This Month at St. Mark


Birthdays This Month

Recognizing our congregation members who were born this month...

Apr 02

Bethany Zinn

Apr 03

Robert Rhoten

Apr 04

Susan Rizer

Apr 07

Haley Luckabaugh

Shirley Szwoyer

Apr 08

Dorothy Williams

 

     Happy Birthday!

Apr 09

Lynn Gross

Apr 10

Richard Mondorff

Apr 11

Louis Reifsnider

Apr 13

Carol McDermitt

Apr 14

Nancy Sandruck

Apr 15

Carter Brown

Apr 16

Tom Long

Apr 17

Chris Kindschuh

Apr 19

Susie Laughman

Apr 21

Mary Ellen Melhorn

Apr 22

Matthew Funke

Cecelia Sell

Apr 23

Brynn Seidenstricker 

Apr 26

Brian Wilson

Apr 27

Clay Brown

Lynn Peterson

Apr 28

Morgan Brown

Apr 29

Mary Bowman

Apr 30

Peggy Sue Potter

If you ever see that we miss a birthday or overlook a name, please contact the office at 717-637-8904 so wwe can update our computer record.

Page Footnotes


You have probably noticed the red boxes at the bottom of several pages (Welcome to St. Mark, Outreach Mission, Spiritual Growth Mission, and Stewards of Blessing Mission). In these small spaces, we will post information about many facets (history, etc.) of the church and the Bible. The subjects and information promises to be quite varied. But, all will be enlightening and fun. If you want to check them out, click the Start at Welcome Page link.


This Month, in the red boxes are more interesting facts about Easter. 

Spotlight on Apostles & Saints

This month, we highlight the apostle Mark, the Evangelist.

Mark

Mark the Evangelist is the traditionally ascribed author of the Gospel of Mark. Mark is said to have founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important episcopal sees of early Christianity. His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the winged lion.

Evidence for Mark the Evangelist's authorship of the Gospel that bears his name originates with Papias. Scholars of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School are "almost certain" that Papias is referencing John Mark…

 

The Coptic Church accords with identifying Mark the Evangelist with John Mark, as well as that he was one of the Seventy Disciples sent out by Christ (Luke 10:1), as Hippolytus confirmed. Coptic tradition also holds that Mark

the Evangelist hosted the disciples in his house after Jesus' death, that the resurrected Jesus Christ came to Mark's house (John 20), and that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost in the same house.

 

According to the Coptic tradition, Mark was born in Cyrene, a city in the Pentapolis of North Africa (now Libya). This tradition adds that Mark returned to Pentapolis later in life, after being sent by Paul to Colossae… and serving with him in Rome (2 Tim 4:11); from Pentapolis he made his way to Alexandria. When Mark returned to Alexandria, the pagans of the city resented his efforts to turn the Alexandrians away from the worship of their traditional gods. In AD 68, they placed a rope around his neck and dragged him through the streets until he was dead.

 

The Feast of St Mark is observed on April 25 by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. For those Churches still using the Julian Calendar, April 25 according to it aligns with May 8 on the Gregorian Calendar until the year 2099.

 

In 828, relics believed to be the body of Saint Mark were stolen from Alexandria (at the time controlled by the Abbasid Caliphate) by two Venetian merchants with the help of two Greek monks and taken to Venice. A mosaic in St Mark's Basilica depicts sailors covering the relics with a layer of pork and cabbage leaves. Since Muslims are not permitted to eat pork, this was done to prevent the guards from inspecting the ship's cargo too closely.

 

Donald Nicol explained this act as "motivated as much by politics as by piety", and "a calculated stab at the pretensions of the Patriarchate of Aquileia." Instead of being used to adorn the church of Grado, which claimed to possess the throne of Saint Mark, it was kept secretly by Doge Giustiniano Participazio in his modest palace. Possession of Saint Mark's remains was, in Nicol's words, "the symbol not of the Patriarchate of Grado, nor of the bishopric of Olivolo, but of the city of Venice." In his will, Doge Giustiniano asked his widow to build a basilica dedicated to Saint Mark, which was erected between the palace and the chapel of Saint Theodore Stratelates, who until then had been patron saint of Venice.

In 1063, during the construction of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, Saint Mark's relics could not be found. However, according to tradition, in 1094, the saint himself revealed the location of his remains by extending an arm from a pillar. The newfound remains were placed in a sarcophagus in the basilica.

 

Copts believe that the head of Saint Mark remains in a church named after him in Alexandria, and parts of his relics are in Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, Cairo. The rest of his relics are in Venice. Every year, on the 30th day of the month of Paopi, the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates the commemoration of the consecration of the church of Saint Mark, and the appearance of the head of the saint in the city of Alexandria. This takes place inside St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria.

 

In June 1968, Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria sent an official delegation to Rome to receive a relic of Saint Mark from Pope Paul VI. The delegation consisted of ten metropolitans and bishops, seven of whom were Coptic and three Ethiopian, and three prominent Coptic lay leaders.

The relic was said to be a small piece of bone that had been given to the Roman pope by Giovanni Cardinal Urbani, Patriarch of Venice. Pope Paul, in an address to the delegation, said that the rest of the relics of the saint remained in Venice. The delegation received the relic on June 22, 1968.

Wikipedia

Notable People This Month

Easter 2021

         

This month we provide several items related to Easter -- things all of us asked ourselves and maybe our parents, too. Why is Easter called Easter? Why is the date of Easter so hard to pinpoint each year? What are  the religious traditions of Easter and some Easter traditions around the world? How are Passover and Easter related? And, then there is the Easter bunny and Eastert eggs  -- what's up with them?

 

The sources for this information are:

history.com [McDougall, H. (2010)

TheGuardian.com, Sifferlin, A. (2015)

Time.com, Barooah, J. (2012)

Huffington Post, Chapman, E. and

Schreiber, S. (2018) Goodhousekeeping.com]

 

Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament of the Bible, the event is said to have occurred three days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans and died in roughly 30 A.D. The holiday concludes the “Passion of Christ,” a series of events and holidays that begins with Lent—a 40-day period of fasting, prayer and sacrifice—and ends with Holy Week, which includes Holy Thursday (the celebration of Jesus’ Last Supper with his 12 Apostles, also known as “Maundy Thursday”), Good Friday (on which Jesus’ crucifixion is observed) and Easter Sunday. Although a holiday of high religious significance in the Christian faith, many traditions associated with Easter date back to pre-Christian, pagan times.

Text...

When Is Easter?


Easter 2021 occurs on Sunday, April 4. However, Easter falls on a different date each year.


Easter Sunday and related celebrations, such as Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, are considered “moveable feasts,” although, in western Christianity, which follows the Gregorian calendar, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. Easter typically falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox.


In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which adheres to the Julian calendar, Easter falls on a Sunday between April 4 and May 8 each year.


In some denominations of Protestant Christianity, Easter Sunday marks the beginning of Eastertide, or the Easter Season. Eastertide ends on the 50th day after Easter, which is known as Pentecost Sunday.


In Eastern Orthodox branches of Christianity, Easter Sunday serves as the start of the season of Pascha (Greek for “Easter”), which ends 40 days later with the holiday known as the Feast of the Ascension.


Why Is Easter Called ‘Easter’?


St. Bede the Venerable, the 6 century author of Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (“Ecclesiastical History of the English People”), maintains that the English word "Easter" comes from Eostre, or Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility. Other historians maintain the “Easter” derives from in albis, a Latin phrase that's pural for alba, or “dawn," that became eostarum in Old High German, a precursor to the English language of today.


Despite its significance as a Christian holy day, many of the traditions and symbols that play a key role in Easter observances actually have roots in pagan celebrations—particularly the pagan goddess Eostre—and in the Jewish holiday of Passover.


Religious Tradition of Easter


The resurrection of Jesus, as described in the New Testament of the Bible, is essentially the foundation upon which the Christian religions are built. Hence, Easter is a very significant date on the Christian calendar.


According to the New Testament, Jesus was arrested by the Roman authorities, essentially because he claimed to be the “Son of God,” although historians question this motive, with some saying that the Romans may have viewed him as a threat to the empire.


He was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect in the province of Judea from 26 to 36 A.D. Jesus’ death by crucifixion, marked by the Christian holiday Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), and subsequent resurrection three days later is said, by the authors of the gospels, to prove that he was the living son of God.


In varying ways, all four of the gospels in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) state that those who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection are given “the gift of eternal life,” meaning that those of faith will be welcomed into the “Kingdom of Heaven” upon their earthly death.


Passover and Easter


Notably, Easter is also associated with the Jewish holiday of Passover, as well as the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, as described in the Old Testament. These links are clearly seen in the Last Supper, which occurred the night before Jesus’ arrest, and the sufferings Jesus endured following his arrest.


The Last Supper was essentially a Passover feast. However, the New Testament describes it as being given new significance by Jesus: He identified the matzah (or bread) he shared with his 12 apostles as his “body” and the cup of wine they drank as his “blood.”


These rituals would come to symbolize the sacrifice he was about to make in death, and became the basis for the Christian ritual of Holy Communion, which remains a fundamental part of Christian religious services.


As Jesus’ arrest and execution were said to have occurred during the Jewish observance of Passover, the Easter holiday is often close to the former celebration on the Judeo-Christian calendar.


Easter Traditions


In western Christianity, including Roman Catholicism and Protestant denominations, the period prior to Easter holds special significance.

This period of fasting and penitence is called Lent. It begins on Ash Wednesday, and lasts for 40 days (not including Sundays).


The Sunday immediately prior to Easter is called Palm Sunday, and it commemorates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, when followers laid palm leaves across the road to greet him.


Many churches begin the Easter observance in the late hours of the day before (Holy Saturday) in a religious service called the Easter Vigil.


In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Easter rituals start with the Great Lent, which begins on Clean Monday (40 days prior to Easter, not including Sundays). The last week of Great Lent is referred to as Palm Week, and it ends with Lazarus Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday.


Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, which ends on Easter.


Easter Eggs


Irrespective of denomination, there are many Easter-time traditions with roots that can be traced to non-Christian and even pagan or non-religious celebrations. Many non-Christians choose to observe these traditions while essentially ignoring the religious aspects of the celebration.


Examples of non-religious Easter traditions include Easter eggs, and related games such as egg rolling and egg decorating.

It’s believed that eggs represented fertility and birth in certain pagan traditions that pre-date Christianity. Egg decorating may have become part of the Easter celebration in a nod to the religious significance of Easter, i.e., Jesus’ resurrection or re-birth.


Many people—mostly children—also participate in Easter egg “hunts,” in which decorated eggs are hidden. Perhaps the most famous Easter tradition for children is the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, when children roll Easter eggs down Capitol Hill.


From brittanica.com: The use of painted and decorated Easter eggs was first recorded in the 13th century. The church prohibited the eating of eggs during Holy Week, but chickens continued to lay eggs during that week, and the notion of specially identifying those as “Holy Week” eggs brought about their decoration. The egg itself became a symbol of the Resurrection. Just as Jesus rose from the tomb, the egg symbolizes new life emerging from the eggshell. In the Orthodox tradition eggs are painted red to symbolize the blood Jesus shed on the cross.


Easter egg hunts are popular among children in the United States. First lady Lucy Hayes, the wife of Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes, is often credited with sponsoring the first annual Easter egg roll (an event where children and their parents were invited to roll their eggs on the Monday following Easter) on the White House lawn, in 1878. That year the event was moved to the White House from the grounds of the U.S. Capitol Building, where large numbers of children had gathered beginning in the early 1870s to roll their eggs and play on Easter Monday. Members of Congress were dismayed by the large crowds on Capitol Hill and feared that the foot traffic was damaging the grounds. By 1876 Congress and Pres. Ulysses S. Grant passed a law that forbade the practice of egg rolling on Capitol Hill. Some historical records note that the Hayes first opened the White House lawn to egg rolling festivities the following year, in 1877, after a young boy asked President Hayes directly for permission to use the space.


The custom of associating a rabbit or bunny with Easter arose in Protestant areas in Europe in the 17th century but did not become common until the 19th century. The Easter rabbit is said to lay the eggs as well as decorate and hide them. In the United States the Easter rabbit also leaves children baskets with toys and candies on Easter morning. In a way, this was a manifestation of the Protestant rejection of Catholic Easter customs. In some European countries, however, other animals—in Switzerland the cuckoo, in Westphalia the fox—brought the Easter eggs.


Easter Bunny


In some households, a character known as the Easter Bunny delivers candy and chocolate eggs to children on Easter Sunday morning. These candies often arrive in an Easter basket.


The exact origins of the Easter Bunny tradition are unknown, although some historians believe it arrived in America with German immigrants in the 1700s. Rabbits are, in many cultures, known as enthusiastic procreators, so the arrival of baby bunnies in springtime meadows became associated with birth and renewal.


Notably, several Protestant Christian denominations, including Lutherans and Quakers, have opted to formally abandon many Easter traditions, deeming them too pagan. However, many religious observers of Easter also include them in their celebrations.


Easter foods are steeped in symbolism. An Easter dinner of lamb also has historical roots, since a lamb was often used as a sacrificial animal in Jewish traditions, and lamb is frequently served during Passover. The phrase “lamb of God” is sometimes used to refer to Jesus and the sacrificial nature of his death.


Today, Easter is a commercial event as well as a religious holiday, marked by high sales for greeting cards, candies (such as Peeps, chocolate eggs and chocolate Easter bunnies) and other gifts.


Do You Know

This month's quiz asks you to identify the correct answers about Lutheranism. How many can you correctly identify?

 

The answers can be seen by clicking the Show Me... button below.

Heresome fun facts about Easter -- and two fake ones. See if you can spot the false one.


1. Eggs have been seen as ancient symbol of fertility, while springtime is considered to bring new life and rebirth.


2. Americans spend $1.9 billion on Easter candy. That’s the second biggest candy holiday after Halloween.


3. 70% of Easter candy purchased is chocolate.


4. 76% of Americans think the ears of a chocolate bunny should be the first to be eaten.


5. Egg dyes were once made out of natural items such as onion peels, tree bark, flower petals, and juices.


6. Eating a soft pretzel and egg wile balancing on one's left foot used to be an Easter tradition.


7. The first story of a rabbit (later named the “Easter Bunny”) hiding eggs in a garden was published in 1680.


8. Bugs Bunny originally appeard in cartoons of the early twentieth century as an egg-stealing rabbit.


9. Easter takes place on a Sunday, after the 40-day period called Lent. Lent is referred to as a time of fasting, but participants focus more on giving up one significant indulgence.


10. “The White House Easter Egg Roll” event has been celebrated by the President of the United States and their families since 1878.




If you have trouble, click Show Me the Answers.