Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Jerusalem’s Old City’s Armenian Quarter sits the Monastery of Saint Mark. Saint Mark (also known as John Mark) was originally from Libya. He became a traveling partner and interpreter to St. Peter; using his sermons to write the Gospels according to Mark. In 49 CE, Mark continued to Alexandria.
He founded the Church of Alexandria, whose lineage can trace to the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, and the Coptic Catholic Church. Mark became the first bishop of Alexandria and is known today not only as of the writer of the Gospels but as the founder of Christianity in Africa. The Monastery of Saint Mark in Jerusalem is a must-see destination when visiting the city; especially as you explore the Old City’s quarters. I suggest taking a private tour with me so that you can see all the best sites while in the Old City!
Monastery of Saint Mark: One of the Oldest Christian Communities
The Monastery of Saint Mark in Jerusalem is home to one of the smallest and oldest Christian communities, the Syriac Orthodox. They even use the Syriac language; a dialect of the Aramaic that Jesus once spoke. The Monastery of Saint Mark proclaims that it is the first church of Christianity because it is located on the site of the original church of the early Christians of Jerusalem. Inside the entrance; there is even an inscribed stone that reads, “This is the house of Mary, mother of John, called Mark. Proclaimed a church by the holy apostles under the name of Virgin Mary, mother of God, after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven. Renewed after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in the year CE 73.”
The Monastery of Saint Mark in Jerusalem holds many claims to fame. For example, there is a piece of the Holy Cross in which Jesus was crucified preserved within the monastery. The church also protects Mary’s baptismal basin and an image of the Virgin Mary painted by the apostle St. Luke. Some believe that the monastery sits on what used to be the house of Saint Mark’s mother, Mary. In turn, the worshippers of this church also believe that this was the location of the Last Supper; the final meal that Jesus shared with his apostles before his crucifixion. However, most other Christians believe that this religious event occurred at the Cenacle on Mount Zion.