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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

St. Mark

by H.G. Bishop Moussa

A detailed account of the blessed evangelist, St. Mark, the Beholder of the Divine.


Studying history is not just a matter of useless digging in the past or even merely enjoying studying and thinking, but it is a necessary penetration to get acquainted with the roots of the Coptic identity and the Coptic Church and its characteristic theological, monastic, martyring, scientific and national dimensions. This will eventually shed some of its light and features, making every Copt an integrated person who knows his roots, lives a Christian life, adheres to Orthodoxy, and plays his national role.

My beloved reader, between your hands now is the first episode in this series. It is dedicated to the biography of our beloved preacher St. Mark, the theological school in Alexandria and its great saints.

May this study be a source of spiritual blessing to all of us, and may God reward the writer of this series with the prayers of H.H. Pope Shenouda III. May the grace of God embrace us all.

The Birth of the Church on Pentecost

Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, after He had promised His disciples that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, and they shall be His witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Then the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy (Lk 24:52), where they gathered at the house of the mother of St. Mark, together with about a hundred and twenty believers in addition to the women believers lead by Virgin Mary, the Mother of Light (Acts 1:14,15). There, they all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. They also chose, by lot, Matthias as an Apostle to replace the traitor Judas.

Then came the Pentecost, the most important Jewish feast known as the feast of Harvest (Ex 23:16), the day of the firstfruits (Num 28:26) and the feast of weeks (Deut 6:9, 10). It is also called the pentecost because it comes fifty days after Easter. On that day many peoples from all over the Roman Empire and from everywhere else gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2:8).

At three O'clock according to the Hebrew time of this great day when all of them were sitting in the attic (upper room) with one accord, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and whoever was there. Suddenly, there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire, and rested upon each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1-4).

All the multitiude in Jerusalem heard the disciples, everyone in his own language, and they wondered saying to each other: "Are not all these who speak Galilean, and how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born" (Acts 2:5-11).

There, St. Peter stood with the other disciples and talked to the people about Jesus Christ - the expected Messiah - risen from among the dead, a Saviour and Redeemer. Three thousand souls believed in Christ, repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, and they recieved the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:27-41). This was the first fruit of the Church of Jesus Christ on earth.

Diffusion of Christian Faith Throughout the World

The word of God continued to grow and the number of believers was highly increasing in Jerusalem, in addition to the large number of the clergy who observed the faith. Despite the Jewish persecution of the disciples, Apostles and believers; the murder of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, followed by thr martyrdom of the two Apostles: James the elder and James the younger; and the imprisonment of St. Peter, preaching began to spread outside Jerusalem.

Philip, one of the seven deacons, went down to Samaria (Acts 8:5-8) and so many believed and were baptized by him. Therefore, the disciples sent oeter and John to Samaria where they laid their hands on, and prayed for thoes who had been baptized that they might recieve the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15-17). On their way back to Jerualsem, they preached in many cities in Samaria (Acts 8:25).

The Holy Spirit then led Philip south toward the city of Gaza, so as to meet and Ethiopian eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians. He baotized him in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:26-40). After that the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away to th ecity of Azotus after which he preached all the coastal cities till he came to Caesarea the capital of Palestine at the time (Acts 8:40).

St Luke mentions that diffusion of the work of God in all of Palestine saying: "then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied" (Acts 9:31). Then came one of the blessings of the preaching and persecution: Saul of Tarsus' belief in Jesus and God's call to him to serve His Name (Acts 9:1-6), then his arrival to Damascus where he was baptized by Ananias and filled with the Holy Spirit to become the great saint "Paul the Apostle".

Afterwards, the Christian belief began to diffuse outside Palistine, for "Those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch" (Acts 11:19). There they preached about Jesus the Lord and a great number believed. Then the Apostles sent out St. Barnabas to go as far as Antioch where a great many people turned to the Lord (Acts 11:22). Then for the growth of the word of God, St. Barnabas departed to Tarsus and brought St. Paul with him to Antioch for a whole year (Acts 11:26). Thus, the disciples went all over the world to hand over the word of salvation to the people.

The First Group

  • Peter: Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, North Palestine and Rome.
  • Matthew: Persia and Ethiopia.
  • Andrew: Scythia, the Bosphorus, the cities around the Black Sea and Crimea, Nicaea and Nicodemia.

The Second Group

  • Thomas: Adissa in Iraq, Parthia and India.
  • Jude: Amid in Arabia and Persia.
  • Simon the Zealot: Babylon, Syria and Persia.

The Third Group

  • John the Evangelist: Asia Minor, Ephesus and Phyrgia.
  • Philip: Phygria ans Herapolis.
  • Matthias: Cappadocia and Jerusalem.
  • James the Elder: Spain and Jerusalem.

As for St.Paul he preached during his three journies in: Syria, Taursus, Antioch, Cyprus,Pisidia, Derbe, Lystra Phyrgia, Galatia, Ephesus,Macedonia, Achaia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Beroea,Corinth, Rome and Spain.

The Earlier Apostolic Sees and Bishoprics

The Apsotles were anxious to nominate the bishops to manage the church affairs in the regions where they preached the word of salvation. The most important apostolic sees and Bishoprics they established were:

1. The See of Jerusalem

Jerusalem where the Christian Church was born in the Pentecost, became the first Apostolic see. From there the word of salvation went out to all the human race, and it was blessed by the blood of the first martyrs: Stephen, James the son of Zebedee and James the brother of the Lord. There the first church council took place in 51 A.D. to discuss some problems and issues which appeared at that time, such as the movement of Judaizing, the problem of circumcision(1) and St. Paul's ministry and Apostleship(2). The righteous St. James was chosen the first Bishop to this Bishopric till the day of his martyrdom in 62 A.D. He was succeeded by his brother Simon until the day of his martyrdom in 106 A.D.

Because of the ruin of Jerusalem by the Roman leader Titius(3), it could not restore its distinguished religious center until the fourth century when Queen Helena discovered the cross of the Lord Jesus and built the Church of Resurrection which became a sacred shrine.

Since the Arab Islamic invasion of the countries in the east and the termination of the Byzantine rule in the seventh century, the See of Jerusalem had lost its position. Today Jerusalem has many bishops representing the various churches of the world. It is worthy to note that H.G. Bishop Basil, the present archbishop of Jerusalem, represents our Coptic Church there.

2. The See of Antioch

It is the second Apostolic see and the first gentile church, where the believers were known as Christians. There, Saints Paul and Barabas preached (Acts 11:22-26), and later St. Peter reached it after the Jerusalem council. St. Paul ordained Aphodius bishop to the gentiles and Ignatius bishop to the Christianized Jews. This see still exists and is occupied by the Patriarch of Antioch Mar Ignatius Zecca Ewass. This Church is united in belief with the Coptic Church.

3. The See of Alexandria

It was established by St. Mark the Apostle and it will be discussed in detail latter.

4. The See of Rome

Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire, and was the first city in the ancient world. In it, St. Paul the Apostle preached and to it he wrote his Epistle (see Rom 1:5, 13 and 15:20; Gal 2:7-9; Acts 9:15, 22:18-21 and 28:30, 31). That is why Paul is considered the real founder of this Apostolic see even though the Catholic Church denies him this fact, as it considers St. Peter the Apostle the first to reach it and establish this see. Indeed this is considered contradictory to history, as St. Peter reached Rome later, and was persecuted there in 76 A.D. St. Paul ordained its first bishops including: Lenus, then Clement of Rome became bishop of this church. This see still exists and is headed by H.H. Pope John Paul II.

5. The See of Ephesus

St.Paul preached in Ephesus to which he addressed his Epistle. There he ordained his disciple Timothy bishop till he was persecuted in 67 A.D. The beloved St. John also went there. This see lost its importance at the end of the first century.

6. The See of Smyrna

The beloved St. John preached there and ordained his disciple Polycarp its bishop. This see also lost its importance by the end of the first century.

7. The See of Athens

St. Paul preached there and ordained Dionysius its bishop, and this see lost its importance by the end of the first century.

8. The See of Constantinople

Emperor Constantine founded the city of Constantinople as a capital of the Byzantine empire instead of Rome. He founded it on the ruins of the Greek city Byzantium in 320 A.D. and there had to be a great Apostolic church there. Therefore, St. Andrew the Apostle founded the church as he preached in this region, and St. John Chrysostom is considered one of its most famous Patriarchs. But with the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the fifteenth century and its defeat, by the Ottoman leader Mohammed El-Fatteh in 1453 A.D., this see came to an end and lost its position since then. Even the city of Constantinople is now known as the Turkish city of Istanbul.

St. Mark the Ecumenical Apostle

St. Mark was born in the city of Cyrene, which is one of the five western cities. His father was a rich man who worked in agriculture. His mother was also a wealthy woman, and that is why she gave him a fine education. Therefore, he mastered the Greek and Latin languages, in addition to Hebrew, his native language. He also studied the Old Testament thoroughly.

When barbarians attacked and pillaged the city of Cyrene, his family was forced to immigrate to Palestine and to settle there, and that was during the reign of Augustus Caesar (37 B.C. - 14 A.D.) when Jesus the Lord was there.

St. Mark's mother, Mary, was one of the women who followed the Lord Jesus and went to the tomb. His father was the cousin of St. Peter's wife, and St. Barnabas was his maternal uncle. St. Mark had two names: first a Jewish name (John) and it means God is merciful, then he was known by the Gentile name (Mark), which means a mallet.

Both names were mentioned in the book of Acts. In the house of St. Mark, Jesus celebrated Easter with His disciples where He ate with them, washed their feet and gave them His precious Body and Blood for eternal life. In this house the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and upon all the people who were there in the pentecost. Thus, the house of St. Mark is considered the first Christian Chruch in the world, and one of its names is the famous Zion attic (the upper room).

St Mark is one of the seventy Apostles. He began his service with the Apostolic fathers, when he served first with St. Paul the Apostle in Jerusalem and Judea, then with Saints Paul and Barnabas in their first preaching journey to Syria, especially Antioch (Acts 11:27-30), and in Cyprus, Salamis and Paphos (Acts 13:4-5, 15:15-39). He also shared St. Paul in establishing the church of Rome (Col 4:10-11), and went to Colosse, Venice and Aquila in Italy. However, his main preaching was in Africa, in the five western cities in Egypt and Lybia.

St. Mark and the Five Western Cities

The five western cities that lie in Libya are: Cyrene (now Shahhat); Berenice (now Benghazi); Brace (now El-Marjj); Toshira (now Torqra); and Apollonia (now Sousse). They were called westen so as to be distinguished from the five eastern cities of the Mediterranean, namely: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adomah, Sigor and Seboem.

The five western cities are called in Greek "Pentapolis". They were economically prosperous, and their inhabitants were a mixture of Libyans, Greeks, Romans and Jews. Their native language was Greek and the Greek culture was popular there. Their ways of worship were primative and greatlty influenced by the Egyptian worship, expecially that of Isis and Osiris.

St. Mark began his independent service in his hometown. Then he moved to Italy to the five western cities, where he arrived in 58 A.D. There was only a few believers, thoes who were present in pentecost (Acts 2:10).

Severus Ibnel-Muqafaa mentions the service of St. Mark in his book The History of the Patriarchs saying: "When St. Mark returned from Rome, he went first to the five cities and preached God's words and showed many wonders, to the extent that he cured sick people and purified lepers and cast out deamons by God's blessing abiding in him. As a result, many people believed in Jesus Christ and destroyed the idols whuch they used to worship. He baptised them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the one God."Then Ibnel-Mouqaffa says: "The Holy Spirit appeared to him and told him to get up and go to the city of Alexandria where he would sow the good plant which is God's word." The disciple of Jesus got up strengthened by the Holy Spirit and greeted the bretheren and bade them farewell saying "God, may You preserve the brothers who knew your sacred name and may I come back to them rejoicing because of them." and the brothers bade him farewell.

St. Mark retured once more to the five western cities around the year 63 A.D. to call on the believers and he spent two years there. He also put the Church there in good order and ordained bishops, priests and deacons to the Church.

Then he bade them the last farewell and returned to continue his service with St. Paul the Apostle before he returned to Egypt once more.

These cities have remained under the See of Alexandria from the age of St. Mark till today(4). (This was mentioned in the sixth law of the laws of the Nicean council held in 325 A.D. and which was attended by 318 Bishops. This law stated: "The old paths which are in Egypt, Lybia and the five western cities shall be kept as the bishops of Alexandria would have authority upon them all."

Alexandria the Capital of Egypt

Alexandria was the second international city after Rome. It was a cultural center and was known for its hotels and palaces. In addition, its lighthouse was one of the seven wonders of the world. At that time, the number of its population was 750,000 comprising Egypians, Greeks, Jews, Romans, Ethiopians, Nipponese and other various races. Alexandria included also a mixture of different religous doctrine. There was the Egyptian religon of the Pharaohs with all its Gods: Isis and Osiris, Amon, Abis, Hathour and Raa. There was also the Greek religion and its great god Zeus, and the Roman religon with its god Jupiter in addition to the Jewish religon with its law and codes.

St. Mark in Alexandria

On a memorable day in the year 61 A.D., St. Mark entered Alexandria from the east coming from the five western cities(4). He came praying to Jesus to help him in his service in Egypt and to stengthen him with His holy power. St. Mark began wandering in the streets and roads of Alexandria, amazed at the greatness of the city and the beauty of its wonderful sights, while the evil, vanity and profligacy of the city distressed his tender heart.

St. Mark kept walking all day until his shoes were torn. Then, he went to a shoe maker called Ananias to mend them for him. After greeting him he gave him his shoes, and the shoemaker took them and worked on them while the saint waited. Suddenly, the awl pricked the shoemaker's hand and he screamed in pain calling the "One God." At this moment, inspired by the Holy Spirit, St. Mark felt that the Divine Providence had caused this incident to happen, in order to pave his way in the land of the Pharaohs, and he spat on the ground and made a piece of mud and rubbed Ananias's hands with it saying, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ this hand would return whole." At once the wound was healed as if nothing had happened.

Ananias was surprised at what happened to him, and St. Mark interrupted his surprise and asked him: "What do you know about the One God Whom you mentioned?" Ananias replied, "I only hear about Him, but I don't know Him." St. Mark began to talk to him about the Lord Jesus, His birth by Virgin Mary in Palestine about thirty years before, His life, service, teachings, miracles, His arrest by the Jews, His crucidixion, death, burial in the tomb for three days, His holy resurrection, His ascension and His sending the Holy Spirit. St. Mark then described to him the role of Jesus Christ in the salvation of the human race and His sacrifice for their sake due to His Divine supernatural love.

As soon as Ananias, the shoemaker, finished mending the shoe, he gave it to the saint who got ready to go, but Ananias invited him to visit his house so that he might give his family his blessings and cure those who suffered from some diseases.

St. Mark accepted the invitation, and on entering the house, he crossed the house and said: "May the blessing of our God come in this house."(6) Then he talked to them all about the Lord Jesus Christ and their need to believe in Him for the sake of salvation. He also cured their sickness by the power of Jesus Christ, glory be to Him.

Ananias and all his family believed in Christ, and St. Mark baptized them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus, the family of the simple shoemaker was the first to join the Christian faith in Egypt.

St. Mark made Ananias's house a center for preaching the word of salvation. Many people gathered to hear his teachings, and many people gathered to hear his teachings, and many people - Egyptian and Greek - believed in Jesus Christ.

St. Mark continued wandering and walking throughout the city of Alexandria preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, defying all the difficulties and obstacles which he faced; and the work of salvation grew quickly and strongly. The number of believers increased and their spiritual and ascetical reputation spread everywhere. The Jewish philosopher, Philo stated that, "First of all and above everything, they left their possessions". They have done this, most probably, affected by glowing faith and following the prophets' example. In each of their houses their was a sacred place, and from morning till night, it was time for spiritual practices. They read the Holy Bible and interpreted the philosophy of the fathers, considering the written words symbols for concealed facts. In addition, none of them would eat or drink anything before sunset. They go pleasure in wisdom and devoured it. Such wisdom was filled with endless teachings. Philo also wrote about the chastity of the believers and their prayers, calmness, silence, asceticism and their church ministers.

The Martyrdom of St. Mark the Apostle

St. Mark returned from Rome to Alexandria where he found the Church flourishing and growing. He found the number of believers increasing to the extent that a church was built for them in the east of Alexandria and it was called Baucalis, i.e., the house of cows, which is now replaced by "El-Marcossia Church", (the church of St. Mark).

St. Mark began to visit his people and the cities of Egypt where he preached salvation, strengthened faith and spread the sublime teachings of Christianity. In this way, he shook the foundations of idolatry in Egypt, that is why the Church called him "the eliminator of idolatry." He also wrote his Gospel known by his name answering the believers' request. As a result of thei great sucess in ministry, the preaching about Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Savior, and the great number of people who joined the Church, the idolatrous were outraged and decided to kill St. Mark.

In 68 A.D. (on Bermunda 29th), in the 14th year of king Nero's rule (45-68 A.D.), the Christians were celebrating Easter in the Church of Baucalis headed by St. Mark. It happened to be the same same day the idolatrous celebrated the god Sirabis in his temple. The idolatrous became furious, and pushed by the rulers, they headed towards the church, broke into it and arrested St. Mark. They tied him from the waist to a long rope and pulled him in the streets and over the rocks screaming: "Pull the dragon to Baucalis". They continued to pull the preacher of Egypt with cruelty and brutality until his flesh was torn, dispersed here and there and the soil was wetted with his virtuous blood. While suffering all these pains, St. Mark was glorifying and thanking God for giving him the Grace for being tortured for the sake of His sacred name that was called upon him. When the idolatrous got tired of tormenting him they put him in prison. There, St. Mark lay between life and death. At midnight, a glowing light shone before him saying: "Mark, you good servant, your hour has come and you will have your reward at once. Take heart as your name was written in the book of life". St. Mark raised his hands towards heaven and said: "Thank you Jesus my Savior Who has never failed me, and who has placed me among those who recieved Your mercy."

Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him and gave him peace saying: "Mark, My evangelist disciple, peace be on you." St. Mark cried: "Jesus my Lord." Just then, the Lord disappeared and St. Mark was consoled with great Joy. For this reason the Church calls him "the beholder of the Divine."

On the following day, Barmundah 30th, the idolatrous populace took St. Mark from prison amd dragged him once more with a rope around his neck along the streets and above rocks and  stones. While they were being so cruel and merciless to him, he was praying for them, asking God to forgive them.

Then his head was seperated from his body and his pure soul arose to heaven to recieve the three luminous crowns of: Apostleship, preaching and martyrdom.

The idolatrous tried to burn St. Marks body to maximize their torture to him. They got wood and prepared for lighting a great fire. But God allowed a great storm to blow acompanied by heavy rain, and so the people dispersed and the fire was put out.

Then some believers came and took the pure body and its head to the church of Baucalis and placed it in a coffin, and Bishop Ananius his successor prayed on him. Then the people sought his blessing and he was burried in a tomb carved especiallt for him in the church named after him.

The Coptic church celebrates the day of the Martyrdom of it's great preacher St. Mark on Barmundah 30th every year.

The Body and Head of St. Mark

In 451 A.D. the Christian church split during the Chalcedonian council, the Pope Discorus (25) was banished (444-454). they Egyptian church was persecuted by the dyopysis (two nature) defenders, the Roman Royalists(7). Durring the persecution the Roman Royalists took posession of our churches including the Church of Baucalis, known as the Church of St. Mark, where the body and head of St. Mark lay.

After the Arab invasion of Egypt and in the year 644 A.D., one of the Roman sailors tried to steal the holy head of St. Mark, he put it in a ship, but the ship would not leave the harbour. Then the Arab ruler Amr Ibnel-Aas ordered that the ship be searched and the head was found and the sailor admitted that he had stolen it and he was punished. The ruler then sent for Pope Benjamin I (38, 623-662 A.D.), who had escaped from the Royalists persecution, a letter in which he guaranteed his safety and asked him to reurn to his see. When Pope Benjamin returned, he took the head of St. Mark with ten thousand dinars to build a church in the name of St. Mark, so that the head would be kept there. The Church was built and it was known as El-Moualaqa (the hanging) Church. Yet the body continued to remain in the posession of the Romans in the Church of Baucalis until the year 828 A.D., when the people of Venice moved it to their own town in Italy in a reverend celebration. Moreover, they built a Church for it, and they put their country under the protection of the lion of Mark because of the evangelists marvelous deeds in Italy. In 1052, the biggest and most magnificent Church in the world - which is the Church of St. Mark in Venice - was built for the body which has remained there up till now.

As for the head of St. Mark, the Romans tried to take it too, but the Copts moved it from one place to another. they took it from Matra Monastery (the cell of Pope Benjamin I [8]), to St. Mark Church (El-Moualaqa). Finally, it was put during the patriarchate of Pope Peter VI (104) (1718-1726 A.D.), with skulls of other saints, in a shrine made of marble. It was put in the eastern side, nown known as the cabinet of St. Mark Chruch, so as nobody would reach it and steal it.

In 1968, the Coptic Church celebrated the commemeration of the nineteen hundredth anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Mark the preacher of Egypt. In this celebration, H.H. Pope Kyrillos VI celebrated the return of part of St. Mark's relics and the inauguration of the new St. Mark Cathedral at Anba Rewis area at the east of Cairo. In the universal celebration - which was attended by the Egyptian president Nasser and the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Sellassie I - the relics were placed beneath the main altar of the cathedral.

Thus, St. Mark's body retuned to us once more after being absent for 1140 years since it was stolen by the people of Venice.

The See of St. Mark

The See of St. Mark is known historically as the See of Alexandria. St. Mark is considered the first Pope to the Church of Alexandria. After his martyrdom, he was succeeded by Pope Ananius who was ordained bishop by St. Mark himself in 62 A.D. He was known as the Bishop of Alexandria and there were no other bishops in the other cities of Egypt. St. Ananius was known to be a lofty man. His heart matched God's Heart and he knew the will of God and acted accordingly. He was loved and accepted by God. Pope Ananius cared about and worked for the Church and gave due care to the theological school. With the increase in the number of believers, he ordained a number of priests and deacons for ministering.

In 83 A.D. (on Hatur 20th), he departed peacfully after being a patriarch for 15 years, 6 months and 29 days, and he was buried in the church of St. Mark in Alexandria.

After the death of Ananius, the Christians agreed to choose Fr. Milius to be the successor of Ananius, and the third patriarch to the See of St. Mark. The Pope was known for his chastity, modesty, piety and vigilant care for the followers of Jesus, the Lord. He was keen on strengthening faith and diffusing the word of God in Egypt and the five western cities(5). In his age, many Egyptians left idolatry and joined the Church of Jesus Christ. In 95 A.D. (on Tut 1st), St. Milius died peacfully after 11 years and 9 months on the See of St. Mark. He was buried in the Church of St. Mark in Alexandria beside his great predecessor.

When the priests and the people learned about the death of Pope Milius, they agreed to choose Father Cedron - one of thoes baptized by St. Mark - and they ordained him to the See of St. Mark. Pope Cedron cared about teaching the people and seeking their salvation. He was arrested during the reign of Emperor Targan (98-117 A.D.), who aroused persecution against Christians. After being tortured, the pope received the crown of martyrdom in 106 A.D. (on Banouna 21st), after being a Pope for ten years, nine months and ten days. He was also buried in the Church of St. Mark in Alexandria. The See of St. Mark remained vacant for three years afterwards because of the persecution and the Egyptians inability to choose their own patriarch.

The chain of Patriarchs has continued till today. We will meet again in the next book. May the prayers of the great St. Mark, the preacher of Egypt, and the founder of our Coptic Church, be with us all. Amen.


1.   Some Christianized Jews saw it important to follow the Jewish Law, and so they saw that those who won't be circumcised according to the Law won't be saved, and thus opposing the idea of salvation by the Blood of Jesus only. Accordingly disorder appeared in the church of Antioch and Saints Paula nd Barnabas didn't succeed in solving such a problem. In the Church council, it was decided not to agree to the idea of Judaizing and to reject the idea of following the Law or the Jewish circumcision. "Lay upon the believers no greater burden that these necessary things that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality" (Acts 15:28,29).

2.   The Christianized Jews in Antioch opposed St. Paul's personality and misgave the legacy of his Apostleship, but the Jerusalem council gave the Apostolic fellowship covenant to St. Paul to preach among the gentiles and the same applied to St. Barnabas the Apostle.

3.   Lord Jesus referred to the ruin of Jerusalem saying: "See! Your house is left to you desolate" (Mt 23:37-38). His prophecy cam true in July, 70 A.D., when the Roman leader Titus entered Jerusalem leading a troop of 80,000, headed to the temple and ruined it completely where fire reached the Most Holy and he hardly got out of fire flames smoke and dead bodies. On August 10th, the temple was completely burnt and ruined, in addition to the complete destruction of the city of Jerusalem.

4.   After the Middle and Modern ages, in which the Church neglected the service in the churches of the five western cities, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, corrected the course of matters, when he ordained H.G. Bishop Pachomius as Bishop to Beheira and the five western cities on December 14, 1971, in order to look after them, and follow on St. Marks mission there.

5.   Some references day that he reached Alexandria through the road of the Oases then to Upper Egypt, then to the Nile, later to the canobian branch and finally reaching Alexandria in the east. He probably passed by Babylon, Judea till and Heliopolis where there was a large Jewish community.

6.   The house became latter a Church in the name of the great martyr St. George.

7.   The Coptic Church has now signed agreements with Eastern Orthodox Churches with regards to the events of Chalcedon in 451. Both parties have made a joint creed and are in the process of accepting it. If this happens then the Church split did not occur for theological reasons (as our faith has been proven to be one) but perhaps lingual or political reasons.


||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

||    The Orthodox Faith (Dogma)    ||    Family and Youth    ||    Sermons    ||    Bible Study    ||    Devotional    ||    Spirituals    ||    Fasts & Feasts    ||    Coptics    ||    Religious Education    ||    Monasticism    ||    Seasons    ||    Missiology    ||    Ethics    ||    Ecumenical Relations    ||    Church Music    ||    Pentecost    ||    Miscellaneous    ||    Saints    ||    Church History    ||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Patrology    ||    Canon Law    ||    Lent    ||    Pastoral Theology    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bibles    ||    Iconography    ||    Liturgics    ||    Orthodox Biblical topics     ||    Orthodox articles    ||    St Chrysostom    ||   

||    Bible Study    ||    Biblical topics    ||    Bibles    ||    Orthodox Bible Study    ||    Coptic Bible Study    ||    King James Version    ||    New King James Version    ||    Scripture Nuggets    ||    Index of the Parables and Metaphors of Jesus    ||    Index of the Miracles of Jesus    ||    Index of Doctrines    ||    Index of Charts    ||    Index of Maps    ||    Index of Topical Essays    ||    Index of Word Studies    ||    Colored Maps    ||    Index of Biblical names Notes    ||    Old Testament activities for Sunday School kids    ||    New Testament activities for Sunday School kids    ||    Bible Illustrations    ||    Bible short notes

||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

||    Prayer of the First Hour    ||    Third Hour    ||    Sixth Hour    ||    Ninth Hour    ||    Vespers (Eleventh Hour)    ||    Compline (Twelfth Hour)    ||    The First Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Second Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Third Watch of the midnight prayers    ||    The Prayer of the Veil    ||    Various Prayers from the Agbia    ||    Synaxarium