The Anaphora of St. Mark (Cyril) is for several features that are peculiar to it among Eastern liturgies, differentiating it from the Syro-Byzantine type. These features suggest that the structure of prayer is of considerable antiquity.

These features are as follows:

  • The presence of an in the preface.
  • The position of the intercessions before the .
  • The absence of the Benedictus and of any Christological
  • The presence of an epiclesis immediately after the with “fill” as a link word rather than “holy.”
  • The introduction of the anamnesis by “proclaiming” rather than “remembering.”
  • The inclusion of a second epiclesis.

There are early and Coptic versions of the Egyptian Liturgy of St. Cyril. The Ethiopian version of this liturgy was clearly developed at a later date.

The earliest of this liturgy are fragments on pyrus. These fragments are preserved in the University of Strasbourg and probably date from the fourth century. The Museum possesses small fragments written in the sixth or seventh century containing part of the Liturgy of St. Mark.

A Polish archaeological mission working in the Naqlun Monastery discovered several fragments of the deacon’s responses from the Liturgy of St Mark, which probably date from the 9th or 10th century. A Coptic parchment written around the 10th century contained a part of this liturgy.

Unfortunately, this important piece of history perished in a fire at Louvain University. The John Library in Manchester possesses a parchment of the second half of the Anaphora of St. Mark. The Museum has a wooden tablet, crafted around the seventh or eighth century, on which a Sahidic Coptic text is engraved containing a quotation from this liturgy.

In addition to these early sources, many Coptic medieval survive from the complete text of the Liturgy of St. Mark. See the Anaphora of St. Basil for a review of the various editions.