Mark’s mother Mary owned a large house that served as a meeting place for the early Christian community in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). Mark was the nephew of Barnabas. When Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch after their visit to Jerusalem, Mark went with them (Acts 12:25). Mark joined Paul and Barnabas as their helper on their first missionary journey, but he deserted them at Perga and returned to Jeru- salem (Acts 13:13). When Barnabas wanted to take Mark on the second missionary journey, Paul refused. This created a conflict between Paul and Barnabas. Barnabas took Mark and went to the island of Cyprus.

The chronology of Mark’s life and ministry is difficult to reconstruct. Some be- lieve that Mark was a companion of the apostle Peter during his missionary journey through Asia Minor in the 50s and went to live with Peter in Rome, where he wrote the Gospel of Mark. During his first imprisonment in Rome (60-62), Paul sends greetings from Mark who was with him, and mentions the possibility of Mark visiting the church of Colossae (Colossians 4:10). During his second Roman imprisonment (64-65), Paul tells Timothy to bring Mark to Rome with him because he is helpful in ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). This seems to indicate that Mark was ministering with Timothy in Ephesus.

Coptic Christian tradition tells us that Mark was the first bishop and founder of the church of Alexandria, Egypt. He is honored as the founder of Christianity in Africa. It is believed that Mark was martyred in Alexandria around 68.