Cyprus: the Story of Lazarus
Hello everybody, thank you for your comments! Lots of people follow this blog and it makes me very happy. Margaret, it was nice to hear from you and I did say Hi to the group from you. Today, the temperature was 39 degrees Celsius but we had fun and I have two more religious legends for you. First St Lazarus in Larnaka!?!
According to tradition, shortly after he rose from the dead, thanks to Christ’s miraculous intervention, Lazarus was forced to flee Bethany. His boat landed here in Kition, today’s Larnaka, where he was ordained as a bishop and canonised by the Apostles Barnabas and Paul. He remained a bishop for a further 30 years and when he died for the second time was buried in a hidden tomb.
In 890 the tomb was discovered, bearing the inscription ‘Lazarus friend of Christ’. Byzantine Emperor Leo VI had Lazarus’ remains sent to Constantinople and built the current church over the vault to appease local Christians. The remains were moved again, to Marseille, in 1204.
The Tomb of Lazarus is under the apse of the Agios Lazaros church. Several sarcophagi were supposedly found in this catacomb when it was first discovered but only the empty tomb now remains. In 1972 human remains were found under the church altar; some believe that the remains are those of St Lazarus, possibly hidden here by priests in anticipation of any theft. (Lonely Planet Travel Guide, Cyprus, 2015)
This is where his relics are kept today:
According to tradition, Lazarus fled Jerusalem with his sisters Martha and Mary. He was appointed Bishop of Kition by Paul. He lived here for 30 years, only smiling once before he died for the second time.
And now I would like to present another amazing story, this time about a church that was built by Angels:
Church of Panagia Angeloktisti in Village of Kiti.
According to local tradition, the residents of ancient Kition moved to Kiti in order to escape the Arab invasions. In Kition they decided to erect a church in honour of the Virgin (Panagia). While building the church, they realised that the foundations had moved to a different location overnight. After the miracle had occured the villagers then changed the location of the church and noticed that an army of angels was coming down at night to build it; hence the name ‘Aggeloktisti’ (‘built by Angels’). (Source: http://www.eurovelo8.com/
When the church was built, the walls were entirely covered with mosaics. Today, not many of them still exist. The best one is in the apse of the sanctuary:
And here are the local parishioners having a nice conversation with their priest after the three-hour long Sunday Divine Liturgy: