Marcus Eremita

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Saint Mark the Ascetic

Marcus Eremita or Markus the Ascetic[1] was a Christian theologian and ascetic writer of the fifth century.

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.[2] Cardinal Bellarmine[3] 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.[4]

Another view supported by the Byzantine Menaia[5] identifies him with the Egyptian monk mentioned in Palladius,[6] who lived in the fourth century. The discovery and identification of a work by him against Nestorius by P. Kerameus[7] makes his period certain, as defended by Kunze.

According to a brief entry in the "Great Synaxaristes" of the Orthodox Church, his feast day is observed on May 20.[8]


Mark's works are traditionally the following:

  • (1) of the spiritual law,
  • (2) Concerning those who think to be justified through works (both ascetic treatises for monks);
  • (3) of penitence;
  • (4) of baptism;
  • (5) To Nicholas on refraining from anger and lust;
  • (6) Disputation against a scholar (against appearing to civil courts and on celibacy);
  • (7) Consultation of the mind with its own soul (reproaches that he makes Adam, Satan, and other men responsible for his sins instead of himself);
  • (8) on fasting and humility;
  • (9) 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"[9] 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.[10]


  • 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), 267-269;
  • Bernard Jungmann-Josef Fessler, Institutiones Patrologiae, II, (Innsbruck, 1892), 143-146;
  • Kunze, Marcus Eremita, ein neuer Zeuge fur das altkirchliche Taufbekenntnis (Leipzig, 1896).
  • Georges-Matthieu de Durand (1999), Marc le Moine, Traités (two volumes)


  1. ^ Markos Eremites; Greek Markos ho eremites, or monachos, or asketes; Marcus the Hermit, Mark the Hermit, Mark the Monk, Mark the Ascetic.
  2. ^ "Hist. Eccl." in Patrologia Graeca, CXLVI, XlV, 30.
  3. ^ De Script. eccl. (1631), p. 273.
  4. ^ Memoires (1705), X, 456 sq.
  5. ^ Acta Sanct. March 1.
  6. ^ Historia Lausiaca, XX (P.G., XXXII.
  7. ^ In his Analekta ierosol. stachyologias (St. Petersburg, 1891), I, pp. 89-113
  8. ^ (Greek) Ὁ Ὅσιος Μάρκος ὁ Ἐρημίτης. 20 Μαΐου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  9. ^ P.G., CIII, 668 sq.
  10. ^ Marcus Plested, The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian (2004), p. 75.

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.