Saturday of the Holy and Righteous Friend of Christ, Lazarus

On the Saturday before Holy Week, the Orthodox Church commemorates a major feast of the year, the miracle of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when he raised Lazarus from the dead after he had lain in the grave four days. Here, at the end of Great Lent and the forty days of fasting and
penitence, the Church combines this celebration with that of Palm Sunday.

In triumph and joy the Church bears witness to the power of Christ over death and exalts Him as King before entering the most solemn week of the year, one that leads the faithful in remembrance of His suffering and death and concludes with the great and glorious Feast of Pascha.

According to an ancient tradition, it is said that Lazarus was thirty years old when the Lord raised him; then he lived another thirty years on Cyprus and there reposed in the Lord. It is furthermore related that after he was raised from the dead, he never laughed till the end of his life, but that once only, when he saw someone stealing a clay vessel, he smiled and said, “Clay stealing clay.” His grave is situated in the city of Kition, having the inscription: “Lazarus the four days dead and friend of Christ.” In 890 his sacred relics were transferred to Constantinople by Emperor Leo the Wise, at which time undoubtedly the Emperor composed his stichera for Vespers, “Wishing to behold the tomb of Lazarus . . .”

Meditation – Mark 10: 32-45

True greatness can be discovered by looking upon every person as one’s brother or sister and by seeking to serve that person with selfless love. True greatness is bestowed by God, not the world. True greatness confounds human expectations of self-acquired glory; and it eliminates human friction caused by pride and vanity. True greatness reconciles, liberates, and unites all through the power of the love of Christ. The supreme example of true greatness is Christ Himself who at the Last Supper washed His disciples’ feet and said to them: “I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another’s feet” (Jn. 13:14}.

Christ humbled Himself unto death on the Cross and so God glorified Him with “the name that is greater than any other name, [that is], Jesus Christ [who] is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11).

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