Saint Mark, bishop of Arethousia, Cyril deacon, and of the virgin women and consecrated men in Ascalon and Gaz
Celebration date: 29/03
Agios Markos was the bishop of Arethousia (Arethousa is a settlement in the east of the Prefecture of Thessaloniki) and flourished during the years of Constantine the Great, King Constantius (337-361 AD) and Julian of Paravatos (361-363 AD). ).
In 341 AD participated in the Council of Antioch. In fact, in its Minutes, the “Exposure of Faith of Mark Arethousia” is preserved. The following year he participated in the delegation of Bishops, which went to Trebira to meet Emperor Constant. In 343 AD took part in the Council of Philippopolis and in 351 AD at the Synod of Sirmium, which condemned Photinus, Bishop of Sirmium, as a follower of the heretical Bishop of Ankara, Markellos. We also meet him at the Synod of Seleucia in Isauria, in 358 AD.
One day, moved by divine zeal, he tore down a temple of idols and made it a church. But when Julian the Transgressor became emperor, he arrested Mark (363 AD), because he demolished the pagan temple. Then the soldiers, after stripping him and whipping him mercilessly, threw him into ditches of dirty water. Then they took him out of there, and handed him over to little children, to prick him with needles. Then they doused his body in brine. Then they smeared it with honey and hung it upside down in the sun, to be food for bees and wasps. Markus endured all these sufferings with courage and a lot of patience. So, when the pagans saw this prowess and magnanimity of the elder Mark, a great miracle took place in their souls. After they took him down from where they had hung him, they repented, he became their teacher and they learned the true faith from him.
Saint Mark slept in peace.
During the reign of Julian the Transgressor (363 AD), Deacon Kyrillos also shone, the pride of the Church of Phoenice. Because he stood firm in the Christian confession and preached against idols, he aroused the fury of the pagans, who opened his belly with swords and poured out his entrails.
Several virgin women in Ascalon and Gaza also died with the same death, as well as some priests, whose memory is commemorated on this day.