The PriestMartyr Mark, Bishop of Arethuseia
Commemorated on March 29
The PriestMartyr Mark, Bishop of Arethuseia, suffered for his faith in Christ under the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). By order of the Equal-to-the-Apostles emperor Constantine (306-337, Comm. 21 May), Saint Mark had once destroyed an idolatrous temple. When Julian came upon the throne, he began to persecute Christians and to restore paganism, and his enemies decided to take revenge on Saint Mark. The old bishop at first hid himself from the persecution, but learning, that the pagans in search of him had put many people to torture, he voluntarily gave himself up. Amidst abuse and jeers the holy elder was led throughout all the city and given over to torture. They tore out his hair, lacerated his body, dragged him along the street, dumped him in a swamp, tied him up bound and cut at him with knives. Demanding from the holy bishop repayment for the destruction of the pagan-temple, the persecutors invented ever newer and newer torments: they squeezed the elder in a foot-press, they cut off his ears with strong linen cords and finally, having smeared the body of the holy martyr with honey and grease, they hung him up in a basket in the hot mid-day as prey for the bees. But the holy elder as it were did not notice the pain, and this irritated the tormentor all the more. The inhabitants of the city of Arethuseia, beholding the unshakable firmness of the saint, set him free. Many of them later under the influence of his talks were converted to Christ. Sainted Gregory the Theologian (Comm. 25 January) tells about the sufferings of Saint Mark in his First Discourse against Julian.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.