I. In Bethany
On Saturday, the 30th of March/11th of April 2014, namely the Saturday of Lazarus, the raising of the righteous Lazarus “of the four days”, friend of Jesus, was commemorated in Bethany, at the Convent dedicated to Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, and at his tomb.
His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, led the Divine Liturgy. Co-officiating were the Elder Secretary-General, His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantina; the Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop of Lydda; the Most Reverend Metropolitan Theodosios, visiting from the Patriarchate of Serbia; the Most Reverend Nikolaos, Metropolitan of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki, visiting from the Church of Greece; Hagiotaphite Archimandrites and Presbyters, visiting from the Church of Greece; Archdeacon Evlogios and other hierodeacons, cantors visiting from Cyprus, and fathers Joseph and Joseph from Mount Athos. A great crowd of Orthodox faithful from Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Cyprus and Romania participated in devoutness and piety.
To this pious flock, His Beatitude preached the Word of God in Greek.
After Communion and the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude proceeded to the Abbess’ quarters, where nun Eupraxia treated both Him and guests from the Municipal Authority of the town of Bethany to refreshments.
Subsequently, a procession began from the Monastery to the tomb of Lazarus, led by His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop of Lydda. There, the pericope on the Raising of Lazarus was read out, followed by a supplication, which sealed the feast in Bethany.
II. On the Site of the Ascension
The feast of the raising of Lazarus was also celebrated on the Mount of Olives and the Site of the Ascension, due to its adjacency to Bethany.
Vespers for the feast was held at the Pilgrimage Site of the Ascension, where lies the foot trace of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as the ruins of a Byzantine Church, now converted into a mosque. Before the ceremony of the Vespers, a wish was read out on a desecrated Holy Altar, exposed outdoors.
Vespers was led by the Most Reverend Isychios, Metropolitan of Kapitolias, and was followed by a procession to Little Galilee, where stands the church of Galili Viri. There, in the presence of His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, the First Eothinon Gospel was read out, a supplication was made, and the Patriarchal Polychronism chanted, before the procession proceeded to the Ascension site.
On the site, the Divine Liturgy was performed, led by the Patriarchal Commissioner, Isychios of Kapitolias. Co-officiating were Hagiotaphite Hieromonks and deacons, cantors from Greece, students at the Patriarchal School of Sion and the cantors of St James Cathedral, under Mr Rimon Kamar. Praying in devoutness were local Arab-speaking faithful from Jerusalem and elsewhere, praising God that His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, raised Lazarus from the dead.
A festive reception followed at the Monastery of the Ascension, offered by the Hegoumen, monk Achillios.
From the Secretariat-General