Mark the EvangelistMark the Evangelist (1st century) is traditionally believed to be the author of the Gospel of Mark, drawing much of his material from Peter. He is often identified with the John Mark that sometimes accompanied Paul and Barnabas in the Acts of the Apostles. He is also the first Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, Egypt.
An extensive account of his life was written by Severus, Bishop of Al-Ushmunain, in the 10th century. According to this account, Mark was the nephew of Barnabas, who was cousin to Peter's wife. Mark was one of the servants at the wedding feast at Cana who poured out the water that Jesus Christ turned to wine. This is Jesus' first public miracle (a story, however, not related in the Gospel of Mark!). Mark was one of the Seventy Apostles sent out by Christ; he was the servant who carried water to the house of Simon the Cyrenian, where the Last Supper took place; and Mark was the one who entertained the disciples in his house after the death of Jesus, and into whose house the resurrected Jesus Christ came, although all the doors were shut.
The following details are also based on Severus' account. He eventually went to Alexandria and was the first to preach the Gospel there. He is said to have performed many miracles, and established a church there, appointing a bishop, three priests, and seven deacons.
Mark is traditionally considered to have founded the School of Alexandria, a school that encouraged studies in science, philosophy, music, math and language embraced by the early Copts, who believe such disciplines are not contrary to religion, but lead believers to a true spiritual life.
When Mark returned to Alexandria, the people there are said to have resented his efforts to turn them away from the worship of their traditional Egyptian gods. In 68 A.D. they killed him, and tried to burn his body. Afterwards, the Christians in Alexandria removed his unburned body from the ashes, and wrapped it and buried it in the eastern part of the church they had built. His remains were later stolen and taken to Venice. They were not returned to Egypt until 1968.