authority over the evil, the
ordering them to obey him. [Mark 1 : 27] His power
sickness, [Mark 1 : 34], with authority, not like the scribes.
: 22] He mentioned His popularity and how the people
came to Him from every
quarter. [Mark 1 : 45] and how he had
disciples who came after Him and
followed. [Mark 1 : 16 - 20]
All these were mentioned in the first chapter,
where he put it
forcefully and effectively. In effect, he showed them that
strength of Christ and His Kingdom, were greater than the
their admired country.
2- CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD:
With this fact, he began
his gospel. When the Roman
centurion saw the crucifixion, he cried and said
that "He was
truly the Son of God". [Mark 15 : 39]
The Father said, "Thou
art my beloved Son, in whom I am
well pleased." [Mark 1 : 11], and at the
transfiguration, [Mark 8
: 7]. When Jesus was asked by the high priest during
"Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed. And Jesus said,
am.." [Mark 14 : 61] and confessed knowing the last day.
[Mark 13 :
Even the unclean spirits, " Fell down before Him, and cried
Thou art the Son of God. [Mark 3 : 11] Legion, cried
and said, " What have I
to do with thee Jesus , thou Son of the
most high God." [Mark 5 : 6]
Christ took for Himself the name "Son of man" , he
said that the Son of man
had the power to forgive sins. [Mark 2
: 10], that He was also the Lord of
the Sabbath. [Mark 2 : 28],
that He also will be sitting on the right of
power and coming in
the clouds. [Mark 14 : 62 , 13 : 26]
That was the
truth, that St. Mark showed to the Romans, who
realized the unlimited
authority of Christ.
3- HIS AUTHORITY ON DEVILS:
St. Mark told them
about God's authority to castout unclean
spirits that obeyed Him. They all
were amazed. [Mark 1 : 27]
He cast out many devils. [Mark 1 : 34] The unclean
screamed and said, "What have we to do with You. ...You came
destroy us." [Mark 1 : 24] They even fell down before him.
[Mark 3 : 11 , 5 :
6] Legion, who had manly unclean spirits,
was in the mountains, often bound with fetters and chains
no one could tame him except Christ. [Mark 5 : 4]
Christ cleaned the
people from their unclean spirits, even
without seeing them as when He told
the Phqenician woman, to
go her way as the devil had left her daughter. When
home, she found the devil had gone out of her daughter. [Mark
24 - 30]
He gave the same authority to his disciples to cast out
devil. [Mark 3 :15 , 6 : 7] He didn't stop any one from casting
out in His Name. [Mark 9 : 39]
4- HIS AUTHORITY ON SICKNESS:
Mark recorded His healing of the sick and the disabled
with chronic problems.
He healed the blind, [Mark 8 : 22 - 26],
[Mark 10 : 46 - 52] , the deaf and
mute, [Mark 7 :31 - 37], the
leper, [Mark 1 : 42], cured the sick with palsy,
[Mark 2 : 11],
the man with the withered hand, [Mark 3 : 5], and the
who had an issue of blood for twelve years, [Mark 5 : 25 - 34].
people were amazed and glorified God by saying that
they had never seen
something like it. [Mark 2 : 12]
The miracles were so numerous to the extend
that the people
carried their sick on beds and went to where He might
gone. [Mark 6 : 55 , 56]
The power of healing was so obvious that
they, "might touch
if it were but the border of His garment: and as many
touched Him were made whole." [Mark 56 :6]
This power was given by Him
to His disciples too. [Mark 16 :
5- HIS AUTHORITY ON NATURE AND DEATH:
the wind and the waves, "He arose and rebuked
the wind, and said unto the
sea, Peace, be still. And the wind
ceased, and there was a great calm." [Mark
4 :39 - 41] On
another occasion, He came walking upon the sea, "And
walked up into the ship and the wind ceased, and they were
themselves beyond measure, and wondered." [Mark
6 : 48 - 54]
had authority on the plants, and He cursed the
fruitless fig tree, and the
tree became dry. [Mark 11 : 12 - 20]
St. Mark mentioned His authority on
death, as he held the
hand of daughter of Jairus, who was dead and asked that
may lay hand on his dead daughter so she "may heal and live"
did. [Mark 5 : 22 - 43]
He mentioned also the resurrection of God Himself,
16 : 6] and His Ascension to heaven and sitting on the right
At the time He was on the cross, nature responded, "And
the sixth hour came, there was darkness over the whole
land, "And the veil of
the temple rent in twain from the top to
the bottom." [Mark 15 : 33 -
6- OTHER AUTHORITIES:
St. Mark explained how Christ reasoned
what others had in
their heart (thoughts). [Mark 2 : 8] He was able to
about the temple, Jerusalem and the end of the world, [Mark
and about His Own death, His Resurrection and the second
coming. [Mark 8 : 31
He explained how He fed five thousand with five loaves and
fishes, that they were filled and what remained was twelve
baskets full of the fragments and of the fishs. [Mark 6 : 23
44] A similar miracle happened again. [Mark 8 : 1 - 9]
With the power of
His purity, He entered the temple leaving
the high priests helpless in
resisting his authority. [Mark 11 :
33]. St. Mark stated that Lord Christ
said that He was the Lord
of the Sabbath. [Mark 2 : 28] ; that He was the
Lord, [Mark 11
: 3] and He has the power on earth to forgive sins. [Mark 2
7- THE PEOPLE FOLLOWING HIM:
Beside the wonderful power
that St. Mark portrayed Jesus
Christ with, he recorded how the multitudes
followed Him and
said , "Immediately His fame spread abroad throughout all
region round about Galilee. And all the city gathered at His
[Mark 1 : 28-33].
When He left with His disciples to the sea, "And a
multitude followed Him from Judea and Jerusalem and from
from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and
Sidon, a great multitude, when
they had heard what great things
He did, came unto Him. And He spoke to His
disciples, that a
small ship should wait on Him because of the multitude,
they should throng Him." [Mark 3 : 7 -9]
"And He began again to teach
by the sea side and there
gathered unto Him a great multitude, so that He
entered into a
ship and sat at the sea, and the whole multitude was by the
on the land." [Mark 4 : 1 , 2]
Even when He went with His disciples
alone to a deserted
place, "And the people saw them departing and many
Him and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and out went them,
came together unto Him. And Jesus, when he came out,
saw much people, and was
moved with compassion toward
them, because they were as sheep not having a
[Mark 6 : 32 - 34]
Many people followed him, [Mark 5 : 24] "
And all the
people, when they beheld Him, were greatly amazed and
to Him saluted Him. [Mark 9 : 15] Each time that He
"Entered a house , and
would have no man know it; but He
could not be hid." [Mark 7 : 24]
CHRIST THE TEACHER:
St. Mark mentioned that whenever the multitude
around him He taught them. His gospel mainly mentioned
work more than His teaching, yet he stated His
greatness as a teacher and the
He was preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
1 : 14] He was teaching them differently. They asked Him
wisdom and how He got it? [Mark 6 : 2] , "and the
common people heard Him
gladly." [Mark 12 : 37], "All the
people were astonished at His doctrine."
[Mark 11 : 18]
All the people called Him "Master". This was
twelve times in the Book of Mark. He was called the same by
enemies, the Pharisees, the Herodians and the Sadducees,
[Mark 12 : 14 , 19,
32] and also by the people, [Mark 5: 35 ,
9 : 17 , 10 : 17 , 20]. He Himself
called Himself the same.
[Mark 14 : 14]
9- CHRIST THE KING:
Mark introduced Him as a King of a Spiritual Kingdom,
preaching the Kingdom
of God. In the gospel there was a great
difference between Herod the King
with his commanders living
in fun and the King Christ who gathered the people
them the path to God, healing and filling the hungry .... [Mark
: 1 - 29]
10 THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE TRUTH AND
St. Mark recorded all Christ's services that made the
of the Jews jealous. They fought Him, but were unable to stop
from convincing the people in His Ministry, so they killed
Him. It was He Who
was peaceful, but they worked against
As much as the people gathered
around Him and were pleased
with His teaching, the more the leaders of the
annoyed because of His fame and popularity. They didn't
from His teaching, nor His miracles. They followed Him
and even invited Him
to their homes, just to watch and were ready
to catch a wrong of Him.
the case of the man with the Palsy, the scribes reasoned in
"Why does this man speak blasphemies", He replied
"Why reason you these
things in your hearts." [Mark 2 : 6 , 7]
When they began to reason again they
asked His disciples,
"How is it that He ate and drank with the publicans and
sinners ?" He replied " They that they are whole have no need
physician, but they that are sick." [Mark 2 : 16 , 17]
Gradually the Jews
began to speak and asked His disciples why
they didn't fast? Why they had to
pluck the ears of the corn
on the Sabbath ? He replied from the Book so they
peace. When He healed the man with the withered hand on
Sabbath, He looked at them with anger for the hardness of their
he healed the man and "The Pharisees went forth and
straightway took council
with Herodidians against Him, how
they might destroy Him." [Mark 3 : 1 -
St. Mark with his style, clearly and speedily explained in
third chapter, how the relation between Christ and the leaders
Jews changed from doubt to a plot to destroy Him. Lord
Christ too, changed
and became angry, as it was impossible to
make peace with those who wanted to
stop the work of God.
They later accused Him that He was the prince of the
with Beelzebub, but He replied that a kingdom if divided
itself, that kingdom would not stand. [Mark 3 : 24]
At one point
they thought that He was caught by a mistake,
that His disciples ate without
washing their hands. He replied,
"Well Isaiah prophesied of you
hypocrites...as it is written the
people honored me with their lips, but
their heart is far from
me." " For laying aside the commandments of God, you
tradition of man. That they broke the fifth commandment for
tradition, [Mark 7 : 6 - 23] and stopped honoring their
fathers and took the
money from the temple.
We notice here that the Lord Christ began to attack
He warned His disciples, " Take heed, beware of the leaven of
Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod." [Mark 8 : 15] . He
then entered the
temple without fear, " And sought how they
might, for they feared Him. [Mark
11 : 18] He resembled
them as the bad men of the vineyard, who killed the
and the messengers of God and they wanted to kill his son
They knew that He meant them. " And they sought to lay hold
but feared the people." [Mark 12 : 1 - 12]
They entered with Him in another
phase and asked a question
to embarrass Him. He replied the Pharisees and the
by His famous reply " Render to Caesar the things that
Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." 12 : 13 , 17]
came the Sadducees asking Him about resurrection and
marriage and He replied
that in heaven they neither marry nor
are given in marriage, but like angels
who are in heaven. He
ended by saying "You therefore do greatly err." [Mark 12 : 28
As they were unable to reason they began to plan to destroy
He was killed not through weakness but because He came
"To His life a ransom
for many." [Mark 10 : 45]
11- THE CROSS AND REDEMPTION:
tremendous power St. Mark represented Christ to the
gentile nations as The
Son of God with all His Might, yet He
accepted the cross without shame. It
took him half the book to
explain its purpose. He mentioned His journey to
His crucifixion, His resurrection were to him equivalent to
rest of the Christian Ministry as a whole. The Redemption is
of the Christian faith. The effect of crucifixion was
reflected in the Book
of St. Mark, beginning in its third
chapter. [Mark 3 : 6] The struggle with
the leaders was only
the first step to crucifixion.
St. Mark described how
the Lord Christ walked with extreme
courage to be crucified. He went with His
own will to
Jerusalem knowing that the Jews were plotting against Him.
went to [Jesimanee] knowing that they will arrest Him there.
didn't picture Him to the Romans as a weak person.
Neither that He was
finished by His death. He had risen and
appeared to many. He said that He
will come "In the glory of
the Father with the holy angels." [Mark 8 : 38] ;
"Sitting on the
right hand of power and coming in the clouds of
[Mark 14 : 62." ; " And then shall they see the Son of
coming in the clouds with great power and glory .. And then
send his angels, and shall gather together His elect from
the four winds,
from the uttermost part of the earth to the
uttermost part of heaven." [Mark
13 : 26 , 27]
12- A WORD TO ENCOURAGE THE GENTILES
mere fact that he mentioned about the struggle between
Christ and the Jews
was in fact an encouragement to the
Gentiles. St. Mark pointed that Christ
came for the Gentiles.
He went to Tyre and Sidon to the extent of the ten
healed the daughter of the Phoenician woman [Mark 7 :24 - 30]
and said " My house shall be called of all nations." [Mark 16 :
advice to the Gentiles and the Romans:
St. Mark introduced Lord Christ to the
Romans as the
powerful, authoritative man with work, knowledge
miracles. That was the picture they like as lovers of power
action. He attracted them also to Christ's teaching which is full
spirituality and humbleness, picturing Him as the King with a
He mentioned that Jesus asked those who were healed and
miracles not to tell others or to point to Him. [Mark 3 :
12 , 4 : 44 , 5 :
43 , 7 : 36 , 8 : 26 , 9 : 9] He also asked His
disciples to be humble and to
carry the cross.
The disciples disputed among themselves, "Who should be
greatest?" He told them "You know that they which accounted
over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their
authority upon them. But so shall it not be
among you: but whosoever will be
great among you, shall be
your minister. But whosoever will be great among
you shall be
servant of all . For even the son of man came not to
ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom
many." [Mark 10 : 35 , 45]
If Christ the Son of God was as such, so it was fair for
Romans to be humble.
Thus, he wrote about Christ's saying, "Beware of
which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in
market places. And the chief seats in the synagogues, and
uppermost rooms at the feasts... and for a pretense make long
these shall receive greater damnation." [Mark 12 : 38
- 40] He asked them to
leave the wealth and every thing for
God and to be satisfied with small
things. [Mark 10 : 17 - 30]
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MARK
Some of the Westerners tried to claim that the Gospel
by St. Mark was dictated to him by St. Peter, discrediting him
that honor. This is absolutely untrue and they ignored facts
A- Does it mean to them that the great Saint Peter lost the
given to him and other apostles by the Holy Spirit on the
to speak to the people of, "every nation under
heaven." (Acts 2 : 5) St.
Peter was capable to do that and didn't
need to ask someone else to speak for
him. He didn't need to
have a translator.
B- Papias claimed that
St. Mark didn't hear nor followed the
Lord, however, he did not take the
following into consideration:-
1-St. Mark was the young man who
followed the Lord, the
night Jesus Christ was arrested, "And there followed
certain young man, having linen cloth cast about his naked
body; and the young man laid hold on him." (Mark 14 : 51
2- His mother was one of the Marys.
Christ celebrated the Passover in his home.
4- The Lord washed His
Disciple's feet in his house.
5- In his home God gave them His Holy
Body and Blood.
6- Almost one quarter of the Gospel according to St.
recorded what the Lord said and what He did at St. Mark's
(Mark 13 to 17)
C- The claims by Papias are contrdictory to what was
by the Fathers and the Saints.
D- St. Mark recorded what he
personally witnessed in detail.
His home was the destination of the Virgin
Saint Mary and the
Apostles, where they gathered in the famous Chamber
zion. (Acts 1 : 13 & 14) His home was the first Christian
Church in the
THE NAME OF ST. MARK
churches, monasteries and schools were named after St.
Mark. Many Popes,
bishops and saints were given the name
There was a city in Nuba
named after St., Mark, " Morcosa"
which was submerged under water because of
the High Dam.
In Ethiopia there is a city called " Debra Morcos"
The name 'Mark' meant a 'hammer'. St. Mark was
hammer that broke down idols. The church called St. Mark
POPES NAMED AFTER ST. MARK:
1- Nineteen popes were
named as John, which in Hebrew is
Youhanna and pronounced in Coptic or
Greek as Yoannis.
That is the largest group among the popes with the same
only followed by the Latin name of St. Mark.
Eight popes were named
Mark, including St. Mark himself.
2- Pope Mark II [ 49 ]
named as New Mark and was ordained between 20 -23
AD. He was the only
Patriarch whose name was mentioned in
the Synaxarium. He died on April 17,
819 AD. His feast is
celebrated on 23 Barmoda.
He was born in Alexandria,
went to Abu Makar Monastery,
His seat was at St. Mark Church in Alexandria.
Died and was
buried in Nabroa, but his relics were transferred later
3- Pope Mark III [ 73 ]
He was called Ibn Zaraa,
ordained and remained a Patriarch
for twenty years and half, till he died on
January 1189 AD. He was
a Syrian and before his ordination he was a layman.
was in Al Mualaqa church in old Cairo. He was buried in Abu
4- Pope Mark IV [ 84 ]
He remained a Patriarch for
fourteen years and five months.
Died on January 31, 1363 AD. He was born in
became a monk at the Shahran Monastery. His seat was in
Church of the Virgin at Haret Zewela. He was buried in the
Monastery. His period was full of stress and struggle.
5- Pope Mark V [ 98
He was a patriarch for sixteen years and two months. He died
First day of the Coptic year " Al Nayrouz" [ September
1619 AD.] He was born
in Bayadia and became monk at Abu
Makar Monastery. He was ordained at the
Church of St.
Marcurius "Abu Sifyn" in Old Cairo. His seat was The
of the Virgin in Haret Zewela. He faced many problems during
life. One of the problems was the practice of taking more
than one wife.
Another problem was the attempt by the
Catholics to take over the church in
Ethiopia. He was buried at
Abu Makar Monastery.
6- Pope Mark VI [
He remained on the seat of St. Mark for ten years and died
April 20, 1656 AD on Good Friday. He was born in Bahgorah
and became a
monk at Anba Anthony Monastery. His seat was
The Church of The Virgin at Haret Zewela. He built an
prayer hall which is in existence to this day. He was not on
terms with some of the pillars of the church and some
monks. He lived a
stressful life. He was buried at Abu Sifyn
Monastery in Old Cairo.
Pope Mark VII 
He was the holiest of the six, selected to the seat
remained for twenty four years till he died on May 18, 1769
AD, 12 of
Bashans [St. Demianah's day]. He was born in
Kolosna and went to Anba Anthony
Monastery. He made
frequent visits to the Monastery of St. Paula . He liked
alone and was said that he was pressured to accept his
as a patriarch. His seat was at Haret Al Rum.
He ordained a Metropolitan for
Ethiopia and another one for
Upper Egypt. During his period there was an
attempt from the
Catholic Church to take over the Coptic Church.
ordained a monk from Jerusalem to be a Catholic Bishop in
he was unable to come to Egypt and stayed in
Jerusalem. They also ordained
Raphael Al Tokhi as their bishop
for Upper Egypt, but he was unable to stay
there, so the Pope of
Rome called him to Rome to stay there . He kept writing
about the Coptic Church.
He was faced with many difficulties and he
was a saintly man.
At the time of his death, he saw a vision of Anba Paula
Anba Anthony, supporting him at that moment.
The people honored him
with a big funeral. Anba Yusab,
Metropolitan of Ethiopia and Anba Peter of
attended the funeral. His body was transferred to the
of Abu Sifyn where he was buried in a special tomb for
8- Pope Mark VIII 
He occupied the seat of St.,
Mark for thirteen years and two
months. He died on December 21, 1809 AD. Was
Tema and became a monk at the Anba Anthony Monastery. His
at Haret Al Rum, then transferred it to Al Azbakia.
During his time the St.
Mark Church was built. He was the first
Patriarch to be buried in it.
Mamlukes, rulers of Egypt then, caused him many
problems. During his time the
French invasion to Egypt
happened. After they left, he sent a humble papal
the people full of compassion asking them to repent.
attributed the difficulties they face to the corruption for
away from God. He was not criticizing them, but said that he
equally human like the rest of them, asking them to receive
without burden and that he was bitterly obliged to
send it as their kind
He asked them to live in purity and with virtues and to pray
anyone who had deficiency, asking for the mercy of God.
He resembled the
situation with the sheep surrounded by
wolves with no shepherd.
that era, Anba Yusab Al-Abbah, Bishop of Girga and
Ekhmeem was one of the
most eminent scholars of the church.
BISHOPS NAMED AFTER ST.
Many bishops were named after St. Mark along the years. It
mentioned that when Pope Benjamin [ 82 ] was preparing the
Chrism[ Myron] out
of the 12 bishops who were present four
were named Mark. They were Bishop
Mark of Beheira, Bishop
Mark of Fouwa, Bishop Mark of Sedfa and Al Benwaneen
Bishop Mark of Abyar.
During the period of Pope Demetrius II [ 111 ] ,
was Bishop Mark of Beheira. At the same time the Bishop of
Teeg was also called Mark.
Our Bishop of Marseilles and Toluene in France was
by Pope Shenouda III as Bishop Mark on the Pentecost day in
In the present Holy Synod, we have Bishop Mark the Bishop
for Africa. We have also a Sub bishop [ Khory
Episcobes] with the same name,
in Shoubra Al-Kheima,
SAINTS NAMED AFTER ST.
Mentioned here as examples only, are some martyrs,
monks and writers who were named after St. Mark.
father of St. Demianah who was called Mark, was the ruler
over Al Borollos
and Zaafaran. Once he denied the faith due to
fear, and his daughter rebuked
him. He came back to his
religion and confessed Jesus Christ and he was
It is reported that at the time of Mark Al
Tarmaki's death, God
sent him St. Serapion to see him, bury him, and to write
his life. This was published in Al Kiraza.
Mark, a hermit at Anba Anthony Monastery, contemporary
of Pope Matthew I
. He had a life full of virtue, education
and wonders. This was mentioned in the third part of
Mark, the aseetic and his
colleague Nilos were disciples of St.
John Chrysostom. Mark published many
books. among them
a work about the "Acts"
CARRYING THE NAME OF "MARK"
[Written by Mr.
Nabih Kamel Dawoud]
An extensive research was done regarding places named
St. Mark. They are classified as :-
A- Beth "Home" of St.
B- Churches and monasteries not exiting now.
C- Churches present to
A- Beth ST. Mark
His Holiness Mar Aghnatius Yacoub,
Patriarch of Antioch for
the Syrian Orthodox(1) wrote under the title " Beth
The First Christian Church" :
His mother had a house in
Jerusalem, through tradition and
documented history it is confirmed that in
it God gathered His
apostles, celebrated the Passover, washed the feet of
disciples and gave them the mystery of His Body and Blood.
talked to them. The apostles waited in it till the Lord
came back to them
after His Resurrection, while its doors were
closed. There He gave them the
ecclesiastics, and the
priesthood authority. and filled them by His Holy
Later the house was consecrated to be a church with the
of Mother of God.... It became the seat of Jerusalem. St.
became the first Bishop of Jerusalem, and stayed there.]
At the present time,
the place is known as the Monastery of
St. Mark, or the house of Mary, mother
of Mark. It is not far
from the Church of Resurrection and is controlled by the
It is mentioned in the visit and tour guide brochure of
Jerusalem League [the Society of Rabtat Al Kods], printed in
detailed information is inserted. :-
The place at one time was a Coptic
property. By agreement,
the Syrian Orthodox Bishopric in Jerusalem looked
interests of the Copts in Jerusalem, while the
Metropolitan in Ethiopia, looked after the interests of the
Orthodox there. The Syrian Orthodox Bishop in Jerusalem
place as his permanent residence in Jerusalem, but
when the Copts ordained
Bishop Bacillius in 1237 as the
Coptic Metropolitan in Jerusalem, the Syrian
staying in it and claimed the place for himself. The
traditionally when they visit Jerusalem, they go to the place
praise St. Mark the preacher of Egypt.
The Holy places in it:
1- The door on which Peter knocked on, after the angel
freed him from
the prison and went to this house.
2- The Seat of St. James the apostle, the
first bishop of
3- The first baptismal place, the first in
4- An icon for the Virgin, said to be painted by St. Luke
In the book, "History of Jerusalem" (4), It is mentioned
the Monastery of St. Mark, is in the alley of Al Gawa'anah,
the allies of the Armenians and the Jews. In the
monastery there is a
Byzantine church by the name of the Virgin
and a bishopric. The church was
ruined during the rule of Al
Hakem Be Amr El lah Al Fatimi. in 1009 AD. The
was abandoned during the Turkish rule, but the Syrians
it in 1855, and also extended it in 1880 AD.
B-Churches and monasteries
not in existence now
There were seven churches which were mentioned by
Makarem [1208 AD ] and by Al Maqrizi [1441 AD ]
St. Mark The
Evangelist, South to Alexandria:
The believers, secretly built this
church in the western part of
Alexandria, a place called Al Sawari. It was
there where the
pagans tried to burn the body of St. Mark. Both
Theodore and Pope Andronicus  stayed in this church.
Melchites succeeded in taking the church during the time
of Pope Mark  as
was mentioned by Al Maqrizi [ page 47 ].
It was also mentioned that the
Patriarch of the Melchites, who
had good medical knowledge traveled to Bagdad
to treat one of
the Khalifa's harem and when she was cured he was awarded
an order to take all the churches from the Jacobites and he did.]
church disappeared with time.
2-St. Mark Church ( Al
Originally it was a temple built by Cleopatra in Alexandria.
was later converted to a church by the name of Archangel.
Michael. It was originally known as Al Caisaron during
time of Pope Alexandrus  or King Constantine or the
It was still in existence during the Arab conquest, but
burned during the invasion. It was built on the wall of the city
one of its towers. Butler (6) wrote about it, " It was near
the port, well
built and was important that it replaced the larger
church It had two
obelisks in its yard and was over the wall of
It was also
called "Al Mualaqa church" and sometime was
known as Al Kamha Church.
one time it was rebuilt and named after St. Mark. The
head of St. Mark was
kept there after it was stolen in 644 AD.
It was the church, Amr Ibn Al Aas
asked to be built to house
the head of St. Mark. Probably, Pope Aghathon 
] was the
one who completed it as was mentioned by Al Maqrizi.(7)
church was destroyed during the 5th battle by the
Crusaders, as it was near
It is the same church where Pope Peter VI [ 104] hid the head
St. Mark. .
The church was ruined during the French invasion in 1798.
destroyed it so the British wouldn't use it. The priests
carried the icons,
its books and every precious item to another
church in Rosetta. An antique
icon for Archangel. Michael, is
still there. Some other items were taken to
the Coptic museum
on a later day.
The place of the church was easily
recognized by Butler
because of its two obelisks. One of these needles was
London in 1877 AD and the other in Central Park in New York
1879. We can locate its place in Alexandria which would
be the right side of
the end of Al Nabi Daniel Street, between
the sea and Sultan Heissin and
Safia Zaghlol Streets.
3- St. Mark the Evangelist in Giza:
It was built by
Ibn Soliman, the scribe during the Ayubian's
Dynasty (1171 - 1250 AD) as was
recorded by Abu Al
Makarem (1209 AD page 75,76). It was built with wood
from a house on the river he owned and other wood taken from
church called Martyr Boktor Church. [this was
expanded with a better
Al Maqrizi ( 1441 AD) recorded that it was destroyed
- 1398 AD and was rehabilitated during the 15 th
century. This church does
not exist now and had no relation to
the present St. Mark Church in
4- Church of St. Mark in Bahnasa:
It was 12 kilometer to the
west of Beni Mazar. Abu Al
Makarem mentioned it twice in his book on pages 93
5- St. Mark Church at Sakiet Mahfouz:
Also mentioned by
Abu Al Makarem. Its present site is
Sakiet Dakook near Matay,in Minya
6- St. Mark Church The Evangelist in Taha Al
It is near Samalout, province of Minya, also mentioned by
7- St. Mark Church in Ashmouneen:
Near Malawi, was
mentioned also by Abu Al Makarem.
C- Existing Churches named St. Mark:
By the year 1975
AD there were 31 Coptic Churches named
after St. Mark. Most of them were
At the beginning of the Twentieth Century there were only
churches after his name. These, beginning with the oldest, were
Alexandria, Rosetta, Azbakkia, Cairo, Ben Ady in
Between 1900 -1950, 13 new churches were built.
Since 1950, another
13 churches were added.
Among the provinces, Minya had nine churches, Cairo
and four in Assuit.
First - The Churches in
1- St. Mark Cathedral in Alexandria: [at the
Orthodox Patriarchate]. It is located at 19, Coptic Street,
Messalla, district of Al-Atareen... It can be reached from Al-
Daniel Street and it isn't far from Al Ramla Tram Station
and Saad Zaghlol
The site of the church was known by different names at
times. It was called one time or another as Beth
Subterranean , St. George Church. Now it is
called St. Mark Church.
history began at the days of St. Mark preaching, beginning
Anianus invited him to his home, accepted the
faith and was baptized together
with his family. This house
became a church in between 60 - 68 AD. When St.
martyred, he was buried under this church. Since then
tradition began to bury the patriarchs beside St. Mark.
Justinian took over all the churches in Egypt [539 to
540 AD ]. The churches
were taken from the Coptic Egyptians
and were given to the Chalcedain followers. When the
invaded Egypt by Amr Ibn Al Aas in 644 AD, he ordered Pope
to return from hiding and garanteed his safety. He
also ordered the return of
the churches back to the Copts. At
that time, Pope Benjamin had been in
hiding for 13 years.
Abu Al Makarem, recorded that the churches in
were divided between the Copts and the Romans. The Al
church [called also Archangel Michael, Al Mualaqa or
Caisaron] was given to
the Copts. The Romans [Rum] got the
subterranean church [the site of the
present St. Mark Church
today.] This was returned back to the Copts and
Christozolus consecrated it in 1046 AD and was renamed as
Church. This name was in circulation in all the
books and scripts up to 1800
AD. Probably that name was
chosen because there was another church with St.,
[ Al Mualaqa], or to protect it from being taken again by
Romans. Al Mualaqa Church was located in the
northeastern side of
Alexandria and served to be the Great
Cathedral for the Copts in the city of
Alexandria in the seventh
During the French invasion in 1800 AD,
the three churches on
the site of the St. Mark Church were destroyed. The
were transferred to Rosetta with their precious items.
remained without a Coptic church for a while.
Then what is the history of the
St. Mark Church from 1800 AD
to the present time ?
a- In 1804 Pope Mark
VIII renewed the church.
b- In 1818 AD, Pope Peter Al Gawli 
Mark Church, replacing the church built by Pope Mark VIII.
its present site. Mu'allem Saleh Attalla, obtained a decree
Mohammad Ali the Great to build it. Pope Peter Al
consecrated it with Saint Anba Serapion, Bishop of Al Monofia
c- In 1869 AD, some church eminent members from Alexandria,
the cooperation of Anba Mark, Bishop of Al Beheira
during the time of Pope
Demitrius  began to build the St.
Mark Cathedral in Alexandria replacing
its previous small
building. It was completed in 1870 AD. but was demolished
1960 AD(8) and the tombs of the early fathers the
d- The church which was built in 1870 AD, became unsafe,
on January 19, 1950 a permit was granted to replace it. It was
during Pope Yusab's time. On September 25, 1950 they
put the new foundation
and by November 9, 1952 Pope Yusab
II consecrated it in a big
e- During the time of Pope Cyril VI, another altar was added
its upper floor towards the southern wing of the church and
consecrated in June 1963. In 1968 a touristic area was
leading to the tombs of the patriarchs under the
improvements were done by the direction of H.H
Pope Shenouda III.
The Church of St. Mark and St. Peter The last of the
Martyrs in Sidi Bishre
in Alexandria: is located at
Cultural Center Street that off Khaled Ibn
Al Waleed Street in
the Sidi Bishre, Al Montaza. The first service was
on July 12, 1971 AD.
Secondly- The Saint's Churches in Lower
3-St. Mark the Apostle, in the city of Rosetta: It belongs
the Diocese of Al Beheirah at the Army Street, Rosetta.
It has three
altars, the eastern is for St. George, the middle is
for St. Mark- and the
northern is for Archangel Michael. It
has an old wooden iconstasis with ivory
Some of the icons in the church were brought from the
St. Mark in Alexandria when it was destroyed during
the expedition of
Napoleon in 1800 AD. They are fixed to the
wall in such a way to prevent
anybody from stealing them.
There are two very old icons there, one is for
St. George and
the other is for the resurrection.
The church was
refurbished in 1673 AD. At the end of the
Eighteenth Century, during the rule
of Murad Bey, a decree was
issued to remove all the churches in Rosetta.[1785
church was renovated by Metropolitan Yoannis of Beheira and
in 1933 and 1956.
4- Church of St. Mark The Martyr At Zenara, near
Province of Menofia: Zenara is to the east of Tala
Shebeen Al Kom and Tanta. It was built in October 1965 at the
of Metropolitan Dioscoris Bishop of Monofia.
5- Church of St. Mark in
Talkha, province of Dakahlia.: It
was built in 1971 AD.
of St. Mark in Met Mohsen, near Met Ghamre,
province of Dakahlia. The
building was completed about
7- Church of St. Mark, in Al-Mansheya Al Gadida,
Shoubra El Khema in the province of Qaliobia. It is on the
leading to Bahteem. Its first service was on January 13,
Thirdly- The Churches of St. Mark in Cairo, and Giza:
Mark Cathedral in Azbakia, Cairo. St. Mark Church
Street, near Ramses Square,
Cairo. The project to build this
church began in 1795, Mu'allem Ibrahim
Al Gawahri obtained a
decree from the Sultan in Turkey . The land was
it was designed to have a church and a residence for
On Sunday, September 15, 1800 AD Pope Mark VIII
consecrated the church and it was named St. Mark Church
compensate for the loss of St. Mark Church which was
the French invasion in Alexandria. It became
the residence of the
This church continued to exist till Pope Cyril IV
replaced it with the St. Mark Church in its present site now.
began building it on 28 Barmoda 1575 i.e. May 5, 1859
D. It is still in
The church was completed at the time of Pope Demitrius II
and Pope Cyril V . Some improvements were
completed by Pope Yuannis XIX
 and Pope Cyril VI in
9- The New Cathedral of St. Mark at
the Monastery of
Anba Ruweis in Abbassiah: It is located on Ramses
near El Demerdash [Ein Shams University] Hospital. The
began during the time of Pope Cyril VI . The
celebration for the
foundation stone for this cathedral was
attended by the Late President Gamal Abd Al Nasser
Saturday July 24, 1965. In August 1967 breaking the grounds
Late on Monday June 24, 1968, the Relics of St. Mark
arrived to the
cathedral, in the company of the Egyptian Church
Delegation that received it
from the Vatican.
On Tuesday morning, July 25, 1968, there was an
celebration of inauguration of the Cathedral, which was attended
by President Gamal Abd Al Nasser, the Ethiopean Emperor and
dignitaries, headed by H. H. Mar Aghnatonius Jacob II,
Patriarch of Antioch
for the Syrian Orthodox and His grace
Anba Theophilus Metropolitan of Herrer
Church in Ethiopia, Cardinal De Val representing H. H.
On Wednesday June 26, 1968 the Liturgy was celebrated
the altar of the new Cathedral. At the end of the service Pope
carried the relics of St. Mark to its present location under
the main altar
in the eastern side of the cathedral.
H.H. Pope Shenouda III  who became
the first pope to
be ordained in the new cathedral on Sunday November
During his papacy a tower [Minaret], with its bells rooms,
offices were added. Under the cathedral there are two
churches, one is
on the northern side, called the Virgin and
Anba Ruweis, the other called
after Anba Pishoy towards the
south. In 1973 the floor was covered with
St. Athanasius Hall was opened in commemoration of the
since the departure of the Saint.
10- St. Mark Church in Heliopolis:
At 35 Cleopatra Street ,
Heliopolis, Cairo. It was completed in
11- St. Mark Church at the gardens of Shoubra, "
Shoubra in Ard Sheriff" It began as a temporary building
1953. The Friends of The Holy Bible Society, completed the
12- St. Mark Church in Maadi: Its first service was
December 29, 1970. in a temporary building. A presidential
1105 for the year 1973 was granted to build the
church. The decree was
published in the official journal for
Mark Church in Helwan: H.G. Bishop Yuannis of
Helwan celebrated the
beginning of the project on May 10,
1972. It has a hall under it called Cana
14- Church of St. Mark in Giza: It goes back to 1883,
Salama Bey Agami built it beside his house. He was the chief
the Province of Giza, a prestigious job at that time and
he has determined in
his heart to build this church.
THE CHURCHES OF THE SAINT IN UPPER
15- St. Mark Church in Beni Suef. It was built in 1952
during the Late Anba Athanasius the previous Metropolitan.
Mark Church in Maghagha, province of Minya. It
belongs to the Diocese of
Beni Suef and Bahnasa. The liturgy
service started in November 1972
17- St. Mark The Evangelist Church in Obbad
Near Maghagha, province of Minya, within the Diocese of
Suef and Bahnasa. It was established in 1929 AD.
18- St. Mark
Church in Beni Samet, Near Beni Mazar,
province of Minya, and belongs to
the Diocese of Beni Suef and
Bahnasa. It was established in 1927
19- St. Mark Church in Menshat Abu Aziz, Ezbat Hanzal
Faroukiya, in Beni Mazar. Also within the Diocese of
Beni Suef and Bahnasa..
It was established in 1945 AD.
20- St. Mark Church in Kom Matay. near
of Minya and also belongs to the Diocese of Beni Suef
21- St. Mark Church in Maasarat Samalout, Samalout
province of Minya. It was consecrated in 1947 AD.
22- St. Mark
Church, in Minya. It dates back to 1935 AD.
23- St. Mark Church in
Nazlet Beni Ahmad, near Minya. It
goes back to 1950 AD.
Mark Church in Malawi, province of Minya. Was
built by the late Father
Menassa Youhanna in 1927 AD.
25- The Old Small St. Mark Church in Beni
Bahria, near Manfalout, province of Assuit and it goes back
1835 AD. It belongs to the diocese of Manfalout.
26- The new Great St. Mark Church , near
province of Assuit. It goes back to 1909 AD.
Mark Church in the old Bishopric Building in
Assuit , was established in
28- St. Mark Church In Abu Teeg, province of Assuit.
belongs to the diocese of Abu Teeg and was established in
29- St. Mark The Apostle in Al Darb, Sugar Factory,
Nagh Hamadi, province of Kena. It is on the Western side of
It was established in 1932 AD.
30- St. Mark Church in Kena, Al
Hameeddat Street, Kena.
Was established before 1927 AD.
31- St. Mark
Church in Aswan. Belongs to the new diocese
of Aswan. It is near the High
Aswan Dam. It was
establishment in 1971 AD, as a temporary Altar for praying,
a presidential decree, # 1130 was issued and published in
official government documentary paper on July 17, 1973.
THE NAME OF ST. MARK:
There are three altars:
a- St. Mark
Altar in the Mualaqa Church in Cairo.
It is placed over one of the old
Roman towers. The Holy
Chrism used to be made in it. Its iconstasis goes back
b- An Altar in the Church of the Virgin in Dakados,
Met Ghamre. It is named after St. Mark and is located
the Northern side of the church. It is relatively recent.
Mark Altar at the church of the Virgin in the
bishopric of Luxor. It was
consecrated on February 25, 1934.
Churches Outside Egypt:
1- The Old St. Mark Church. It is in Om Dorman. It
located near the present church in the Bishopric in the district of
Mosalma, in Om Dorman. It was established in about 1910
AD at the time of
Bishop Sarabamon. Nowadays it is used as
site for the burial for the
2- St. Mark and St. George Church in Khartoum, in one
the elegant districts in the Sudanese capital on an extensive
land [2400 square meter] and was donated as a gift by
the Sudanese Government
during the rule of Ser Al Khetm,
Khalifa. The celebration for laying the
attended by the Sudanese ministers and the Chief Judge.
Coptic Society arranged for the collection of donations to finish
building. The late Anba Yuannis the Metropolitan of
Khartoum consecrated the
church on Saturday April 6, 1968.
The first Holy Liturgy was celebrated on
the following day,
Sunday the 7 Th.
St. Mark Church in Tripoli. Anba
Bakhomius, Bishop of Al
Beheirah visited Algeria, Libya in January and
and met with the Copts in Tripoli and Beni Ghazi.
this visit, H.H. Pope Shenouda sent Father Wisa Al Syriani
Tripoli to serve them spiritually. On Monday, March 27, 1972,
H. H. the
Pope visited the Libyan Republic and prayed in the
new church at Gomorra
Street, Zawyet Al Dahmani, Tripoli,.on
March 31, 1972, the last Friday of the
In Kuwait :-
St. Mark Church in Kuwait H.H. Pope Cyril
Fr. Angelos Al-Muharaki [later Metropolitan Maximus
Qalyobia] to be the first Priest to serve at St. Mark Church in
in 1961. Then Fr. Timothaus Al-Makary served for 9
years. [At present Bishop
The Arab Gulf Churches became under the supervision of
Late Archbishop Basilios, Metropolitan of Jerusalem and
the Near East.
Several churches in the area were founded later
in Basra, Iraq, also in
Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Duha and Oman.
The Virgin and
St. Mark Church in Beirut. It was
established by some of the Copts who
settled in Beirut. A
Monk from our church in Jerusalem used to visit them
to pray with them in the Church of Lady of Al Wardia, in Forn
Shebak. Bishop Basilius of Jerusalem, bought 1063 M2 land
presidential palace in an area called Sen El Pheel in
1966. On Sunday October
29, 1972 the first Eucharist was
celebrated by H.H. Pope Shenouda III, and was attended
In France :
1- St. Mark Church in Paris.
Since 1972, the Copts attended
the Holy Liturgy in a church they called St.
Mark. In 1973,
they had a permanent place that belonged to the
Council in the Sorbonne in the Place de Sorbonne, near
university. " Communaute cheretienne de sorbonne 8 Place de
Sorbonne, Paris 5e Metro; Luxembourg."
2- Monastery of St. Mark in Le
Revest Les- Eaux. It is the
seat of The Coptic Orthodox Church in France.
Shenouda ordained Anba Mark, Bishop of Marseilles and
all France on Sunday July 2, 1974, assisted by
'Khory Episkopos' Anba
Athanasius. This monastery has a
church named after the Mother of God, that
has a museum with
Coptic, Greek and Russian icons, chalices crosses and
some saints. Its address : Fontanieu - 83760 - Le Revest
1- St. Mark in Toronto. The first to
be ordained, was Father
Mark Elias on August 9, 1964.
2- St. Mark in
Montreal Father Raphael Yonan was also the
first priest to be ordained
for the church in March 1967. The
first service in the church was in June
In The United States of America
1- St. Mark Church
in Jersey City. The Copts in New Jersey
and New York bought an old
church, built in 1882 and changed
it to a Coptic Church. Father Raphael Yonan
served the first
Liturgy on March 22, 1970. On Tuesday August 1970 the
Father Ghobrial Ameen was ordained and on Sunday September
celebrated the first Eucharist. Its address is:
Coptic Orthodox Church of
Saint Mark, 427 West Side Ave,
Jersey City, N. J. 07304, USA.
Coptic Saint Mark The Apostle Church in The City
of Los Angeles. It was
on the feast of St. Mark, Friday May,8,
1970 that the Copts celebrated the
Eucharist at the Church of
Mar Afram , a Syrian Orthodox church. The first
Liturgy in St.
Mark Coptic Church was on the Pentecost day, Sunday
14, 1970. Many priests from Cairo and Alexandria served in
church till Father Antonious Lateef Henein was ordained.
St. Mark The Apostle Church in Sydney. It began as a
hall, which was opened by The Late Bishop Samuel, Bishop of
Ecumenical and Social Services, on Saturday, July 8,
1972. Later a permanent
church was established and many
priests from Egypt came to serve.
There are many churches in Ethiopia named after St. Mark.
main Church is in Addis Abbaba. There is also the
Monastery of St. Mark in Addis Abbaba, headed by Abba
In Ethiopia there is a city by the name of Debra Marcus,
means " Mount Mark".
ST. MARK CHURCHES IN OTHER
1-THE GREEK ORTHODOX "AL RUM"
There is a historic
church in "Haret al Rum" in Cairo. It
became the seat for the Melchite
Patriarchs after it was
transferred from Alexandria to Cairo. At one time
library, was brought from Alexandria to Cairo, to be
back to Alexandria again.
At the present time the church
functions as a nursing home for
the old Greek people. It is possible that
this is the church, Al-
Wakdy, referred to as, the Monastery of Mount
the Monastery of St. Mark.
They have another church in Port
Sudan, Sudan called St.
They have one church named after St., Mark in Ismailiah,
the Monofia and Dakahlia Streets.
3-THE ROMAN CATHOLIC :
have three churches by the name of St. Mark.
1- St. Mark Church, Shatby,
Alexandria. This is near St.
Mark School that replaced St. Katherine
2- St. Mark Church, Shoubra, Cairo at Al Be'atha Street.
belongs to the African Mission and was built in 1907.
3- St. Mark
Church within the Jesuit School in Minya.
They have two churches named after St. Mark:
1- One in
Alexandria, Midan Al Tahrir. It was established in
1839 AD and was completed
2- The other one is in Al Ibrahimia, Hermopolis
MONASTERIES NAMED AFTER ST. MARK:
three monasteries named after him, that do not exist
at this time:-
The monastery which was known as The Subterranean,
originally was the
site of the present St. Mark Church in
Alexandria. At one time it was in the
hands of the Melchites,
but it was returned back to the Copts.
Makarem  reported that the churches were
divided between the Copts and
the Melchites in 644 AD. The
Melchites took the Subterranean Monastery that
"body" of St. Mark. It is possible that it was called
where St. Mark was martyred.] (9)
This monastery was mentioned
also by Bernard The Wise, a
French Monk about 870 AD. He said that behind the
door was the Monastery of St. Mark. The monks lived in
church where his tomb was. (10)
Pierre Biloun de Manz, a French
tourist who visited Egypt in
1527, recorded : [There was a Coptic monastery
patriarchal building beside their church. This was the place
the body of St. Mark was placed before it was stolen by
the people from
In the Coptic Museum there is a cover for the Altar, on
it is written, that it belonged to the Monastery of The Great
Mark The Evangelist of "Morcussia", and was made in
mentioned about Pope Peter VI , that, "he went
to Alexandria, in 1722
AD, and kissed the head of St. Mark The
Apostle. When he returned, he learned
that some gang
members were after the " Head of St. Mark" so he hid it in
monastery at that time." (13)
In the book written by Tawfik Eskaros,
an eminent Copt of
the nineteenth century, this was reported in Part 1, on
showing the deeds of ownership of the monastery, and the
that it belonged to the Copts. including the building and
The latest renovation of the monastery was done in 1818
In the book, "Making the Chrism" it was mentioned about
Pope Peter Al Gawley,
. " The news about the repair of
the Monastery of St. Mark, reached him.
This monastery was
destroyed earlier by the French. Later Mohammed Ali
issued a decree to Mu'allem Saleh Attalla, a rich Copt, to
it with some assistance from the government."
2- THE MONASTERY OF ST. MARK, ALSO KNOWN
It belonged originally to the Copts, and was
mentioned by Al
Wakdy [823 AD] in his book, "Conquest of Al Sham
He said : "Al Mokawkas forced the Jacobite Monks to accept
Melchite from Syria, to manage the monastery."
3-THE MONASTERY OF ST.
MARK IN LUXOR:
This monastery was recently discovered by the
French Institute for Oriental Antiquities in Luxor. It is
4000m2 and consists of a church and small buildings, that goes
to the Fifth and Sixth Centuries. The excavations began in
1971 and they
recovered about two thousand historic items.
ALTARS NAMED ST.
Here we report only on the most important three altars, in
1-IN MAHALET DANIEL:
This was mentioned in
the History of the Patriarchs by Severus
Ibn Al Mokafaa. Abu Al Makarem [1208
AD] said ," Pope
Mina,  [956 - 974 AD] established an altar by the name
St. Mark in Mahalet Daniel, where the patriarchs lived and
Mahalet Daniel was a part of Tina, near Kafr Al Sheik. It
not exist anymore. It was used by the patriarchs as their
the rule of Al Khalifa Al Mo'ez, [972, 974].
During this period there were
many difficulties and hunger. The
Patriarch himself had to live in lower Egypt, where a
woman supported him and his staff.
2- IN THE MONASTERY OF ABBA
It was mentioned in reference to the making of the Chrism
the days of Pope Mark III in 1167 AD. It may be related also,
time when the head of the Saint was brought to the
Monastery of Abba Makar,
when the churches were raided in
1013 AD. Pope Zacharias  lived in this
This altar was renamed later as 'The Altar of John
Baptist', underneath it, the bodies of both Isaiah, the Prophet
John the Baptist were buried, after their church was
3- ST. MARK ALTAR AT THE CHURCH OF ST.
ANTHONY IN THE EASTERN
This altar was discovered by Professor Wattimoore in 1930.
wonderful portrait of St. Mark was found
1- History of The Syrian Church of Antioch,
Part I, pages
2- See Chapter 2, this book.
3- Rabettat Al Kuds
4- By Aref Pasha, 1951, p. 255.
5- See Synaxarium, 12
6-Butler, "The Arab Conquest" , translated by Farid Abu
pages 323 - 325.
7- Al Maqrizi, p. 44.
8- Kamel Saleh Nakhla: St. Mark pages, 111 & 112.
94 P. & V.
10- As # 6.
11- Watani News Paper, 26-6-1966. p. 5 : St.
Mark Church in
12- Guide for the Coptic Museum, 1931, p. 150 :
Hall 16, 17,
cabinet # 12.
13- History of Abu Shaker the Monk.
Meinardus: Monks and Monasteries, p. 77.
REFERENCES TO THIS BOOK
Holy Bible, The Two Testaments.
2- The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version,
3- Eusebius : Ecclesiastical History.
St. Jerome : Lives of Illustrious Men.
5- Le Synaxaire Arab - Jacobite,
Redaction Copte ed. Rene
Basset (Patrologia Orientalis).
Orientalis : History of the Patriarchs [ Severus
Ibn Al Mokafaa, Bishop of Al
Ashmouneen : History of
7- Scaff : The History of the
Christian Church, Michigan, 1955.
8- Les Saints d' Egypte, pat Paul d' Orlean
9- Ibn Al Sebaa ( Scholar, Youhanna Ben Zakaria)
Gawhara Al Nafissa fi Olum Al Kanisa, printed in 1618 M.
Kabar : Misbah Al Zolma fi Eidah Al Khedma.
11-Abu Al Makarem : (The Trusted
Sheik Saad Allah Guirgis
Ben Masood) 1208 AD, The printed part, under the
Abu Saleh The Armenian., 1895 AD.
12- Dr. Assad Rustom : Book of
The Church of the City of
God, Antioch the Great.
13- Mar Aghnatius Yacoub
: History of The Syrian Church of
14- Iris Habib Al Masri :
Coptic Church History.
15- Anba Isiziros : Al Kharida Al Nafissa fi Tarikh Al
16- Anba Isiziros : Hosn Al Selook fi Tarikh Al Patareka wa
Melook 1898 AD.
17- Butler : The Arab Conquest, translated by Farid Abu
18- Father Peter Farmaj the Jesuit : Moraweg Al Akhbar fi
Al Abrar (1880).
19- Habib Guirgis : St. Mark The Apostle, Established of
20- Dr. Hassan Soliman : Libya Between The Past And
21- Dr. Zaher Riad : Church of Alexandria in Africa,
22- Francis Al Eter & Selim Soliman : Concise of The
23- Francis Al Eter : Al Sakhra Magazine, 1951, Articles
24- Kamel Saleh Nakhla : History of St Mark The
25- History and Lists of The Coptic Patriarchs of
26- Series in History of the Patriarchs, Monastery of
27- Al Maqrizi : Al Kawl Al Eprizi Lil Alama Al
28- Maximus Mazloom : Kinz Al Ebad Al Rhameen fi Akhbar
Kidiseen, Beirut 1868.
29-Deacon Menasi Youhanna : History of The Coptic
30 Anba Yusab. Bishop of Fouwa : History of The Patriarchs.
31 -Josephus : History of The Jews.
33- La Rousse.
34- The Oxford Dictionary of the
Christian Church by Cross,
35- Iconographic de l' art Chretien, par Louis
Universitaires de France, Tome III.
36- Mohamad Ramzy : Geographical
Dictionary of Egypt.
37- Coptic Museum Guide.
38- Katomaros Al Kanisa Al Keptia.
39- The Holy Liturgy.
The Holy Annual Psaltis
41- Cross & Palm Processions.
42- Holy Books
43 Watus & Adam Psaltis
44- Ordination for the Bishops,
Metropolitans and Patriarchs.
45- Consecration of the Patriarchs.
OF INTERPRETATION AND STUDY OF THE
Dictionary of he Bible, 1906.
47- Dr. Botros et al, Dictionary of the Holy
48- George Post : Dictionary of the Holy Bible.
49- An Introduction
to the New Testament by E. Goodspeed,
50- An Introduction
to the New Testament by Baumen,
The Riddle of the New
Testament by Sir Edward Hoskyns,
52- The Birth of the New
Testament by C. F. Moule, London,
53- A Guide to the Gospels by
Seroggie, London, 1948.
54- The Gospel according to Mark by Campel
55- The Gospel of Mark by Erdman.
56- Etefak Al Bashireen.(Beirut 1876)
57- Ibn Al Salibi ( Mar
Dionesius Yacoub ) 1149 AD. " Al Dor
Al Farid fi Tafseer Al Aad Al
58- Tafseer Al Mishriki.
In This Book
the Name of the
Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit, One
Pope Shenouda III
- BACK TO MAIN MENU
- SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST
- CHAPTER ONE: THE UPRAISING OF SAINT MARK
- ST. MARK'S HOME THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH
- ONE OF THE SEVENTY APOSTLES
- THE BEGINNING OF THE PREACHING OF SAINT MARK
- CHAPTER TWO:MARK THE EVANGELIST A UNIVERSAL PREACHER
- 1- A UNIVERSAL PREACHER.
- 2-HIS PREACHING IN ASIA AND EUROPE
- CHAPTER THREE: ST. MARK AND ST. PETER
- ST. MARK AND THE INJUSTICE:
- CHAPTER FOUR: ST. MARK AND ST. PAUL
- ST. MARK AND THE CHURCH OF ROME
- CHAPTER FIVE: ST. MARK & THE FIVE WESTERN CITIES
- THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THESE CITIES:
- NAMES OF THE CITIES:
- THEIR NAMES IN COPTIC:
- THE CITIES AT THE TIME OF ST. MARK:
- ST. MARK'S PREACHING:
- THE RETURN OF ST. MARK TO THE WESTERN CITIES:
- THESE CITIES BELONGED TO ALEXANDRIA:
- CHAPTER SIX: ST. MARK AND THE CHURCH OF ALEXANDRIA
- 1-THE GREATNESS OF ALEXANDRIA THEN:
- 2-ITS RELIGIOUS STATUS:
- 3- WHEN DID HE ARRIVE TO ALEXANDRIA ? :
- 4- ON THE WAY TO ALEXANDRIA:
- 5- THE PREACHING OF ANIANUS THE COBBLER:
- 6- SPREAD OF THE FAITH IN EGYPT:
- 7-ALEXANDRIA AFTER ST. MARK:
- 8- OTHER WORKS OF ST. MARK:
- 9- ANIANUS WAS ORDAINED A BISHOP
- 10-THE RETURN OF ST. MARK TO ALEXANDRIA:
- CHAPTER SEVEN: THE MARTYRDOM OF THE SAINT
- THE PAGANS HATING ST. MARK:
- HE WAS ARRESTED AND TORTURED
- A VISION AND COMFORT IN THE JAIL:
- THE MARTYRDOM OF THE SAINT AND HIS BURIAL:
- CHAPTER EIGHT: THE MIRACLES OF SAINT MARK
- 1- THE DEATH OF THE LION AND LIONESS:
- 2- HEALING THE FINGER OF ANIANUS:
- 3- HIS MIRACLES IN THE FIVE WESTERN CITIES:
- 4- HIS VISION IN THE JAIL:
- 5- THE FIRE WAS DISTINGUISHED
- 6-THE MIRACLE TOLD BY THE PEOPLE OF VENICE:
- 7- SAVING VENICE:
- CHAPTER NINE: "ST. MARKS HEAD AND BODY"
- 1- BOTH THE HEAD AND THE BODY TOGETHER:
- 2- THE HEAD WAS STOLEN AND RETURNED:
- 3- THE SEPARATION OF THE HEAD FROM THE BODY:
- 4- THE STOLEN BODY:
- 5- THE BODY IN THE CHURCH IN VENICE:
- 6-HONORING THE HEAD BY THE PATRIARCHS:
- 7- TRANSFERRING THE HEAD:
- ITS LAST DESTINATION:
- CHAPTER TEN: MARK THE APOSTLE AND CHURCH'S LITURGY
- 1- THE PRAYER FOR BLESSING:
- 2-THE MINISTERS' ABSOLUTION:
- 3- OTHER PRAYERS IN THE LITURGY:
- 4-IN THE AGPIAH BOOK: (Book of Prayers)
- 5- IN THE DOXOLOGY:
- 6- SONGS AND PRAISES: "PSALTIS"
- 7-THE KATOMAROS :
- 8-DURING THE PROCESSIONS OF THE FEASTS OF THE CROSS & PALM SUNDAY
- 9-IN THE SYNAXARION:
- 10- IN THE ORDINATION OF THE PATRIARCHS:
- A HYMN OF ST. MARK
- CHAPTER ELEVEN: LITURGY OF ST. MARK
- CHAPTER TWELVE: ST. MARK, HIS EFFECT ON THE ARTS
- CHAPTER THIRTEEN: THE SEAT OF ST. MARK
- 1-THE FAME OF THE SEAT OF ALEXANDRIA
- 2- THE POPES AND BISHOPS OF THE SEAT OF SAINT MARK:
- 3- THE DURATION OF OCCUPYING THE SEAT:
- 4- VACANCY OF THE SEAT:
- 5- THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ST. MARK'S SEAT AND MONASTICISM:
- CHAPTER FOURTEEN: ST. MARK AND THE THEOLOGICAL
- THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE FAMOUS SCHOOL :
- THE RELATION BETWEEN THE SCHOOL AND THE SEAT OF ST. MARK:
- THE SCHOOL AND OTHER SEATS:
- SOME OF ITS DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS AND PHILOSOPHERS
- THE SCHOOL'S CREDIT AND IMPORTANCE :
- CHAPTER FIFETEEN: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK
- THE FIRST GOSPEL:
- PRECISION AND DETAILS:
- ST. MARK WROTE FOR THE GENTILES, "THE ROMANS":
- INTRODUCING LORD CHRIST TO THE ROMANS "GENTILES":
- 1-FAST REVIEW:
- 2- CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD:
- 3- HIS AUTHORITY ON DEVILS:
- 4- HIS AUTHORITY ON SICKNESS:
- 5- HIS AUTHORITY ON NATURE AND DEATH:
- 6- OTHER AUTHORITIES:
- 7- THE PEOPLE FOLLOWING HIM:
- 8- CHRIST THE TEACHER:
- 9- CHRIST THE KING:
- 10 THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE TRUTH AND THE FAKE:
- 11- THE CROSS AND REDEMPTION:
- 12- A WORD TO ENCOURAGE THE GENTILES "ROMANS":
- THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MARK BELONGS TO ST. MARK
- CHAPTER SIXTEEN: THE NAME OF ST. MARK
- POPES NAMED AFTER ST. MARK:
- BISHOPS NAMED AFTER ST. MARK:
- SAINTS NAMED AFTER ST. MARK:
- CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: CHURCHES AND ANTIQUITIES CARRYING THE NAME OF "MARK"
- A- Beth ST. Mark
- B-Churches and monasteries not in existence now