Mark the Evangelist was St. Peter's protégé. He apparently had several
aliases which has sometimes
confused Bible readers.
Many bible historians also identify him as three people mentioned in the
Acts of the Apostles, - John Mark (which the Greek Orthodox church
still calls him), John,
and Mark. Some scholars speculate that he was the young man who ran
away naked when Christ was arrested in Gethsemane which could make him the
first streaker in history. Some other early scholars claim that Mark
was originally a Jewish priest and subsequently cut off his thumb to make
himself unfit for the priesthood
after he decided to follow Christ and there are references in third century
writings to his stumpy fingers.
traveled extensively with both St. Peter and St. Paul but didn't get along
too well with Paul and a breach between the two soon developed. When Paul refused to take Mark on his second missionary trip, Mark went to Cyprus
with his cousin St. Barnabas to teach the Gospel. Mark's authorship on
The Gospel According to St. Mark was basically from the
viewpoint of St. Peter for whom he acted as an interpreter when Peter went
to Rome. In fact, Peter refers to Mark as "his son"
Peter appointed Mark as Bishop of Alexandria and Mark spent his
last twelve years preaching in Northern Africa. When Mark finally returned
to Alexandria, he was accused of witchcraft, bound. and dragged through the
streets for several hours on a rope tied to an ox. The following day he was
put through the same torture and died and was buried in Alexandria.
Mark's relics were allegedly stolen by two sailors in 828 and taken to
Venice The local religious and
civic authorities quickly elected St. Mark as Venice's patron saint, and the
apostle's traditional symbol--a winged lion--became the logo of the Venetian
Republic. The Byzantine Basilica of St. Mark was built t to house the relics. There is a mosaic
on this Venetian basilica showing how the sailors covered the body relics
with a layer of pork. Since Muslims are not allowed to touch pork, Mark's
porkification was done to prevent Muslim intervention in the relics removal.
Mark's feastday is a major holiday in Venice and in other parts of Italy,
especially Sicily where the day is celebrated with biscotti di San Marco,
delicate cookies flavored with Marsala wine, honey, and anise .There are
several great films
that take place in Venice on or near the
Piazza San Marco
that may enhance your enjoyment of these biscotti. such as A Death
in Venice (1871), Don't Look Now (1974), Summertime (1956),
The Comfort of Strangers (1991).