St. Mark Church was started in December of 1985. It was then called the Orange Coast Orthodox Mission, and held services at Fountain Valley High School. Since then our community has experienced constant growth, both in numbers and in faith. We are a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of the U.S. and Canada, within the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.
We have been worshiping at our current location on Sky Park Circle since 1992 and have continued to grow. As we have nearly outgrown our current Sanctuary, we are now looking ahead to building a larger church facility. God has blessed our parish in so many ways!
As we continue to grow in numbers, and we hope in Spirit, we pray that we will continue the “family” atmosphere of our community. Though our parish consists mainly of “cradle” Orthodox of Middle Eastern descent, we have members of other traditionally Orthodox ethnic groups, and adult converts of many backgrounds. We have been, and God willing, will always be a parish open to all that love the Holy Orthodox Christian Faith.
ST. MARK THE EVANGELIST
St. Mark’s name was John in Hebrew, but he is remembered by the Roman name of Mark, a name given to him after his acceptance of Christianity. His socially prominent family was among the first to recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and although there is no mention of his father in Scripture, the fact remains that his mother, Mary, was deeply devoted to Jesus and turned her more than adequate house into a headquarters for the New Faith movement. As such the house of Mary was transformed into a church since the services that were held there, although not the elaborate liturgies that were to come later, were held for the express purpose of worshiping Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
St. Mark knew the great joy of worshiping the living Jesus and of sharing the responsibility of introducing Him to a spiritually darkened world, acting in concert with the most venerated men in Christianity–the disciples and Apostles of the Master.
St. Mark’s mother opened her doors to all comers and it is generally accepted that hers was the house to which the disciples went, the ‘upper room,’ where they gathered after the Ascension. It was in this house that the disciples received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1) and it was to this now sanctified dwelling that Peter turned after being released from Herod’s prison by an angel of the lord. This holy corner of Jerusalem, “Where many were gathered together in prayer” (Acts 12:12), was the scene of the Last Supper of the Savior and after the Ascension and Pentecost the holiest house in the world.
St. Mark preached the word of Christ in many areas, notably in Egypt, Lybia and Pentapolis where his commanding oratory won converts in such great numbers that he was later to become the first Bishop of Alexandria, a city where Christianity took hold despite all manner of pagan resistance. During the reign of Tiberius, St. Mark’s fiery preaching won him not only respect but the envious wrath of pagan dissenters who harassed him at every turn without once diminishing his enthusiasm or shortening his stride for Jesus Christ.
It was during this crusading period in Alexandria that St. Mark found time to compose the Gospel which is part of the New Testament and which reflects his firm resolve and quiet courage. He is also the composer of a Divine Liturgy still used by the Orthodox Church on special feast days and upon which are based the liturgies of St. James, St. Basil, and St. John Chrysostom.
His incessant preaching brought him equally incessant harassment which finally erupted into hostility that made good the threats on his life by the pagan rabble. St. Mark was en route to his Cathedral of Alexandria when he was set upon by a frenzied mob of idol worshippers who pelted the holy man with rocks and dragged him through the streets to be cast into a cell. On April 25 he died for Christ of his wounds.
~ (from Orthodox Saints, volume 2 by George Poulos)