St. Mark Bishop of Ephesus icon

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Orthodox icon of Saint Mark, Bishop of Ephesus.

Commemorated January 19.

The great teacher and invincible defender of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, Saint Mark, was the offspring and scion of the imperial city, Constantinople. Reared by most pious parents, and instructed in secular and spiritual wisdom, he became preeminent in both. In 1418, at the age of 26, Manuil left the capital and went to Antigone, an island then governed by Byzantium located at the mouth of the gulf of Nicomedia.

Abbot Simeon became the Saintu2019s spiritual father, and tonsured him into monasticism, with the name Mark.u00a0Saint Mark lived as an ascetic on the Prince's Islands and later in the monastery of Saint George Magana in Constantinople. He passed through all the degrees of the priesthood, and was finally advanced to the dignity of Archbishop and the lofty throne of the Metropolis of Ephesus in 1437.

At the insistence of Emperor John Paleologos, the Saint was sent to the council of the Latins in Florence, to unite the churches that had been divided for so many years over the following issues:1) the issue of the Procession of the Holy Spirit; 2) the issue of the use of azymes, unleavened bread, for the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church; 3) the teachings with respect to Purgatory; and 4) the primacy of the Pope of Rome - issues that till separate the churches.

By the final session the Orthodox Greeks found themselves in a difficult position: exhausted, suffering from privations, submitted to a variety of restrictions, lacking the resources to return to their homeland, and recognizing Byzantium's truly sorry state. In effect, they were invited to sell out the Orthodox Church in return for generous assistance both to the state and to the Greek delegates to the Council Saint Mark was the only one who did not sign the blasphemous decree of that false council. He returned to his see in Ephesus and continued to campaign against the compromises of this council in the name of unity.

The Saint was arrested on the island of Limnos, and was incarcerated for two years, during which he suffered from sickness, a severe climate, and deprivation of many of the essentials of life. Because of His defense of the Truth of Orthodoxy, the Holy Church of Christ has ever honored this great man as a benefactor, teacher, sole defender, and invincible champion of the Apostolic Confession. He is known along withSt. Photius the Great and St. Gregory Palamas, as a Pillar of Orthodoxy.

He reposed in 1443.

Reference: O.C.A.