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47 A.D. (approx)  Lazarus Becomes A Bishop?



  The Church of St. Lazarus in Larnaca (formerly Kittion) Cyprus.  Lazarus' second tomb lies inside.


  There are varying accounts of what eventually happened to Lazarus.  Lazarus was the friend of Jesus that Jesus brought back to life after 4 days of being dead.  The Western church has its stories about what happened to Lazarus, and the Eastern Orthodox church also says it knows, giving a different account.

  But, though I do not claim to know what really happened to Lazarus, I wanted to share the account given by the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. 

  They say that Lazarus had to flee Jerusalem because the Jews wished to kill him.  He represented evidence of the power of Jesus and of Jesus's identity as the actual son of God, and the true Messiah.  Who but the son of God could raise a man from the dead after 4 days? Lazarus had actually begun to smell bad!  Martha, Lazarus's sister, even told Jesus that her brother smelled by then when Jesus made ready to raise Lazarus.  Perhaps she pictured some decomposed corpse being brought back to life, to wander about with his flesh falling off of his bones. 

  But, as is also promised for the coming resurrection of the believers one day, Lazarus had a healthy body when he came forth. At least his body was not noted to be otherwise.

A great many people knew of Lazarus being raised from the dead, and his resurrection was powerful testimony that Jesus really was the Messiah: it was evidence that the leadership of the Jews wanted to be rid of.

  So, Lazarus (and presumably Mary and Martha, and perhaps Jesus's mother Mary, some number of these persons) moved to Cyprus, the little island nation in the Mediterranean not too far off the coast of Lebanon. 

  ***Some legends have Kittim's (Cyprus's) first king - probably around 1100 B.C. - being a great grandson of Esau. Supposedly that king took the name Janus Saturnis, after some false gods. That's certainly a questionable account though.***  

  But back to Lazarus:  Eventually the Apostle Paul came to Cyprus, with the disciple named Barnabus, probably in either 47 or 48 A.D., and they visited with Lazarus and the other brothers and sisters there.  They also appointed Lazarus as the Bishop of a town called Kittion (now called Larnaca) in Cyprus.  By tradition, Mary the mother of Jesus even personally wove part of Lazarus' Bishop's clothing, so she may have been dwelling there with him. 

  This post of Bishop was a job that Lazarus supposedly held for about 30 years.  And then, according to the Eastern Orthodox church, Lazarus died and was buried there.  The inscription on his tomb is said to have read as follows:  "The four-day Lazarus, friend of Christ." 

  In the craziness of the 'sacred relic' era, in 890 A.D. the Emperor of Byzantium, Leon VI, had all or part of Lazarus' bones brought to Byzantium (or Constantinople/Istanbul - same town, different names in different eras.)  As a consolation prize, he built a church in Cyprus over what used to be Lazarus' tomb, and that church still survives.


  The stone coffer in Larnaca, Cyprus, where Lazarus' body long rested before being taken to Byzantium (now Istanbul.)Ironically, it is another empty tomb.  What must Jesus most holy departed followers think of this wrestling over possession of their bones to convey status upon various church locations?


I think this second death of Lazarus might have been around 77 A.D. Maybe I'll try to refine that date a little, but it's good enough for the part of this account I wanted to share, I think.

  The reason I wrote this account for the Deeds of God website, even though it is a contested account, is that I read something about Lazarus's life as the alleged Bishop of Kittim which intrigued me, and which I thought other Christians might find of interest:

  Lazarus, as the Bible tells us, had been dead for 4 days before Jesus raised him from the dead and called him forth from his tomb.  (John chap 11) And so he had seen whatever a person sees in the after life for four days time (four days as experienced on our side of life). 

  In Eastern Orthodox tradition, it was said of Lazarus that he was so profoundly affected by seeing the souls of the dead enduring the states of punishment that their deeds deserved that he never smiled after being raised.  For the 30 some years of his life between when Jesus raised him up until he died again as an old man, Lazarus did not smile....he was just too haunted by what he had seen. Thirty years of being in spiritual shock, so to speak. 

  Except once.  The story goes, as the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church apparently told it, that Lazarus did smile one single time.  Reportedly he was once with some other believers, out and about somewhere in the market place, and they all happened to witness some person - a thief - grab an earthenware vessal and run off with it.

  Supposedly Lazarus was moved by this sight to smile his one and only bemused smile as he said "The clay steals the clay."

©2017 Daniel Curry & 'Deeds of God' Website