Lazarus of BethanyBiblical Figure / Saint
Born: c. 5 A.D.
Died: c. 30 A.D. and, again, ?
Best known as: The dead man raised by Jesus of Nazareth
Lazarus, a beloved friend and follower of Jesus of Nazareth, dies and is brought back to life in a story appearing in the New Testament section of the Christian Bible. As told in the 11th chapter of The Gospel According to John, Jesus arrives in Lazarus' hometown, Bethany, four days after his death. Greatly moved, he orders the burial cave's entryway opened and calls, "Lazarus, come out." Lazarus does so, his hands, feet and face still wrapped in cloth. John reports this miracle as the beginning of the earthly end for Jesus, whose religious opponents are so agitated by it that they start plotting to kill him. Lazarus is also the name of a character in an unrelated parable told by Jesus in the 16th chapter of Luke. That Lazarus is a poor man reduced to begging at the gate of a rich man's estate. Both Lazaruses are considered saints in some Catholic and Orthodox branches of the Christian religion.
Extra credit: Lazarus (Lazaros in Greek, Eleazaros in Hebrew) means "God has helped"... Among the mourners in Bethany are two women visited by Jesus in another Gospel (Luke 10:38-42): Mary and Martha, Lazarus' sisters... The raising of Lazarus has been depicted by dozens of artists, including Rembrandt and Van Gogh... Christian legends not found in the Bible say Lazarus later wound up variously in Syria, Constantinople and France. Ancient churches in the last two places each claimed to have his remains, and some even believe he was the first bishop of Marseilles... An obscure third saint by the same name is St. Lazarus Zographos, a 9th-century monk and painter... In the 20th century, a chain of U.S. department stores was also named Lazarus, after its founding family.
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