March 5, 2022

Introduction to the Writings of Saint Mark the Ascetic in the 'Philokalia' (St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite)

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Our venerable father Mark the Ascetic thrived in the year 430. He was a disciple of Saint John Chrysostom, according to Nikephoros Kallistos (vol. 2, bk. 14. ch. 53), and was a contemporary of Saint Nilus and Isidore of Pelusium, who were famous ascetics. Diligent in the study of the Scriptures, he wrote many discourses full of abundant learning and spiritual benefit. Of these, 32 are mentioned by Nikephoros Kallistos, which teach the entire path of the ascetic life, though they have not been preserved. Only eight of his discourses survive, different from the above, which are mentioned by both Kallistos and the critic Photios (codex 200).

Of these, the discourse "On the Spiritual Law" is first, "On Those Who Think They Are Made Righteous by Works" is third, both divided into short chapters, and "To Nicholas the Monk" is eighth. These discourses were included here as more useful than the others and why all three belong to the spiritual law.

The venerable martyr Peter of Damascus and Gregory of Sinai and the most holy patriarch Kallistos and Paul the Evergetinos and many other Fathers also mention his books. All of them have studied his works and urge us to study them as well.

The Holy Church of Christ honors his memory on March 5 and praises his ascetic struggles, the wisdom of his words and the grace given to him by God.

From Philokalia, vol. 1. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.