Mark is rather an ascetic than a dogmatic writer. He is content to accept dogmas from the Church; his interest is in the spiritual life as it should be led by monks. He is practical rather than mystic, belongs to the Antiochene School and shows himself to be a disciple of John Chrysostom.
Various theories about his period and works have been advanced. According to Johannes Kunze, Mark the Hermit was superior of a laura at Ancyra; he then as an old man left his monastery and became a hermit, probably in the desert east of Palestine, near St. Sabas. He was a contemporary of Nestorius and died probably before the Council of Chalcedon (451).
Nicephorus Callistus (fourteenth century) says he was a disciple of John Chrysostom. Cardinal Bellarmine thought that this Mark was the monk who prophesied ten more years of life to the Emperor Leo VI in 900. He is refuted by Tillemont.
Another view supported by the Byzantine Menaia identifies him with the Egyptian monk mentioned in Palladius, who lived in the fourth century. The discovery and identification of a work by him against Nestorius by P. Kerameus makes his period certain, as defended by Kunze.
Mark's works are traditionally the following:
- of the spiritual law,
- Concerning those who think to be justified through works (both ascetic treatises for monks);
- of penitence;
- of baptism;
- To Nicholas on refraining from anger and lust;
- Disputation against a scholar (against appearing to civil courts and on celibacy);
- Consultation of the mind with its own soul (reproaches that he makes Adam, Satan, and other men responsible for his sins instead of himself);
- on fasting and humility;
- on Melchisedek (against people who think that Melchisedek was an apparition of the Word of God).
All the above works are named and described in the "Myrobiblion" and are published in Gallandi's collection. To them must be added:
10. Against the Nestorians (a treatise against that heresy arranged without order).
Of these 8. is now considered spurious.
- Andrea Gallandi, Bibliotheca veterum Patrum, VIII (Venice, 1788), 1–104, reprinted with Gallandi's prolegomena in Patrologia Graeca, LXV, 893–1140;
- J. A. Fabricius-G. C. Harles, Bibliotheca graeca, IX (Hamburg, 1804), 267–69;
- Bernard Jungmann-Josef Fessler, Institutiones Patrologiae, II, (Innsbruck, 1892), 143–46;
- Kunze, Marcus Eremita, ein neuer Zeuge fur das altkirchliche Taufbekenntnis (Leipzig, 1896).
- Georges-Matthieu de Durand (1999), Marc le Moine, Traités (two volumes)
- "Hist. Eccl." in Patrologia Graeca, CXLVI, XlV, 30.
- De Script. eccl. (1631), p. 273.
- Memoires (1705), X, 456 sq.
- Acta Sanct. March 1.
- Historia Lausiaca, XX (P.G., XXXII.
- In his Analekta ierosol. stachyologias (St. Petersburg, 1891), I, pp. 89–113
- (in Greek) Ὁ Ὅσιος Μάρκος ὁ Ἐρημίτης. 20 Μαΐου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
- P.G., CIII, 668 sq.
- Marcus Plested, The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian (2004), p. 75.
- also known as Markos Eremites, Marcus the Hermit, Mark the Hermit, Mark the Monk and other similar names.