Friday, April 24, 2009
St. Mark, Evangelist
(mosaic at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice)
The Evangelist was not one of the Apostles but is a disciple of theirs and most closely associated with St. Peter. The reason given that the lion is the animal chosen from Ezekiel to depict St. Mark is that he begins his Gospel by showing John the Baptist as the "voice of one crying in the wilderness."
St. Mark is tied by some traditions to Alexandria and he may have been the first bishop and pope there. The founding of the church in Alexandria is the founding of Christianity in Africa. Coptic Christians especially recognize St. Mark for his role in Christianity there. April 25 is the anniversary of his martyrdom.
Mark succinctly introduces his Gospel with these words,
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."
(initium evangelii Iesu Christi Filii Dei.)