October 17, 2017

Synaxarion of the Translation and Placement of the Holy Relics of Saint Lazarus

Translation and Placement of the Relics of St. Lazarus (Feast Day - October 17)


For the Translation.
The friend of Christ is carried through the city gates,
"Lazarus come forth" is said in imitation of Christ.

For the Placement.
Dead Lazarus was concealed in New Rome,
Showing itself to be another Bethany.

The blessed and renowned, and in his reign the most-wise and most-faithful Emperor Leo VI (886-912), moved by divine zeal, and by divine inspiration, first built a most-magnificent and most-beautiful church to the Holy and Righteous Lazarus, along with an entire monastery. After this he sent for and brought from Cyprus his holy relics, which were found underground, placed in a marble coffin, in the city of Kition, after a thousand years passed since his burial. There was uncovered also inscribed on the marble the following words in another language: "Lazarus of the four days and friend of Christ." When his holy relics were brought to Constantinople, they were placed by the emperor in a silver box, then with loving honor he treasured it in the above-mentioned church he built.*

Marble sarcophagus of St. Lazarus in Cyprus


* The marble sarcophagus of Saint Lazarus was found in Kition, where he served as Bishop, sometime in 890, with his relics inside. It was after this discovery that Emperor Leo VI built the church in Constantinople. The translation and placement took place in 898. In recompense, Emperor Leo had the Church of Saint Lazarus erected over Lazarus' tomb in Cyprus, which still exists today. The marble sarcophagus can be seen inside the church under the Holy of Holies. A small portion of the relics was also left behind in Cyprus.

After the sacking of Constantinople by the Franks during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the Crusaders carried the Saint's relics to Marseilles, France as part of the booty of war. From there, later on, they disappeared and up to the present day they have not been traced. However, there are other portions of the relics of the Saint in various parts of the world. 

Saint Lazarus's principle feasts are on March 17 and Lazarus Saturday during Great Lent. On May 4 we repeat the commemoration of the translation of the relics of Saint Lazarus, but this is celebrated at that time with the translation of the relics of Saint Mary Magdalene.