Marcus Eremita

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Saint Mark the Ascetic

Marcus Eremita, Mark the Ascetic or Marcus the Ascetic[n 1] was a Christian theologian, saint, and ascetic writer of the fifth century AD.

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 Mar Saba. 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.[1] Cardinal Bellarmine[2] 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.[3]

Another view supported by the Byzantine Menaia[4] identifies him with the Egyptian monk mentioned in Palladius,[5] who lived in the fourth century. The discovery and identification of a work by him against Nestorius by P. Kerameus[6] 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.[7]


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"[8] 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.[9]


  • 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)


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

External links[edit]

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