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April 10, 2020

Saturday of Lazarus (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos)

By Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

On this day our Church celebrates the resurrection by Christ of His friend Lazarus.

From the Horologion we have received what follows:

"Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary, were friends of Jesus, giving Him hospitality and serving Him many times (Lk. 10:38-40, Jn. 12:1-3). They were from a village of Judea, Bethany by name, situated towards the east of the foot of the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem about two Roman miles away. Just days before the Savior's Passion Lazarus fell ill, and his sisters sent a message regarding his illness to Jesus, who was then in Galilee. Having purposefully remained there for a few days, until Lazarus had died, He then said to His disciples: 'Let us go down to Jerusalem, that I may wake my friend who lies sleeping;' by sleeping He meant death. Arriving in Bethany, He consoled the sisters of Lazarus, who had been buried four days prior. He was deeply moved and troubled in His spirit over the death of His beloved friend. He asked: 'Where have you laid his remains?' He wept for him. Approaching the tomb, He ordered for the stone to be removed, then raising His eyes above, He thanked God the Father, and with a great and loud voice he cried out: 'Lazarus, come forth.' Then he who was four days dead immediately came forth, wrapped in a shroud. To those who were there, He said: 'Unwrap him and let him go' (Jn. 11:44). This is the supernatural miracle of the Savior that we celebrate today. There is an ancient tradition which says that Lazarus was thirty years old when the Lord raised him, and that he lived another thirty years till he reposed in Cyprus in the year 63, and that his tomb is there near the city of Kition, upon which is inscribed: 'Lazarus who was four days dead and the friend of Christ.' In the year 890 his sacred relic was moved to Constantinople by Leo the Wise, who unambiguously composed for him the idiomela of Vespers: 'O Lord, wishing to see the tomb of Lazarus', etc."

The apolytikion of this day is as follows:

"By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your Passion, You confirmed the universal resurrection, O Christ God. Like the children with palms of victory, we cry out to You, O Vanquisher of Death: Hosanna in the highest, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord."

On this day there are no memorials with kollyva. If there is need a simple funerary Trisagion can be done.

Source: Περίοδος Τριωδίου, Πόρος Τροιζηνίας: Ιερόν Ησυχαστήριον Κεχαριτωμένης Θεοτόκου Τροιζήνος, 2011. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.