Saint Mark the Ascetic

Also known as

  • Mark the Wrestler
  • Mark the Hermit



Fifth century monk. May have been a disciple of Saint John Chrysostom, and friend of Saint Nilus the Ascetic, but it’s questionable. Wrote over 200 texts on spiritual law, baptism, repentance, grace and holy works, and other topics. May have been the abbot at Ancyra, but later became a desert hermit. Opposed the Messalian heresy; it taught that each person has a personal demon that even baptism cannot conquer. Mark wrote against the Nestorians. Said to have known the Scriptures by heart. Legend says he once cured a hyena that had been born blind; not sure why.


Additional Information


At the times when you remember God, increase your prayers, so that when you forget Him, the Lord may remind you. – Saint Mark

Every good work which we perform through our own natural power causes us to refrain from the corresponding sin; but without grace it cannot contribute to our sanctification. – Saint Mark

Grace has been given mystically to those who have been baptized into Christ; and it becomes active within them to the extent that they actively observe the commandments. Grace never ceases to help us secretly; but to do good – as far as lies in our power – depends on us. – Saint Mark

The law of freedom teaches the whole truth. Many read about it in a theoretical way, but few really understand it, and these only in the degree to which they practise the commandments. – Saint Mark

When Scripture says, ‘He will reward every man according to his works’ (Matthew 16:27), do not imagine that works in themselves merit either hell or the Kingdom. On the contrary, Christ rewards each man according to whether his works are done with faith or without faith in Himself; and He is not a dealer bound by contract, but God our Creator and Redeemer. – Saint Mark

If we want to do something but cannot, then before God, Who knows our hearts, it is as if we have done it. This is true whether the intended action is good or bad. – Saint Mark

Even though knowledge is true, it is still not firmly established if unaccompanied by works. For everything is established by being put into practice. – Saint Mark

Some people when praised for their virtue are delighted, and attribute his pleasurable feeling of self-esteem to grace. Others when reproved for their sins are pained, and they mistake this beneficial pain for the action of sin. – Saint Mark

Faith consists not only of being baptized in Christ, but also in fulfilling His commandments. Holy Baptism is perfect and gives us perfection, but does not make perfect those who do not follow the commandments. – Saint Mark

Knowledge of created beings is one thing, and knowledge of the divine truth is another. The second surpasses the first just as the sun outshines the moon. Knowledge of created beings increases the more we observe the commandments actively; but knowledge of the truth grows the more we hope in Christ. – Saint Mark

Oh how insinuating and imperceptible is the passion of pleasing men: it possesses even the wise! For the effects of other passions are easily seen by those who obey them and so bring those they possess to humility and mourning. But the effort to please men clothes itself in the words and appearance of piety, so that men whom it beguiles find it hard to detect its various aspects. – Saint Mark

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Mark the Ascetic“. CatholicSaints.Info. 7 September 2017. Web. 15 June 2021. <>