April 2008 - St. Mark
As a disciple of St. Peter, St. Mark preached the message of Christ throughout the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. In Egypt and Libya, his preaching won converts in such great numbers that he became the first bishop of Alexandria, a city where Christianity took hold despite all manner of pagan resistance. During the reign of Tiberius, St. Mark's fiery preaching won him both respect from converts and envious wrath from dissenters who harassed him at every turn.
During his time in Alexandria, St. Mark composed the Gospel which is part of the New Testament and which reflects his firm resolve and quiet courage. He is also the composer of a Divine Liturgy still used by the Orthodox Church on special feast days and upon which are based the liturgies of St. James, St. Basil, and St. John Chrysostom.It is said that he completed his life in martyrdom about the year 68 A.D. He is often depicted in holy icons with a lion next to him, one of the living creatures mentioned by Ezekiel (1:10), and a symbol of Christ's royal office.