Much of what we know about St. Mark, the author of the Second Gospel, comes largely from the New Testament and early Christian traditions. Mark the Evangelist is believed to be the ‘John Mark’ referred to in the Acts of the Apostles.
He was the son of Mary of Jerusalem, whose home became a meeting place for the apostles. He is also the cousin of St. Barnabas, a Levite and a Cypriot.
Mark joined St. Paul and St. Barnabas on their first missionary journey to Antioch in 44 A.D. When the group reached Cyprus, Christian tradition holds that Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem, possibly because he was missing his home. This incident may have caused Paul to question whether Mark could be a reliable missionary.
However, it can be assumed the troubles between Paul and Mark did not last long, because when Paul was first imprisoned, Mark visited him as one of his trusted companions.
Mark also held a close relationship with St. Peter, who referred to Mark has ‘his son.’
Mark may not have personally heard the Lord speak and was not one of the twelve apostles. However, some believe Mark was likely speaking of himself when he wrote the description of Jesus’ arrest where he described a young man following Jesus.
St. Mark lived for years in Alexandria, where he died as a martyr from being dragged through the streets.
Mark’s Gospel was probably written between 60 and 70 A.D., and was based upon the teachings of St. Peter. It is believed Mark provided both Luke and Matthew with basic sources for their Gospel’s.
In 828, relics of St. Mark were stolen from Alexandria and taken to Venice, Italy. There they are enshrined in a beautiful cathedral dedicated to the saint.
St. Mark’s symbol is a winged lion and he is often depicted as writing or holding his Gospel.
St. Mark is the patron saint of Venice. His feast day is celebrated on April 25.
To learn more about St. Mark: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=305