His mother was a prominent follower of Jesus Christ. Acts 12:12 tells us that her house in Jerusalem was used as a meeting place for other disciples.
From this verse we also learn that her son’s full name is John Mark. He was also a nephew of the Apostle Barnabas.
Mark was also a follower of Jesus Christ but would likely have been in his teens when the Lord was in Jerusalem. He may have seen and listened to the Savior on occasion. After the Resurrection, as the Savior’s message was beginning to be spread, Mark traveled with the Apostle Paul. He then accompanied the Apostle Peter to Rome and stayed by him while he was in prison. Mark is known as Peter’s interpreter, both in speech and in writing. As a fisherman from Galilee, Peter may not have spoken Greek fluently, so Mark interpreted for him.
In his book, Mark wrote down the observations and memories of Peter, one of the original Apostles. Mark’s book reflects Peter’s interest in spreading the gospel among the Gentiles.
Mark was born in Cyrene, a city in the Pentapolis of North Africa (see map), a Jew of the priestly tribe of Levi.
According to Hippolytus, he was one of the "Seventy Disciples" who were sent out by Jesus to saturate Judea with the gospel (Luke 10:1ff.). However, when Jesus explained that His flesh was "real food" and His blood was "real drink", many disciples left him (John 6:44-6:66), including Mark.
He was later restored to faith by Peter, and became Peter’s companion and interpreter. According to Eusebius of Caesarea, Mark joined Peter somewhere on his travels from Antioch (starting in AD41) through Asia Minor - now Turkey - to Rome (ending in AD42). On the way they visited the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (see map below). Mark was Peter’s travel companion and interpreter. Mark also wrote down the sermons of Peter - this became known as the Gospel according to Mark (Eccl. Hist. 15-16.). The Christians in Rome were not satisfied with just hearing about Christ; they clamored earnestly for a written record of His life and teachings. Mark's Gospel was approved by Peter as being wholly accurate, and was accepted without dispute by all the local Churches there as authentic, divinely-inspired Scripture. His Gospel is believed to be the earliest Gospel to be written (it was written in Greek).
From Rome Mark was sent by Peter to preach the Gospel in those regions bordering the Adriatic. His ministry was fruitful; everywhere churches were established. Peter then appointed Mark bishop and sent him to Egypt (AD 43). Mark travelled to Alexandria and founded the Church of Alexandria, which today is claimed by the Coptic Orthodox Church. Aspects of the Coptic liturgy can be traced back to Saint Mark himself. He became the first bishop of Alexandria and he is honoured as the founder of Christianity in Africa. According to the Coptic church, when Mark returned to Alexandria in AD68, pagans of Serapis (the Serapion-Abbis Greek Egyptian god) who lived in Alexandria resented his efforts to turn the populous away from the worship of their gods, tied him to a horse's tail and dragged him through the streets of Alexandria's district of Bokalia for two days until his body was torn to pieces. According to various sources, his head is in a church named after him in Alexandria, and parts of his relics are in St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, and the rest of his relics are in the San Marco Cathedral in Venice, Italy.
His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the lion.