Mark the evangelist.

Interpreter of Peter.


Attributed text(s).
Gospel of Mark 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16.

Related text(s).
Four gospels.

Useful links.
Mark in the Online Encyclopedia.
Mark in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

John Mark appears several times in the Acts of the Apostles, in association both with Peter (Acts 12.12) and with Paul (Acts 12.25; 13.5-13; 15.36-39). He also appears in Colossians 4.10 as the cousin of Barnabas, in 2 Timothy 4.11 as a companion of Paul, in Philemon [1.]24 likewise, and in 1 Peter 5.13 as a companion of Peter.

Papias claims on the authority of (John) the elder that Mark wrote the gospel from what he remembered of the teaching of Peter (Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.15).

Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 7.30.1:

Επειδαν ουν Μαρκιων η των εκεινου κυνων τις υλακτη κατα του δημιουγου, τους εκ της αντιπαραθεσεως αγαθου και κακου προφερων λογους, δει αυτοις λεγειν οτι ουτε Παυλος ο αποστολος ουτε Μαρκος ο κολοβοδακτυλος ανηγγειλαν, τουτων γαρ ουδεν εν τω {κατα} Μαρκον ευαγγελιω γεγραπται, αλλα Εμπεδοκλης Μετωνος Ακραγαντινος, ον συλαγωγων μεχρι νυν λανθανειν υπελαμβανε την διαταγην πασης της κατ αυτον αιρεσεως απο της Σικελιας εις τους ευαγγελικους λογους μεταφερων αυταις λεξεσι.

When, therefore, Marcion or any one of his dogs barks against the demiurge, bearing forth reasons from a comparison of good and bad, we must say to them that neither the apostle Paul nor stubby-fingered Mark announced these things. For none of these is written in the gospel {according} to Mark. But rather it is Empedocles [son] of Meto, of Agrigentum, whom [Marcion] captured and imagined that even until now his reappropriation, [still] bearing the same words, of the entire heresy according to him from Sicily into the evangelical volumes would escape notice.

Eusebius, History of the Church 2.16.1-2:

Τουτον δε πρωτον φασιν επι της Αιγυπτου στειλαμενον, το ευαγγελιον ο δη και συνεγραψατο κηρυξαι, εκκλησιας τε πρωτον επ αυτης Αλεξανδρειας συστησασθαι.

And they say that this man [Mark] was the first one sent unto Egypt, that he preached the gospel which he had also written down, and was the first to establish churches in Alexandria itself.

Τοσαυτη δ αρα των αυτοθι πεπιστευκοτων πληθυς ανδρων τε και γυναικων εκ πρωτης επιβολης συνεστη δι ασκησεως φιλοσοφωτατης τε και σφοδροτατης ως και γραφης αυτων αξιωσαι τας διατριβας και τας συνηλυσεις τα τε συμποσια και πασαν την αλλην του βιου αγωγην τον Φιλωνα.

And so great was the multitude of those who had believed, both men and women, that had been together there from the first by the most philosophical and excessive asceticism that Philo deemed it worthwhile to write of their pursuits, their meetings, their symposia, and their whole other manner of life.*

* Eusebius is referring to περι βιου θεωρητικου η ικετων by Philo (also known as de vita contemplativa, On the Contemplative Life), in which the Alexandrian Jew describes the monklike therapeutae, whom Eusebius evidently takes to be Marcan Christians.

Eusebius, History of the Church 2.24[.1]:

Νερωνος δε ογδοον αγοντος της βασιλειας ετος, πρωτος μετα Μαρκον τον ευαγγελιστην της εν Αλεξανδρεια παροικιας Αννιανος την λειτουργιαν διαδεχεται.

And, while Nero was passing the eighth year of his kingship, Annianus succeeded to the liturgy of the parish in Alexander, first after Mark the evangelist.*

Eusebius also places Mark in Alexandria in Theophany 4.6; I understand that the Roman martyrology for April 25 does so, as well, and the Latin prologues certainly do so.

Apostolic Constitutions 7.46.5:

Της δε Αλεξανδρεων Αννιανος πρωτος υπο Μαρκου του ευαγγελιστου κεχειροτονηται, δευτερος δε Αβιλιος υπο Λουκα και αυτου ευαγγελιστου.

In the [city] of the Alexandrians Annianus was handpicked [as bishop] first by Mark the evangelist, and Avilius second by Luke, who was himself an evangelist.

Jerome, On Famous Men 8:

Marcus, discipulus et interpres Petri iuxta quod Petrum referentum audierat, rogatus Romae a fratribus breve scripsit evangelium, quod cum Petrus audisset probavit et ecclesiis legendum sua auctoritate edidit, sicut scribit Clemens in sexto υποτυποσεων libro et Papias Hierapolitanus episcopus. meminit huius Marci et Petrus in prima epistula, sub nomine Babylonis figuraliter Romam significans: Salutat vos quae est in Babylone coelecta et Marcus filius meus. assumpto itaque evangelio quod ipse confecerat, perrexit Aegyptum et primus Alexandriae Christum annucians constituit ecclesiam tanta doctrina et vitae continentia ut omnes sectatores Christi ad exemplum sui cogeret. denique Philon, disertissimus Iudaeorum, videns Alexandriae primam ecclesiam adhuc Iudaizantem, quasi in laudem gentis suae librum super eorum conversatione scripsit, et quomodo Lucas narrat Hierosolymae credentes omnia habuisse communia sic ille quod Alexandriae sub Marco fieri doctore cernebat memoriae tradidit. mortuus est autem octavo Neronis anno et sepultus Alexandriae, succedente sibi Anniano.

Mark, disciple and interpreter of Peter according to what he heard Peter referring to, when requested by the brethren in Rome briefly wrote a gospel, which, when Peter heard, he approved and published on his authority reading by the churches, just as Clement wrote in the sixth book of the Outlines, as well as Papias the Hierapolitan bishop. Peter also mentioned this Mark in the first epistle, under the name of Babylon signifying Rome figuratively: She who is in Babylon, elected together with you, salutes you, as well as Mark my son.1 And so, the gospel which he himself put together having been taken up, he went forth to Egypt and, first announcing Christ in Alexandria, he constituted a church with such teaching and continence of life that it compels all followers of Christ to its example. Furthermore Philo, most brilliant of the Jews, seeing the first church of Alexandria while still Jewish, as if in praise of his own people wrote a book about their conversation, and, in the same way as Luke narrates that the believers of Jerusalem held all things in common, he thus delivered a remembrance of what he discerned done in Alexandria under the teacher Mark. But Mark died in the eighth year of Nero2 and was buried in Alexandria, Annianus succeeding him.

1 Refer to 1 Peter 5.13.
2 Nero was emperor in 54-68.

Epiphanius, Panarion 51.6.10-12:

Ευθυς δε μετα τον Ματθαιον ακολουθος γενομενος ο Μαρκος τω αγιω Πετρω εν Ρωμη επιτρεπεται το ευαγγελιον εκθεσθαι και γραψας αποστελλεται υπο του αγιου Πετρου εις την των Αιγυπτιων χωραν. ουτος δε εις ετυγχανεν εκ των εβδομηκοντα δυο των διασκορπισθεντων επι τω ρηματι ω ειπεν ο κυριος· Εαν μη τις φαγη μου την σαρκα και πιη μου το αιμα, ουκ εστι μου αξιος, ως τοις τα ευαγγελια αναγνουσι σαφης {ειη}· η παραστασις ομως δια Πετρου επανακαμψας ευαγγελιζεσθαι καταξιουται, πνευματι αγιω εμπεφορημενος. αρχεται δε κηρυττειν οθεν το πνευμα αυτω παρεκελευσατο, την αρχην ταττων απο πεντεκαιδεκατου ετους Τιβεριου Καισαρος, μετα ετη τριακοντα της του Ματθαιου πραγματειας.

Immediately after Matthew, Mark, who was a follower of the holy Peter in Rome, was entrusted to set forth the gospel and, after he wrote, he was sent forth by the holy Peter to the area of Egypt. He happened to be one of the seventy-two who were scattered abroad upon the word that the Lord said: Unless someone eats my flesh and drinks my blood, he is not worthy of me, as the proof would be clear to those who read the gospel; likewise, after he returned back, he was deemed worthy by Peter to evangelize, being filled with the holy spirit. He began to preach from what the holy spirit encouraged, laying down the beginning from the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, after thirty years of the careful study of Matthew.