The Transfer of the Relics of Righteous Lazarus of the Four-Days, Bishop of Kiteia

Commemorated on October 17

      The Transfer of the Relics of Righteous Lazarus of the Four-Days, Bishop of Kiteia, was made in the IX Century. Righteous Saint Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary (Magdalene), lived in the village of Bethany, not far from Jerusalem. During His earthly life the Lord Jesus Christ often visited the house of Lazarus, whom He much loved and called His friend (Jn. 11: 3, 11), and when Lazarus had died and lain four days already in the grave, the Lord resurrected ("voskresenie") him from the dead (Jn. 11: 1-44). (The Resuscitation ("voskreshenie") of Lazarus is remembered by the Church on Saturday of the Sixth Week of Great Lent – "Lazarus Saturday".) Many of the Jews in hearing about this themselves came to Bethany, and being persuaded in the reality of this most remarkable wonder, became followers of Christ. And because of this the high-priests wanted also to kill Lazarus. Righteous Lazarus is mentioned in the Holy Gospel yet one more time: when the Lord had come again to Bethany 6 days before the Passover, and the resuscitated Lazarus was again also there (Jn. 12: 1-2, 9-11). After his resuscitation Saint Lazarus lived yet another 30 years, as a bishop on the island of Cyprus, where he spread Christianity and peacefully reposed.

      The holy relics of Saint Lazarus were discovered in Kiteia. They were within a marble coffin, upon which was inscribed: "Lazarus of the Four-Days, the friend of Christ". The Byzantine emperor Leo the Wise (886-911) gave orders in the year 898 to transfer the relics of Saint Lazarus to Constantinople and place them within the church of Righteous Lazarus.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.