The Catholic Defender: St. Mark, friend of St. Peter


St. Mark the Evangelist is recognized as a friend of St. Peter and one of the four Evangelist Gospel writers, he was born of Jewish parents (Aristopolos his father and Mary his mother, migrated to Palestine shortly after the birth of St. Mark) about 13 A.D.. By 33 A.D St. Mark would have been about 20 years old. His family originally from Libya, just west of Egypt, found a place in Cana Palestine about the time of Jesus public Ministry. Acts 12:11-12 gives the story of St. Peter coming to the house of Mary, the Mother of John (Mark's surname) as they were praying. We see the family of St. Mark present during the time of the Apostles.

St. Peter was married to a relative of St. Mark's father (Aristopolos) and with Mark's father's death, St. Peter took Mark into his own household. St. Mark became a believer and was baptized by St. Peter who referred to Mark as his son (1 Peter 5:13). St. Mark was given a good education through St. Peter, Mark's Mother, Mary would be an ardent follower of Jesus Christ and supported Jesus in his travels. St. Mark was one of the attendants serving the marriage event at Cana where Jesus performed his first public miracle changing the water into wine (John 2:1-11).

In the ancient world, traditionally, the Apostles used the language of the time, cousins were close relatives and considered brothers and sisters. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus has four brothers (James, Joses, Jude, and Simon) who were actually cousins (Mark 6:4). Interestingly, three of these brothers are identified by St. John as the son's of Alphaeus. Here is an interesting back ground on Jesus close relatives:

"According to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, Ss. Joachim and Anna had two children, the Blessed Virgin Mary and her older sister, whom Emmerich calls Maria of Heli. She tells us that Heli was another name for Joachim.

The husband of Maria of Heli was Cleophas, the nephew of Saint Joseph. And the person called Mary of Cleophas was the daughter of Cleophas and Maria Heli.

So at the foot of the Cross were:

1. Blessed Virgin Mary,

2. Maria of Heli, who is the older sister of the Virgin Mary and the wife of Cleophas

3. Mary of Cleophas, who is the niece of the Virgin Mary, and the daughter of Maria of Heli and Cleophas.

4. Mary Magdalene,

Mary of Cleophas married Alphaeus, and their children included three Apostles: Jude Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and James the Less. Joses is not included by St. John here because he was not an Apostle. This information was certainly know by St. Mark, this is why tradition is important when understanding Biblical text.

Matthew the Apostle and Gospel writer was the son of Alphaeus and his first wife (name not known).

According to Emmerich, Cleophas was one of Joachim’s chief shepherds. After marrying Maria Heli, they had a daughter, Mary of Cleophas. Although Mary of Cleophas was the niece of Mary, she was nevertheless a few years older than her, because she was the first child of Maria of Heli, who was about 19 years older than Mary. They also had a son, Eliacim, who had been a disciple of John the Baptist.

According to Emmerich, the two disciples that Luke describes as meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus, were Luke and a different Cleophas. This explains why Luke has so many details about that incident, that the other Gospel writers lack; he was there.

As for this other Cleophas, Emmerich identifies him as “a grandson of Mary Cleophas’ paternal uncle” (Life of Jesus Christ, p. 378). So that would make him the grandson of the brother of the Cleophas who married the sister of the Virgin Mary.

This information is recounted in the books, The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelation, all written based on the visions given to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich by God."

The bible often refers to the followers of Jesus as brothers. Mark's Gospel was recognized through the authority of St. Peter.

Tradition tells us that the Holy Grail was taken to Rome initially with St. Peter. According to tradition, the Cenacle (Acts 1:13) , the room where the Last Supper took place , and the Holy Cup were the property of the family of St. Mark the Evangelist.

Mark served as interpreter for St. Peter in Rome and because of his unique relationship with Peter, Mark gave him the Holy Grail. So Marty Python got it way wrong and rest assured there is no killer rabbit!

Acts 12:25 and Acts 15:37 addresses St. Mark traveling with St. Paul and Barnabas.

St. Mark was possibly a family member, a cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10, Phlm 1:24) and together with St. Paul traveled on many missionary journeys promoting the young Catholic Faith. 2 Timothy 4:11 and Colossians 4:10 St. Paul writes how valuable St. Mark was to him during his imprisonments. Much like Onesiphorus was great help while St. Paul was in Rome (2 Timothy 1:16-19). Mark's Gospel was the first to be written which was a great source for Matthew and Luke.

Probably because of St. Mark's original upbringing, he would be the founder of the Church in Egypt and Alexandria about 50 A.D. just after the Council of Jerusalem (49 A.D.) St. Peter would be setting up the Church in Babylon (modern day Iraq) before going to Rome. St. Peter installed St. Mark as the first Bishop of Alexandria.

It was sometime between 68 - 74 A.D. when St. Mark would receive Martyrdom by the Pagans of Serapis who followed the false gods of Serepion Abbis Greek Egyptian who tied a rope to his neck attaching him to a horse's tail which dragged him through Alexandria's district Bokalia for nearly two whole days until he was torn to pieces.

Mark's symbol as a Gospel Writer is a lion with wings. Mark 1:3 begins the story of St. John the Baptist "a voice crying in the wilderness, like the roaring lion." Jesus is the "Lion of Judah" the focus of St. Mark's preaching.

St. Eusebius writes that Mark was succeeded by Annianus as the second bishop of Alexandria.

The Universal Catholic Church recognizes St. Mark's feast day on April 25.

Saint Mark the Evangelist is the patron saint of notaries and lawyers. Mark was the disciple of Saint Peter the Apostle and went on a Christian mission with Saint Paul and his cousin Saint Barnabas. He is the author of Mark’s Gospel, which is one of the four gospels in the New Testament.

O Glorious St. Mark through the grace of God, our Father, you became a great Evangelist, preaching the Good News of Christ. May you help us to know Him well so that we may faithfully live our lives as followers of Christ. Amen.

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