A Garner of Saints – Saint Mark

oil on canvas painting of Saint Mark the Evangelist; by Godfried Maes between 1664 and 1700; currently Kerk O.L.Vrouw van Goede Hoop, Vilvoorde, Belgium; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

(Latin: Marcus; Italian Marco): Was sent by Saint Peter to preach in Alexandria of which he was ordained bishop, in spite of his desire to be no more than a deacon. On arriving at. Alexandria, his shoes gave out, by which he recognised that he had reached the end of his journey. He gave them to a cobbler to repair, but while sewing them the cobbler pierced his hand and cried, “One God alone,” whereupon Mark healed him and he was converted with all his house, becoming bishop of Alexandria subsequently. Mark’s preaching attracted great multitudes, but the priests of the idols plotted against him, and at length succeeded in taking him. Putting a rope round his neck, they dragged him to prison, where he was visited by an angel. The following day he was again dragged hither and thither, and expired under the treatment. When the pagans proposed to burn the body there came a great storm of hail accompanied by thunder, so that they all fled leaving the body. Then the Christians came and buried Mark in the church. In the year 468 the Venetians transported the body to their own city. Two Venetian merchants obtained by their gifts the permission to take the body from the priests who guarded it. On being taken from the tomb it emitted such a fragrant odour that all who were present marvelled. To protect it from the Saracens, the body was encased in pig skin, and then taken to the ship. After they had embarked, the mariners were informed that the ship carried the body of Saint Mark, but the passengers of one of the ships mocked saying it was the body of an Egyptian and not of the saint. Upon this a ship rushed into theirs and continued to batter it, until they had acknowledged their error. One night, in the midst of a fearful tempest, when all hope of safety had been abandoned, the saint appeared to the monk who was in charge of the body, and directed him to order the sailors to reef the sails as they were near land. The next day they came in sight of a town and were joyfully greeted by the inhabitants, who congratulated them upon the possession of such a treasure. On arriving at Venice the body was received with great pomp, but in orderthat it might not be stolen, it was shut up in a marble pillar. Now it happened that those who were in possession of this secret died, and no one knew where to find the body. Accordingly a solemn fast and procession were ordained, upon which the stones of the column fell down in the sight of the people, disclosing the body. The glorious church of Saint Mark was built to receive the remains of the saint. The servant of a noble lord of Provence desiring to visit the tomb of Saint Mark and unable to obtain his master’s permission, went without the latter’s knowledge. On his return the master ordered his eyes to be put out; but when they endeavoured to dig the sharp points into the pupils, they were unable to do so, as the points turned back every time. At length the master determined to cut off his legs, but instantly the iron implements turned to lead. Then the lord asked pardon of God and of his servant, and accompanied by the latter he went to visit the body of Saint Mark. On 25th February 1340 the waters at Venice rose continually for three days, and in the night there was a fearful tempest, so that the waters rose three cubits higher than had ever been known before. Now there was an old fisherman who had moored his boat and was awaiting the end of the storm. And a man came and asked him to row to San Giorgio Maggiore. The fisherman at first refused but was at length prevailed upon to go. The man landed and shortly afterwards returned with a youth asking to be taken to San Niccolo di Lido. The fisherman again refused, but was finally induced to go, and the waters appeared to be smooth as they went. Arrived at San Niccolo, both passengers landed, and returned again with a third. This time they asked to be taken beyond the two castles. Arrived at the open sea they saw a galley full of demons approaching with terrific speed, for the purpose of utterly destroying Venice. Suddenly the sea became calm, and the three men, having exorcised the demons, the galley vanished. Then the three men commanded the fisherman to land them, the one at San Niccolo, one at San Giorgio, and the third at San Marco. And when he had landed the last he asked for payment. Upon this Saint Mark revealed the identity of himself and his two companions, Saint George and Saint Nicholas, adding that but for them Venice would have perished. He ordered the man to go to the doge and procurator and ask them to pay him, telling them that the tempest arose by reason of a schoolmaster of S. Felice, who sold himself to the devil and afterwards hanged himself. The fisherman objected that he would not be believed, whereupon Mark removed a ring which he wore on his finger and handed it to him, saying, Show it to them, and tell them that if they look in the sanctuary they will not’find it. The fisherman did as he had been directed, and it happened as the saint had said. Perpetual provision was accordingly made for him until the end of his days. 25th April.

Attribute

  • The lion.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Mark”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 April 2017. Web. 19 September 2017. <>