Mark of Ephesus

Mark of Ephesus
Saint Mark of Ephesus
Archbishop of Ephesus
Born 1392
Died June 3, 1444 (age 52)
Honored in Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized 1734, Constantinople by Patriarch Seraphim of Constantinople
Feast January 19
Attributes Long white beard, vested as a bishop, holding a scroll in one hand and Cross in the other

Mark of Ephesus (Eugenikos – "the courteous", Greek: Μάρκος Ευγενικός), a 15th century Archbishop of Ephesus, is famous for his defense of Eastern Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence (1438-1445 AD) in spite of Byzantine Emperor John VIII Palaeologus and Pope Eugene IV. He held Rome to be in schism and heresy for its acceptance of the Filioque clause added to the Nicene Creed and for the claims of the papacy to universal jurisdiction over the Church, and was thus the only Eastern bishop present at the council to refuse to sign its decrees. Therefore both Orthodox and Catholic scholars, from very different perspectives, consider him largely responsible for the termination of the Union of Florence, which Mark regarded as a false union to begin with. He is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church.


Early life

Mark was born Emmanuel in 1392 in Constantinople to George, sakellarios of Hagia Sophia, an Orthodox deacon, and Maria, the daughter of a devout doctor named Luke. Mark learned how to read and write from his father, who died while Mark and his younger brother John were still children. Maria had Mark continue his education under John Cartasmeno, who later became Metropolitan Ignatius of Selmyria, and a mathematician and philosopher by the name of Gemistus Pletho.

Activity at the Council of Florence and Aftermath


He died peacefully at the age of 52 on June 23, 1444, after an excruciating two week battle with intestinal illness. On his death bed, Mark implored Georgios Scholarios, his former pupil, who later became Patriarch Gennadius of Constantinople, to be careful of involvement with Western Christendom and to defend Orthodoxy. According to his brother John, his last words were "Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, into Thy hands I commit my spirit." Mark was buried in the Mangana Monastery in Constantinople.

Posthumous Miracle and Canonization

The Eugenikos family celebrated each anniversary of Mark’s death with a eulogy consisting of a service (akolouthia) and synaxarion of a short life of Mark. Thanks in large part to Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius, veneration of Mark spread among the Church. In 1734 Patriarch Seraphim of Constantinople presided over the Holy Synod of the Church of Constantinople and solemnly glorified (canonized) Mark and added six services to the two older ones.

There is an account of a posthumous miracle performed by St. Mark of Ephesus. Doctors gave up on trying to save the life of the terminally ill sister of Demetrios Zourbaios, after their efforts had worsened her condition. After losing consciousness for three days she suddenly woke up, to the delight of her brother, who asked her why she woke up drenched in water. She related that a bishop escorted her to a fountain and washed her and told her, "Return now; you no longer have any illness." She asked him who he was and he informed her, "I am the Metropolitan of Ephesus, Mark Eugenikos." After being miraculously healed, she made an icon of St. Mark and lived devoutly for another 15 years.


The Orthodox Church considers Mark of Ephesus a saint, calling him, together with St. Photius the Great and St. Gregory Palamas, a Pillar of Orthodoxy. His feast day is January 19, the day his relics were moved to the monastery of Lazarus in Galata. The Roman Catholic Church does not honor him as a saint because of his staunch opposition to some of its doctrines


Troparion (Tone 4)

By your profession of faith, O all-praised Mark
The Church has found you to be a zealot for truth.
You fought for the teaching of the Fathers;
You cast down the darkness of boastful pride.
Intercede with Christ God to grant forgiveness to those who honor you!

Kontakion (Tone 3)

Clothed with invincible armor, O blessed one,
You cast down rebellious pride,
You served as the instrument of the Comforter,
And shone forth as the champion of Orthodoxy.
Therefore we cry to you: "Rejoice, Mark, the boast of the Orthodox!"


"It is impossible to recall peace without dissolving the cause of the schism— the primacy of the Pope exalting himself equal to God." [1]
"The Latins are not only schismatics but heretics... we did not separate from them for any other reason other than the fact that they are heretics. This is precisely why we must not unite with them unless they dismiss the addition from the Creed filioque and confess the Creed as we do." [2]
"Our Head, Christ our God... does not tolerate that the bond of love be taken from us entirely." [3]
"We seek and we pray for our return to that time when, being united, we spoke the same things and there was no schism between us." [4]

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