Spirituality for Today – June 2009 – Volume 13, Issue 11

The 34th Pope

Saint Mark

A photo of an etching of Saint MarkSaint Mark

Pope St. Mark (336) - His imprint on Church history was injured by the brevity (ten months) of his pontificate. His prayers must have been to seek divine guidance in dealing with the growing specter of Arianism. Emperor Constantine himself was seen to be wavering in his support of orthodoxy. The emperor's half-sister Constantia was a follower of Bishop Arius who taught that Jesus Christ was not the divine Son of God, but the highest of God's creatures. It is believed that she was having influence on the emperor's stance. The irony was that Arius may well have been on the road to rehabilitation when he died suddenly.

Pope Mark founded two churches in Rome and he declared that the Bishop of Ostia was to be primary among the three consecrators of a new pope. To the present day, the dean of the College of Cardinals bears the honorary title of Bishop of Ostia.

Pope Mark rests in the cemetery of Balbina on the site of a basilica that may have been constructed through his efforts.

Habemus papam!