On Lazarus Saturday, we celebrate the raising of Lazarus from the dead, an event that preceded the passion of our Lord and constituted one of His few visible triumphs in the earthly life. As we read in the Gospel, Christ arrived at Bethany near Jerusalem to His friend Lazarus, dead for four days. He knew about Lazarus' imminent death, but He delayed His coming. "For your sake, I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe," He said to His Apostles (John 11:14).
When Jesus came to Lazarus’ grave, he wept at the sight of the “very good” creation of God separated from the fullness of joy, life and light in a tomb, lying in darkness and despair. He commands the people to move the tombstone, but the people are reluctant: “by this time there will be an odour, for he has been dead four days" (John 11:39). Jesus prays to His father and cries out to Lazarus, “Lazarus, come out.”
Handpainted icon of the Resurrection of Lazarus made in St Elisabeth Convent*
The icon of the feast shows Lazarus coming up, still in his burial gown. His friends are holding their noses not to breathe in the stench of his decomposing body. The people are astonished as they gather into a crowd to glorify Him.
The raising of Lazarus confronts us with the imminence of our death. “I weep and I wail, when I think upon death, and behold our beauty, fashioned after the image of God, lying in the tomb dishonoured, disfigured, bereft of form,” reads a hymn of Saint John Damascene sung at the Church’s memorial service. The inevitability of death is the result of our falling from God’s grace and obsession with our selfish ambitions. But it is also an affirmation of life. In the Gospel, Lazarus represents every human being, and his resurrection is a reminder of Christ’s ultimate victory over death.
On the 19th of December (6th of December), the Orthodox commemorate one of the most loved and revered saints in the world - Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker. Saint Nicholas means a lot to everyone here at St Elisabeth Convent.
Saint Luke was one of the most modest disciples of Christ. He was not one of the chosen twelve who were constantly beside the Son of God catching His every word and witnessing His blessed deeds.
Should we make compromises even in situations when this may appear as a concession to evil? In which Christian commandments should we take our guidance? We find answers in the life of Saint John the merciful.
Saints Anthony and Theodosius of the Kiev Caves lived in the 11th century. They are commonly regarded as the founders of monasticism in Ancient Rus’, the cradle of today's Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.
On August 4, we commemorate Mary Magdalene, the Holy Myrrh-bearer Equal of the Apostles, in the Belarussian Orthodox Church. There is so much one can learn from the life of this strong, devoted and brave woman.
St. Paulinus was simple and compassionate. He came out of the peasantry and became an archbishop. His cuff is kept as a great shrine in the Novospassky Monastery where he was once tonsured a monk.
The unprecedented historic phenomenon of holiness became the main result of the bloody twentieth century in Russia. It is difficult to find anything comparable to the feat of these people in the whole history of the world.