I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever believeth in me shall never die. ~ St. John 11:25-26
Today Bethany proclaims beforehand the Resurrection of Christ, the owner of Life, and it rejoices at the raising of Lazarus. ~ 1st Ode in Orthros
From the earliest times, the Church has remembered the miracle of the Raising of Lazarus, and its celebration is closely tied to the Feast of the Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Marking the end of Great Lent, Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday are a two-day festal pause, prior to Holy Week.
In Constantinople, Lazarus Saturday was one of the four ancient baptismal days of the Church. We sing the Traditional Trisagion hymn at the Divine Liturgy for this day, As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ… Reminding us that we too, through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, have buried our old nature. By putting on Christ, we come forth reborn anew.
Therefore we are buried with him by Baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in the newness of life. ~ Romans 6:4
In giving us, before Thy Passion an assurance of the General Resurrection, Thou hast raised Lazarus from the dead, O Christ, our God. Therefore, like the children, we also carry tokens of victory, and cry to Thee, the Conqueror of Death: Hosanna in the highest; blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. ~ Troparion, Tone 1
Displaying Thy two energies, O Saviour, Thou hast made manifest Thy two natures: for Thou art both God and man. Though Thou art the Abyss of knowledge, Thou dost ask where they have laid the body of Lazarus. For it was Thy purpose, O Giver of Life, to raise him from the dead. Going from one place to another, Thou hast, as mortal man, appeared circumscribed; but, as God uncircumscribed, Thou fillest all things. At Thy divine word, Thou hast raised Lazarus, O Christ. I pray Thee, raise me also, dead through my many sins. As true God Thou hast known of the falling asleep of Lazarus and hast announced it beforehand to Thy disciples, giving them a proof, O Master, of the infinite power of Thy divinity. Thou who art by nature uncircumscribed wast circumscribed in the flesh; coming to Bethany, O Master, as man Thou dost weep over Lazarus, and by Thy power as God Thou dost raise him on the fourth day from the dead. ~ Beatitude Verses: Ode 3, 4 6, of the Triodion
…If he was not flesh, who wept at Lazarus’ grave? And if he was not God, who by his command brought out one four days dead? If he was not flesh, who sat on the foal? And if he was not God, whom did the crowds go out to meet with glory? ~ St. Ephraim the Syrian
Lazarus Saturday ~ Glory to God for All Things by Fr. Stephen Freeman