Church Of Saint Lazarus
The Church Of Saint Lazarus is located in Larnaca town center close to the coastal road and other historic monuments in the city. Sourrounding the church is a picturesque square with cafeterias and shops known as Saint Lazarus Square. The church is dedicated to Saint Lazarus, the friend of Jeasus who was miraculously brought back to life after his death by Jeasus.
According to the Greek Orthodox tradition, Saint Lazarus after his resurrection travelled to Cyprus. Then the apostoles Paul and Barnabas consecrated lazarus as bishop of Kition, which is in Larnaca. His relic was found in 890 after the Arab raids and were enshrine in some place before they were sent to Constantinople. The church was built in the 9th century A.D. to house the tomb. The tomb was part of a catacomb and contained several sarcophagi. During the Frankish rule in Cyprus the church came under the Latin Catholic church. In the 17th century the church was reconstructed.
An open porch with stairs lead the visitors into the church. At the porch there are Greek, Latin and French inscriptions. A bell tower with Gothic decorations was added to the construction during the reconstruction. Entering the church the visitor is impressed by the majestic atmosphere and the grandeur of the construction. The interior consists of a central area, two aisles and three domes. An eye catcing feature is the 300 year old elevated pulpit in Rococo style. However, the most astonishing thing to see is the wood carved iconostasis dating to the 18th century. It is unique for it's dimensions and detail in carved decorations. The iconostasis was damaged in a fire that occured in 1970 but it was partly restored. Some of the most notable icons found at the Church Of Saint Lazarus include one dedicated to The Mother Of God and Child Jesus at the north side, an icon depicting Saint George and the dragon dating to 1717, an icon of Saint lazarus depicting his raising, which is silver filigree. Finally there is a second icon of the raising of Saint Lazarus. This icon is silver coated and is carried at a special formal procession, at the presence of Kition Bishop, that takes part on Easter Sunday.
Finally any visitors should descent the stairs at the southern side of the apse leading to the catacomb with several sarcofagi among wich the empty marble sarcofagus of Saint Lazarus.
As comented by foreign visitors, the Church Of Saint Lazarus is a must see when in Larnaca as it is a building that combines the Byzantine architecture with Venitian influences, such as the Gothic pediment and the baroque iconostasis, which were actually constructed by Cypriots.