Today, Christians celebrate the legacy of St. Mark the
Evangelist.  Mark is mostly
remembered as the traditional author of the Gospel of Mark, the earliest gospel
in the New Testament–a breathless story of Jesus as a teller of
tales and a miracle-working healer who is crucified by the Romans, and whose
identity as “the Son of Man” is a secret to all except those who have some
spiritual understanding of his acts. 
Mark witnesses to the so-called “messianic secret,” the hidden purpose of God’s
son who suffers for the sake of the world.

 But most Christians don’t realize that Mark’s story does not
end with the writing of his gospel. 
Indeed, Mark may well have traveled as a missionary with both St. Paul
and St. Peter at different times after the death of Jesus.  Eventually, he went to Egypt where he
is credited with establishing the Church of Alexandria, one of the most
influential of the ancient Christian churches (today known as the Coptic
Orthodox Church).  As such, Mark
became the first bishop of Africa and one of the founders of African

Of Mark’s many accomplishments, ancient tradition claims that
he started the Catechetical School of Alexandria, a “wisdom academy” that
instructed students in a way of life based in Christian philosophy, sacred
texts, prayer, and spiritual practices. 
The Catechetical School was the first Christian university where early
followers of Jesus explored the connections between their belief in the
suffering God with Alexandria’s cosmopolitan intellectual culture and religious

pluralism.  As such, these early
believers were marked by their faithfulness and their love of learning.  Eventually, the school would develop an
approach to the Bible called “allegorical reading” that taught Christians to go
beyond a literal understanding of scripture to explore the deeper “spiritual”
meanings of holy texts. 

In many ways, Mark is an appealing figure for contemporary
Christians–his story of Jesus is quick and to the point, a mystery that lets
its readers in on a divine secret; he was a person who understood the power of
faith and questions, of belief and intellectual endeavor; and he established a
vibrant Christian community in a pluralistic city.  More than leaving us a book, he left us a way of wisdom to
be emulated in the modern world. 

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Thank you for visiting Christianity For the Rest of Us. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: The Supernatural Life Prayer Plain and Simple Happy Reading!!!

A poem to begin your Lenten observance from one of my favorite Anglican poets.  May you hunger and thirst this season for a closer connection with God and a deeper love of neighbor.   “Lent” by Christina Rossetti (c. 1886) It is good to be last not first,    Pending the present distress; It is […]

As the stand off between workers and Governor Scott Walker continues in Wisconsin, religious leaders have weighed in on the dispute.  Roman Catholic bishops came out on the side of the unions, urging the governor to protect worker’s rights.  Many mainline pastors, including Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, and American Baptists have written letters, issued statements, […]

Glenn Beck met with Billy Graham on February 19.   Beck is a Mormon, and a self-made leader in the re-emergent Religious Right and Tea Party movements, and Graham is a Baptist evangelist, long-time esteemed leader of American evangelicalism.  An unlikely pair.  Yet, in the last Gallup poll for “most admired man” Beck and Graham tied […]

Close Ad