Today, April 25th, is Saint Mark’s Day. Ironically, considering my casual interest in saints and iconography, I have no icon of my namesake saint, and I sometimes overlook the feast day itself. Perhaps it’s because the icon that started my collection was that of my middle namesake, Andrew. I never asked my parents why they brought me an Andrew icon instead of a Mark when they visited Greece and the Middle East; such a question would have been ungracious.
It might also be because Saint Mark isn’t what one would call a “glamor” saint. Sure, he wrote one of the gospels. Yes, his symbol is a lion. But he’s the patron saint of what? Cattle breeders. Venice. Notaries and glaziers. And, he’s invoked against . . . fly bites!
Don’t get me wrong, I like my name, I’m just not too excited about the Saint himself. I have to admit, his feast day comes close enough to be overshadowed by a lesser known but much more exciting saint, whose day comes in May. I’ll be sure to mark his day when the time comes.
Incidentally, Saint Mark’s Day is also the ancient Roman festival of Robigalia, the observance of which was meant to magically avert “the spirit of mildew!” Now that’s something I could get behind! When it comes to averting mildew, little short of magic seems affective.