May 14, 2018

Holy New Martyr Mark of Crete, Who Was Martyred in Smyrna (+ 1643)

St. Mark the New Martyr of Crete (Feast Day - May 14)


When Mark of Crete was led to the sword,
He looked towards the sword steadfastly as if it were a crown.

Mark was a native of the island of Crete, but moved to Smyrna at a young age. While still a child in Smyrna, he was forced to become a Muslim. From Smyrna he moved to Constantinople where he studied under the learned teacher and polymath Meletios Syrigos. It appears it was from this acquaintance that Mark desired to forsake Islam and suffer for Christ.

Upon his return to Smyrna, Mark began publicly preaching Christ as the true God. He was therefore apprehended and taken before the Turkish judge, who asked him: "Are you a Roman or a Turk?" He responded: "I was a Roman and again I am a Roman, and I worship and venerate my Christ and confess Him to be the true God. As for your faith, I deny and despise it."

Hearing this, the judge became very angry and ordered Mark to be mercilessly beaten and then thrown into prison where he was tortured again. No matter what happened to him, and despite flatteries and threats, Mark endured everything patiently. Seeing that Mark remained steadfast in his faith in Christ, the judge sentenced him to beheading. He was therefore beheaded in Smyrna on May 14 in the year 1643 and buried in the Church of Saint Photini in Smyrna. His martyrdom was recorded by the Jesuit Isaac I.