SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST
Saint Mark is our patron, the saint to whom the parish is dedicated. He was one one of the four evangelists, or gospel-writers; and his account of Jesus' public life is now generally acknowleged to have been the first of the four to be written.
Mark was a Jew and, according to Paul's letter to the Colossians, was cousin to Barnabas. He accompanied Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey. Afterwards, he went to Cyprus with Barnabas and to Rome with first Paul and then Peter. His gospel, most likely written whilst he was in Rome, is probably based as much on Peter's preaching as on Mark's own memory. Mark's gospel has a sharpness and immediacy about it; and he does not spare the apostles in noting their weaknesses and lack of understanding that Jesus the Christ would suffer for the world's redemption. Sharing in the glory of the resurrection means sharing in the giving of self, both in body and spirit, even to death; sharing the gospel was, for all, in essence both excessively generous and ultimately sacrificial.
The statue of St Mark pictured above stands in the south aisle of the church, and has its own shrine or place of devotion. It probably dates from about 1930. There is also an enormous "portrait" of the saint on the wall facing you as you enter church. The provenance of this is uncertain; but it may have been donated to the parish by the church architects, the Cutts brothers (see http://www.stmarksenfield.org.uk/history.htm) and hung for many years above the high altar. It is now rather dark and a little water-damaged, but still very much part of the church.
St Mark is famously the patron saint of the city of Venice, where some of his bodily remains (relics) were said eventually to have been brought. On the front of St Mark's basilica, on top of the column in St Mark's Square, on the Venetian flag, and in countless other places around the city, are representations of the winged lion, the symbol of St Mark. The lion is one of the four living creatures, all of them winged, that surround God's throne as described in the Book of Revelation, and to which there are references in the Old Testament, notably the Book of Daniel. Each of these came to be associated with one of the four evangelists, and the lion became the symbol of St Mark. We use our own version of this symbol in our publicity.
St Mark's Day is 25 April, and on the nearest Sunday we have a special service followed by a parish party.
Prayer for St Mark's Day
Almighty God, who enlightened your holy Church through the inspired witness of your evangelist Saint Mark: grant that we, being firmly grounded in the truth of the gospel, may be faithful to its teaching in both word and deed: though Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.