St. Mark was born in Libya (west of Egypt) to Jewish parents, before they later migrated to Galilee, where Jesus spent the majority of His life. He was one of the seventy disciples of Christ and is often called “John Mark” in the New Testament. St. Mark was the writer of the earliest Gospel in 53 AD – the Gospel according to St Mark. His house (referred to as “The Upper Room”) is also home to many of the events mentioned within the Gospel; for example:
1. The Last Supper;
3. Jesus’ apparition after His resurrection & His encounter with Thomas (The Twin).
A number of years after the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, St. Mark traveled with the likes of St. Peter and St. Paul to various lands preaching and undertaking missionary work – in 43 AD he traveled to Egypt where he preached the “good-news” and began preaching about The Risen Christ.
At the time of St Mark, Alexandria in Egypt was a cosmopolitan city filled with many different cultures owing to its geographical location. This great man was perfectly geared to preach to these people considering his upbringing and education. After preaching through the Southern lands of Egypt, he traveled to the eastern gate of Alexandria in 61 AD. During the long journey, his sandal strap tore. He went to a cobbler by the name of Ananias to have it repaired. While Ananias the cobbler was mending Saint Mark’s shoes, his finger was cut from the awl and he cried out: “O the one god!” Saint Mark healed the cobbler’s finger and spoke to him about who the “One God” really was (Egyptians believed in a plethora of Gods and so this may have been a reference to “Ra” the Sun God, who was often called the “king of the Gods”). Ananias invited Saint Mark to his home where he and his household were baptised after having professed their belief in the Christian Faith. Soon afterwards, many others believed and Ananias’s house became the meeting place for the faithful – in fact Ananias became St. Mark’s successor as the Bishop of Alexandria.
Christianity spread quickly throughout the land of Egypt – by 68 AD the infuriated pagans had St. Mark dragged behind a horse through streets of Alexandria in a bid to stop the new movement. Though St. Mark did not survive his injuries, the Church did not decay after his death, in fact it only grew stronger. A few centuries later, the whole of Egypt was Christian! In fact, persecution and martyrdom have been a major pillar on which Coptic Orthodoxy stood the test of time.
Our church strives to maintain the legacy of St. Mark’s multicultural mission in Australia and encourages people of all cultures to come and see our Ancient Church which was founded in the first century by St. Mark the apostle.