What’s in a Name?

March 23, 2008

I know that I am light on details and I probably have made the telling of the story into some large cosmic happening in my mind, but for me the story of how I was given the name Mark has always held deep spiritual significance. As far back as I can remember my Mother often reminded me of it and how it was important to her and to my destiny in Christ as she believed it would unfold. I’m not quite sure the timing nor the circumstances leading up to “The Naming Event”, (to cosmic?); but at some point late in the pregnancy which eventually resulted in my birth, my parents were apparently having trouble deciding on names. Of course, being the age I am this was well before the advent of Ultrasounds, Sonograms or even hospitals or indoor plumbing for that matter, so those names would have included both boys and girls.

The year was 1954 and my parents who had professed Christ just shortly after moving from New York City’s West Side in 1952 one morning woke to find themselves in the presence of a would-be prophetess. This particular morning my 10 year old sister had risen from bed having had a very memorable dream. In her dream she saw that our Mother’s child was to be a boy, that the boy was to be named Mark after the writer of the earliest Gospel and disciple of Peter and, that one day he would grow up to be a preacher of the Word. (Imagine being reminded of that every time you got into trouble for the first 45 years of your life.) They all decided right then and there that it must have been a dream from the Lord and in obedience, the as yet unborn baby boy was given the name Mark after the good one. Even more unbelievably, for a time at least, he was a preacher of the Word as well.

My point in all of this – and you knew I had one – was really to bring the true significance to light of something that happened to me just last night. I was given a gift. A gift that was far more meaningful to me then I’m sure my gift-or, Father Michael, really understood. I celebrated Great Vespers at St. Luke’s like I often do, and was presented by my Son David with my very first icon. An icon from Father Michael. An icon of my name sake, St. Mark. I know that to Father Michael he was just clearing out an office, happened upon the Icon and seeing the name thought of me and decided to bless me with it. But he then took the time to bless it, anoint it with Holy Water and to seek God for my healing in it; No small thing to the Orthodox. I was so completely touched and appreciative of his heart and kindness toward me. When I saw that the Icon carried the image of the very man I was named for, well, I wanted to be sure that people knew just how much his “simple” gift meant to me and to know that every time I look upon this icon, I’ll be reminded of God’s mercy, faithfulness, kindness and love. I’ll be reminded of a dream and the obedience of my parents and the type of heart I seek to cultivate: A heart like the Son. Thank you Father for men like Father Michael who continue to show me what a true human heart is like.



  1. Hi Mark,
    Thanks for sharing the story of your naming. I have never heard that story before. It is very awesome that your sister was used in that way.

    It is also wonderful to hear about your icon of Mark. That was a very sweet gift. Father Michael rocks! 🙂

    God is good! May he bless you and heal you.

    Lord have Mercy.

  2. How great is this! It makes me smile to see how our God was so aware of YOU from the time you were being woven together in your mom’s womb… up till today!
    Thanks for sharing!

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