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July 17, 2018

Translation of the Relics of Saint Lazarus of Mount Galesion

Translation of the Relics of St. Lazarus of Mount Galesion (Feast Day - July 17)

Saint Lazarus the Wonderworker of Mount Galesion near Ephesus was born in Lydia, in the city of Magnesia. An educated young man who loved God, Lazarus became a monk at the Lavra of Saint Savvas, the founder of great ascetic piety in Palestine. He spent ten years within the walls of the monastery, winning the love and respect of the brethren for his intense monastic struggles and virtue.

Ordained to the holy priesthood by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Saint Lazarus returned to his native country and settled near Ephesus, on desolate Mount Galesion. Here he saw a wondrous vision: a fiery pillar, rising up to the heavens, was encircled by angels singing, “Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered.”

On the place where the Saint beheld this vision, he built a church in honor of the Resurrection of Christ and took upon himself the feat of dwelling on a pillar as a stylite. Monks soon began to flock to the great ascetic, thirsting for spiritual nourishment by the divinely-inspired words and blessed example of the Saint, and a monastery was established there.

Having received a revelation about the day of his death, the Saint told the brethren. Through the tearful prayers of all the monks, the Lord prolonged the earthly life of Saint Lazarus for another fifteen years.

Saint Lazarus died at 72 years of age, in the year 1053. The brethren buried the body of the Saint next to the pillar upon which he had struggled in asceticism. At some point his body was moved from this temporary location to a more permanent one on Mount Galesion, some time between 1058 and 1100 (one manuscript of his Life dated at the earliest to 1058 does not mention it, while another from the eleventh century does mention it). This translation evidently took place on July 17th because it was the feast of Saint Marina, to whom the church next to the pillar of Saint Lazarus was dedicated to.

He was glorified by many miracles after his death. Saint Lazarus is also commemorated on November 7.