Greek Orthodox Web Page

Sidebar

Father Demetrios Serfes
   Fr. Demetrios Serfes

O Lord Jesus Christ,
Son Of GOD,
Have Mercy,
Upon Me,
A Sinner!

"The Jesus Prayer"
Also known as
"The Prayer of the Heart"


Writtings of the Saints

St. Lazarus, The Friend Of Christ,
St. Lazarus,
The Friend Of Christ.

17th Century,
Church of Larnaca, Cyprus
St. Lazarus The Friend Of Christ And First Bishop Of Kition, Cyprus

Compiled by
Fr. Demetrios

This web site is in honor of the birth of the handmaiden of our Lord: Jovana and her Holy Baptism on 13 of September, the loving daughter of Dejan & Nada


The Feast of St. Lazarus is commemorated always on Saturday before Palm Sunday Dismissal Hymn (Tropar).

First Tone : In Confirming the common Resurrection, O Christ God, Thou didst raise up Lazarus from the dead before Thy Passion. Wherefore, we also, like the children, bearing the symbols of victory, cry to Thee, the Vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the highest; blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.

Kontakion.  Second Tone : To those on the earth, * the Joy of all, Christ God, the Truth, * the Light and the Life, * the Resurrection of the world, * in His goodness hath now appeared and is become the true archetype * of the Resurrection of all, * bestowing divine forgiveness on all men.


Introduction by Father Demetrios Serfes

At a very young age and while I  prepared for the holy Priesthood the lesson in the holy Gospel in regards to St. Lazarus spiritually uplifted me (read: John 11:1-44; 12:10-11; and Acts 11:19), and I had always desired to go to the Holy Land in Jerusalem to visit the holy places of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as to visit the tomb of St. Lazarus, and the place he lived with his sisters Ss. Martha and Mary in Bethany. Thanks be to God, I was able to make a holy pilgrimage two times to the Holy Land, and I was able to visit the tomb of St. Lazarus in Bethany on both occasions, as well as the spot where Ss. Martha and Mary had met our Lord upon describing the repose of Lazarus. When I did become a parish priest I also desired to visit Cyprus to learn more about the life of St. Lazarus after he left Jerusalem, sadly enough I have not been to this island.

At this time I do however correspond with a kind servant of our Lord named Dejan Janjic who lives on the island of Cyprus, and this good servant of our Lord Dejan has kindly shared with me information about St. Lazarus which indeed pleased me spiritually.

So now I would like piously to share with you spiritually this information I have discovered after St. Lazarus left Bethany, and lived on the island of Cyprus, and who eventually became a Bishop of Kition, which is now called Larnaca. The Virgin Mary the Theotokos also visited St. Lazarus while he was on the island on Cyprus. This information is presented at the end of this web site.

The Orthodox Church in Cyprus was founded by St. Barnabas the Apostle in 46 A.D., and was under the Jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem up until 325, and then became Autocephalous in 413. The Episcopal Seat is under Archbishop Chrysostom of New Justina and Cyprus. The following are four Metropolitans of the island of Cyprus: Chrysostom of Paphos, Chrysostomos of Kition, and Paulos of Kerinya (occupied part, he is residing in Nicosia), and Chrysanthos of Limassol.


St. Lazarus The Friend of Christ & First Bishop of Kition

Preface:
Larnaca, ancient Kition, is historically connected with three important personalities of the ancient world: the Stoic philosopher Zeno (who was born here), the Athenian general Kimon (who died here while fighting against the Persians for the freedom of Cyprus), and Saint Lazarus, the friend of Christ, who, being persecuted, left Judea and came to Cyprus where he lived the rest of his life as the first bishop of Kition. The coming of Saint Lazarus to Kition is indicated by relative local traditions and, chiefly, by the ancient and magnificent byzantine church which is built over his tomb. This church, is the most important monument of our town and, at the same time, one of the most important pilgrimages in Cyprus. For the sake of the many visitors and pilgrims, we publish this small book -a work of Mr. M.G. Michaelides from Larnaca - which is a short but comprehensive historical guide, concerning the history of the church. (This information has been provided by His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Kition -Larnaca).

Saint Lazarus The History Of His Church At Larnaca
by M.G. Michaelides

Larnaca, ancient Kition. The home of the Stoic philosopher Zeno, has one of the most beautiful and oldest churches in Cyprus: the Church of Saint Lazarus, the friend of Christ. It was built on the very sepulcher of the Saint, who, according to tradition, was the first Bishop of Kition. For some relative information's, let us go back into the past.

A few days prior to the Passion Week,
christraisinglazarus.jpg (13831 bytes)

Christ Raising Lazarus

Christ is going to Jerusalem to give Himself up as a sacrifice "for the life of the world" (John 6:51). Three kilometers on the east of Jerusalem, the holy City, for the last time. Many times He had walked along the streets of these small village because a home was there awaiting Him; the home of Lazarus. According to St. John the Evangelist, "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus."

But this last visit that Christ paid to Lazarus home was not an ordinary one. The two sisters had informed Christ that their sick brother was dying: "Lord, behold; he whom thou lovest is sick". And the Lord declares that, "this sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God", is delayed two days and then He sets out for Bethany where He arrives four days after Lazarus' burial. Jesus "groaned in the spirit" and "wept"; then He stood before the tomb and - being the master of life and death - He restored Lazarus to life, despite the fact that "he had been dead four days" and was already stinking (John 11:1-44).

Later, Lazarus was compelled to seek refuge in Kition, Cyprus, to avoid the anger of the high priests and the pharisees, who wanted to kill him: Really, "the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus" (John 12:1011). Probably, Lazarus left his country when many Christians of Judea "which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, and Cyprus, and Antioch..." (Acts 11:19).

Christ wept for Lazarus because He loved him and his family very much; this was, a great privilege for him. At the same time, Larnaca was also privileged to become Lazarus's native town, a second Bethany. Here he was met by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey to Cyprus and according to tradition, he was ordained by them as the first Bishop of Kition. That's why all the episcopal thrones in the churches of Larnaca bear the icon of St. Lazarus instead of that of Christ, as it is the custom in the Orthodox Church. Here he lived thirty more years, and here he was buried for the second and last time. On his tomb Leo VI the Wise, Emperor of Byzantium, erected, 1100 years ago, the magnificent church, in Byzantine style, we see today.

Saint Lazarus' stay in Larnaca is connected with various tradition. According to one of these, during the thirty years he lived after his resurrection, he never smiled except on one occasion, when he saw someone stealing a pot, when he smilingly said: "the clay steals the clay." He was worried at the sight of the unredeemed souls he had seen during his for day stay in Hades (the redeeming sacrifice of Christ on the cross has not yet taken place nor had his resurrection, which saved man from sin and eternal condemnation).

Another tradition deals with the Saline's (salt lakes) situated in the outskirts of Larnaca. According to this, the Saline's were formerly an immense vineyard. One day the Saint chanced to pass by, and being thirsty, asked the owner for some grapes to quench his thirst, but he refused to offer him any; and when the Saint pointed to a basket which seemed to be full of grapes, he replied that it contained salt. Then the Saint, to punish the wickedness and hypocrisy of those men, turned miraculously the immense vineyard into a salt lake.

Finally, it's worth while to mention also another tradition, about our Lady's and Ever-Virgin Mary coming to Cyprus, to visit St. Lazarus. According to this tradition, Lazarus was very grieved because he could no longer see the Mother of our Lord his friend; for this reason he sent a ship to the Holy Land, to bring Her as well as St. John the apostle and other disciples, to Cyprus. But while the ship with our Lady and Her companions was sailing towards Kition, a great storm in the sea curried them far away, in the Aegean Sea, on the shores of Mt. Athos, in Greece.

Holy Relic Of St.Lazarus Church, Larna Cyprus
Relics of St. Lazarus,
Larnaca, Cyprus

From there, our Lady, after converting the idolaters into Christianity and seeking Her Son's blessings and protection for all those who, in the future, were to "fight the good fight of faith" (as monks and ascetics) on the mountain, She sailed back to Cyprus. Finally, She arrived at Kition where She met Lazarus, to whom She brought, as a present, a bishop's pallium, woven in Her own hands. Having blessed the local Church of Kition, She returned to the Holy Land.

In old times the following custom existed in Larnaca: on St. Lazarus day, which is on Saturday, on the eve of Palm Sunday, various children, holding branches of palters and headed by a boy representing Lazarus, been decorated with red poppies and yellow wild daisies bearing in Cyprus the name of "Lazarus", went round the houses of the parish, where the priests, on one hand, chanted hymns about the raising of the Saint, and the children, on the other hand, sang the "son of Lazarus" (popular song in various versions). On the same day, in the year of the church, in the presence of all the parishioners, took place a representation of the raising of Lazarus. Both the priests and the children participated in the ceremony. These two customs do not exist any longer.

The Church of St. Lazarus in Larnaca has been known to the Christian world since the old times; until the early years of this century it was considered an indispensable supplement to the pilgrimage of the Holy Land.

Besides this, many illness were healed and other miracles were performed here owing to the Saint's grace, as Pietro Della Valle, a Roman nobleman and traveler who visited Larnaca in 1614-1626 informs us: When he had expressed his doubts concerning St. Lazarus' coming to Cyprus, he was given the answer that "this truth is proved by the miracles which the Saint works in his - church daily" (Exerpta Cypria). Its importance, as a great pilgrimage, has been strengthened after the discovery of part of the sacred relics of the Saint in a marble sarcophagus under the altar (This occurred on the 2nd of November 1972, during renovation works in the Church).

As it is known, the holy relics of the Saint were first discovered in 890 A.D. in his tomb in the small church that existed at that time. These were found in a marble sarcophagus on which were inscribed the following: "Lazarus, the foundry dead and friend of Christ". The then Emperor of Byzantium, Leo VI the
The Tomb of St.Lazarus, Larnaca, Cyprus.
The Tomb of St.Lazarus,
Larnaca, Cyprus.
Wise, according to the prevailing custom, carried the holy relics to Constantinople, the capital of the empire, and in exchange, he sent money and technicians to build the church we see today. We cannot admit that people of Kition gave all the sacred relics without keeping even small part for their own town. The fact that only a small part of the relics were not discovered and not all of them, is good proof of their authenticity.

On the east side of the marble sarcophagus which exists today beneath the altar, in which the few remains of the sacred relics were found, one can see the inscription in Greek capital letters, of the word "FILIOU" that is "friend" in genitive case. Most likely this sarcophagus had replaced the original one, if we accept that this was transferred with the main part of the relics to Constantinople.

The event of the transport of the holy relics from Kition to Constantinople was immortalized by Arethas, bishop of Caesarea, in two of his famous speeches, made on the occasion. In the first speech he praises the arrival of the sacred relics from Kition to Constantinople, and in the second one he describes in detail the procession which the emperor formed to carry the relics from Chrysoupolis to the great cathedral of Saint Sophia. Leo, besides the church he had built at Kition after the Saint's name, he also built a second one in Constantinople in honor of the Saint.

After the capture of Constantinople by the Franks in 1204, the Crusaders, besides the other treasures they carried to the West, they also carried the Saint's holy relics to Marseilles, from where, later on, they disappeared and up to the present day they have not been traced.

This famous ancient Church of St. Lazarus erected, as it has already been mentioned, on his sepulcher, is the most precious monument of which Lamaca is proud. Who can enter it and not be moved! An air of grandeur, emanating from early Christianity, a "doric" grandeur which impresses you, characterizes it. Its famous iconostasis, an excellent example of woodcarving, looks like an immense embroidery in gold thread. Innumerable figures of Saints adorn it: beautiful figures, "mystic", filled with "the peace of God that surpasses every mind", holy figures which, during the morning and evening services, seem to bring heaven down to earth. The beautiful iconostasis looks really like a celestial firmament, and its icons like "illuminating stars", a true picture of "an assemble of the firstborn which are written in heaven" (Hebrews 12:13), a picture that reminds us so vividly of the world beyond.

From the architectural point of view, the style of the church of St. Lazarus is tliat of the "domed" churches of Cyprus. It was built, as already mentioned, latter in the 9th century (about 890 A.D.) by Leo Vi the Wise, emperor of Byzantium. It is all built of stone with three aisles and three domes in a row over the middle aisle.

Most likely, the church was originally five domed with a relative extension to the north and south side. Its three domes are today cut off from their basis; according to tradition, these were pulled down during the Turkish occupation of the Island, when a Turkish officer of higher rank  ordered their demolition, because, on entering the port of Larnaca, he kneeled and prayed seeing them, considering them to be the domes of a mosque. According to another version, these domes were destroyed by the Turks during the Greek War of Independence in 1821, as a retaliatory measure.

Around 1750 there was erected the arcade which we see on the south side of the church. In 1857 the present campanile was built. Until then, the church had not a stone belfry and the bells was fastened on wooden pillars on a pedestal. It is known that since the occupation of Cyprus by the Turks in 1571 until the middle of the 18th century, all belfries were banned by the conquerors as well as the use of bells in Christian churches.

The ban was lifted in 1858 after a demand logged by the Christian Orthodox Russia, but even then, the use of bells was allowed only obtaining a permit from the Vizier. In Nicosia, only 1958 a single bell was allowed to be put up in the Phaneromeni church. The church of St. Lazarus in Larnaca however, had belts long before 1856 and the Turks tolerated this, owing to the fact that the people of Larnaca had freer movements because of the existence of the foreign Consulates and of a large European colony in their town.

But long before, during the Frankish period (1192-1570), the church ought to have had an old belfry equally imposing, as it can be seen in old plans of the town of Larnaca published in Europe by travelers of the past centuries, in which the church of St. Lazarus figures with its domes intact and with a very high belfry (Vide for ex., Ol. Drapper, "Naukeurige", Amstrerdam 1688). This must have been pulled down later by the Turks. As the Byzantine did not use to build high belfries, we suppose that this had been built during the Frankish occupation according to the Italian style of high belfries.

The windows of the church were formerly, by far smaller and narrower than those of today, and let little light get into the church, according to the requirements of the Byzantine church architecture [Vide Impressions of Seigneur de Villamont, a foreign traveler of 1589, in "Excerpta Cyrpia"].

Generally speaking, the architecture of the church, which is rare old style, seems to have impressed the foreign travelers, as we see in their published impressions: Alexander Drummond, for example, an English Consul at Aleppo, Syria, who visited Cyprus in 1745, writes the following: "In the town of the Salines [as Larnaca was then known to the Europeans] there is a church dedicated to St. Lazarus; its architecture is such that I have never seen before". Also, the person mentioned before, Pietro Della Valle {1614-1626}, describes the church as "an old one, built in a very beautiful architectural style" ["Excerpta Cypria"].

The iconstasis, is of exceptional art and is considered as one of the finest examples of wood carving in Cyprus. This one, as well as that of Tripiotis church at Nicosra. Its construction began in 1773 and was completed in 1782. A short time later, in 1793-1797, it was covered with gold, whereas the icons' paintings on it were completed by the painter Hadji-Michael and his apprentices or associates.

The iconostasis is adorned with 120 icons of wonderful craftsmanship; 13 big ones in the lower row and 60 smaller ones in the two upper rows (30 icons in each); 25 at the doors to the Sanctuary and 4 in the near the Crucifix at the top with a symbolic representation of the "pelican" at the base of the cross. The rest are small cyclical icons, 16 half the height of the iconstasis and 2 at the top.

The holy altar is a masterpiece of wood carving (a product of 1773), as well as the bishop's throne with the icon of St. Lazarus, dating 1734.

In the church, the following precious old byzantine icons are kept, belonging, most likely, to an earlier iconstasis. One, is that of St. Lazarus as a bishop bearing a multi-cross chasuble; another, of Byzantine popular art, is that of raising of Lazarus; four other big icons placed on wood-carved stands that adorn the four piers of the central dome, are: a russian icon of the Virgin covered with silver gilt, another of raising of Lazarus, one of St. Nicholas, and one of St. George with scenes from his life, dating 1717, a work of Iakovos Moscos, the Cretan.

It seems that in former times the inside of the church was covered with frescos because, until the last century some frescos could be traced on the piers of the central dome. These frescos must have been destroyed probably by the abundant humidity in the vicinity of Larnaca and especially of the Scala quarter, where the altimeter is slightly higher than that of the sea. [Until the middle of the last century the land southwest of the church, as from as the Salt lake, formed an immense marshy place known as the "Lakes of St. Lazarus".]

In very old times when the Scala area [St. Lazarus quarter] was till uninhabited and the town confined to old Larnaca, St. Lazarus Church, lonely as it was, functioned as a monastery. During the Frankish occupation it was converted by the Franks into a Benedictine (Roman Catholic) monastery, while for a short time it came under Armenian Roman Catholics.

When the Turks conquered Cyprus in 1570 they occupied the Church, as they had done with all the church's processed by the Latin's, until 189 when the Church was given back to the Orthodox Christians for 3000 coins. At the same time, the Roman Catholics were allowed to have religious services twice a years, on St. Lazarus' day and on St. Mary Magdalene's day, in the small chapel adjoining the sanctuary in the north aisle of the Church. This privilege was revoked in 1784 owing the efforts of Archbishop Chrysanthos [1767-1810] and the bishop of Kition Meteios A' [1776-1790], because the Roman Catholic Church, quoting their privilege, laid claims of joint ownership to the Church. At the north entrance to the Church, there still exists the five cross emblem of the Latin's, and in the north aisle, in the small chapel adjoining the sanctuary, the small Roman Catholic altar is still preserved as evidence of the Roman Catholics' presence in the previous years.

Early in the 18th century, when the Scala area was growing into a second town near the old town of Larnaca, the Church of St. Lazarus was made the parish Church of the whole new town of Scala. Until the middle of the 19th century, it was known as a quot;Monastery" [as the relevant documents of the period testify], despite the fact that long before it had ceased to be such. The rooms and cells all round, the monastic ritual preserved, the many divine services, and the numerous Church staff it had, still gave it the aspect of a monastery. The divine services in this Church were always conducted with a certain dignity and magnificence.

The rooms adjoining the Church, were formerly about twenty in number, and were used in the past centuries as hostels were travelers, pilgrims and traders stayed. On the north-west side of the yard, there is situated a small Protestant cemetery, with beautiful marble carved graves, where European merchants, sailors, English Consuls and American missionaries were buried.

The Church of St. Lazarus was bound up in a unique manner with the life of the people of Larnaca. Let me give you here, a short reference of the history of the town. The twin towns of Larnaca and Scala, that formerly were about one mile apart, were built during the Middle ages at the site and on the ruins of ancient Kition. Originally, during the Franco Venetrian occupation [1192-1570] only Larnaca existed as a town, situated one mile from the sea, known to the Europeans as Marina, was made up of port stores and a small settlement around the Church of St. Lazarus, for the needs of the port and the exploitation of the salt lakes [whose salt, collected by far larger quantities than today, had a great demand in Europe because of its exceptional quality].

In the 15th century when the port of the medieval Famagusta declined, that of Larnaca was improving to such a degree, that for five centuries (15th to the close of the 19th) was one of the leading trading ports in the eastern Mediterranean, one of the most important centers of the trans-shipment of merchandise between Europe and the Middle East. That's why various European countries of that time, France, England, Austria, Naples, Venice, Ragusa, Sicily, Spain, Russia, Greece, Holland and others, had established in Larnaca their colonies and Consulates. With the importance that its port was beginning to acquire (it was then, protected by nature and rendered safety and facilities) and the frequent sailing of vessels, the insignificant, until then, seaside settlement was animated, especially towards the end of the 17th century early in the 18th, and gradually a new town was springing up, the town of Scala. During the second half of the 18th century it was already a flourishing small town close to old Larnaca, with a European air in its life because of the presence of hundreds of Europeans (traders, Consuls and others) who had settled permanently in the twin towns.

Thus, during the Turkish occupation, the town of Scala Larnaca was the only window of Cyprus to the outside world, and the point of contact with countries overseas, a beam of light and civilization during those had days of slavery. While Nicosia was the administrative capital of Cyprus, Larnaca was the diplomatic and commercial center; until the beginning of the 20th century it continued to be the leading factor in the social, educational, cultural and commercial life of the Island. But after the Consulates were transferred to Nicosia and the improvement of the ports of Franagusta and Limassol, Larnaca began to decline and lost its old splendor and importance.

The Church of St. Lazarus is so closely connected with the life of Larnaca that its history is also the history of the town itself. For at least two and half centuries from the 18th to the mid twentieth it was the religious, ethnic, philanthropic and educational center of the town, and the axis round which turned its religious and social life. The historian N. Kyriazis in his book. "The town of Larnaca in the light of historic documents", says: "Among the few churches in Cyprus that had drawn the attention and made history, that of St. Lazarus occupy undoubtedly, a special place"; and, "Few churches in Cyprus have to show such a multifarious  activity as that shown by St. Lazarus Church. It founded and maintained schools, took care of hospitals and of cemeteries, helped the poor and was the guardian and custodian of the interests of the townsmen, the supporter and helper of every one in need, a strong and wise representative of the town and its interests..."
 
The affairs of the Church were in the hands of a Committee appointed, up to 1854, according to merit; after 1854 the Committee was elected by the parishioners. Since 1734 the members of the Committee and their activities have been on record; before that date we have not any written evidence. During the Turkish occupation the Church Committee was considered as the Committee of the whole Scala community, being highly esteemed by the townsmen who referred to it for the solution of their problems; at the same time, the Turkish authorities looked upon it as a factor that had to be considered.

In education the of of the Church of St. Lazarus was really unique. Early in the nineteenth century, in Scala Larnaca there were functioning private schools which only a few rich people could attend of the present century. One of these public schools was founded in 1857 in the yard behind the Church; the building is still preserved with a relative inscription on the facade.

During the years of the Turkish occupation and the first decades of the British administration, the Church played also an eminent old in the filed of philanthropy and social welfare, because such institutions were lacking from the part of the State.

Finally, it must be noted that when the president of the Church Committee was the historian Dr. N. Kyriazis (1922-24 and 1927-28) a "Museum of St. Lazarus" was created; this was housed in the above mentioned building of the public School in the yard, behind the Church. The Museum contained many Byzantine icons (which, most likely, belonged to an older iconostasis) and other Church treasures. Unfortunately, these objects were later removed to the Castle, in the Turkish quarter of Scala, where the Larnaca District Museum was situated; as a result, during the Turkish riots of 1963 whose objects fell into Turkish hands and disappeared.

Today, when all the sectors of social activities have come under state control, the role of the Church of St. Lazarus is confined to the religious life of the town. The big bells that adorn enormous campanile, diffuse, almost every day, their melody to all the directions in the town, their familiar sound begins interwoven with the daily life of the people of Larnaca. These bells, for many generations now, invite the faithful to the morning and evening services, to the official Doxologies (Te Deums) and ceremonies, and other divine services. Quite special importance is given to the official ceremonies (Vespers, Matins, Divine Liturgy, and litany with the Saint's icon through the streets of Larnaca), held during the Saint's day (Saturday before Palm Sunday) and the eve of that day. One these days the people of Larnaca feel nearer to the Holy Places; they live the divine drama of the glorious moments that proceed the Resurrection, in a second but real "Bethany", close by the tomb of the beloved friend of Christ.

This is, a brief, the history of the Church of St. Lazarus the friend of Christ, first Bishop of the see if Kition and Patron Saint of Larnaca, whose send and final tomb is jealously kept in this beautiful, one thousand years old, Byzantine Church.

Source : "Saint Lazarus, The Friend Of Christ And First Bishop Of Kition", Larnaca, Cyprus, 1984, written by M.G. Michaelides.

The translation for the "Dismissal Hymn" and "Kontakion" to St. Lazarus is from: "The Great Horologion"., Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, Massachusetts, 1997., p. 608.

I certainly want to humbly thank the servant of our Lord: Denjan Janjic for this information, and for sharing this with us all.

"The Theotokos The Mother Of God On Cyprus Who Visited St. Lazarus The First Bishop Of Kition"

Returning from Ephesus and Antioch, the Mother of God then remained in Jerusalem for a considerable period. During this time, St. Lazarus, whom the Lord had raised from he dead on the fourth day of his reposed (John 11:14-44), was living on the island of Cyprus. The Apostle Barnabas had consecrated him as bishop.

Now St. Lazarus had a great longing to behold the Theotokos whom he had not seen in a long while. However he dared not enter Jerusalem for fear of the Jews, who still sought him. The Theotokos learned of this and wrote St. Lazarus, the true friend of her Son, a letter wherein she comforted him. She asked him to send a ship to her that she might visit him in Cyprus, for she would never demand of him to come to Jerusalem for her sake. When the holy Lazarus read her letter, he will filled with tremendous joy and, at the same time, he wondered at her great humility.

Without a moment's delay, he sent a ship for her together with a letter of reply. Whereupon, the Theotokos, together with Christ's beloved disciple, John, and others, who reverently accompanied them, set sail. It is said that she had sewn St. Lazarus an omphorion (a bishop's stole, pall) with epimanikia (cuffs) and that she wished to present them to him personally. The year was 52 A.D.
 
Editors notes: after a violent storm the Theotokos ended up in Ephesus and later Holy Mt. Athos....finally she was able to go now to Cyprus.

After praying for the new flock on the Holy Mountain (Mt. Athos), the Theotokos and those with her entered the ship with joy, and set sail for Cyprus. Upon arriving in Cyprus, she found the holy Lazarus in great sorrow, for he feared that her delay had been caused by a storm. He was unaware that divine providence had brought her to Mount Athos. However, her arrival speedily changed her sadness into joy. The Theotokos then presented him with the omophorion and epimanikia that she made for him. She then related to him all that had happened in Jerusalem and on the Holy Mountain. They then offered up thanksgiving for everything.

After staying in Cyprus for a short while and consoling the Christians there, she blessed them and journeyed back to Jerusalem."

Source: "The Life Of The Virgin Mary, The Theotokos", written and compiled by Holy Apostles Convent., Buena Vista, Colorado, 1990., pp. 432 & 439.

I would like to humbly thank Dejan Janjic for assistance in sending me this spiritually rewarding information "St. Lazarus Friend of Christ".

Holy Saint Lazarus,

Pray Unto God, For Us!
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!



father@serfes.org - 8-10-98

Top | Back