Evangelist. St Mark was the first Gospel writer. He is usually associated with John Mark, whose mother's house in Jerusalem was a meeting place for the Apostles. He was also probably the young man described in Mark 14: 51 who followed Christ after his arrest and then ran away.
He later accompanied both Paul and Peter. Paul and Barnabas (Mark's cousin) took him with them on their first missionary journey. Mark turned back at Perga. There was some argument. Barnabas and Mark later preached together in Cyprus.
Some time after, when Paul was a prisoner in Rome, Mark was there again helping him. Paul refers to him affectionately as his 'son' (Col 4:10). Peter also speaks of him with affection (1 Pet 5: 13 and 15).
According to legend he became bishop of Alexandria. Historians think the Gospel of St Mark was written in Italy, probably in Rome. Tradition holds that Mark was martyred in the eighth year of Nero in Alexandria.
There is a long history of St Mark's relics. His body was brought to Venice in the ninth century. The basilica which was burnt down in 976 and rebuilt contains relics from Alexandria and a beautiful series of mosaics which tell the story of St Mark's life. The symbol of St Mark is a winged lion. St Mark is patron saint of Venice.