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20 June, 2024
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On this Day on 17 September 1625

A description of the church of Saint Lazarus by Pietro della Valle

By Pietro della Valle, 17 September 1625

"Returning early to our vessel, I stopped on the way to see a church of the Greeks, called S. Lazarus. It belonged originally to the Armenians, and in a buttress of its outer walls all the stones are inscribed with Armenian letters.

It is very ancient, entirely of stone, its arrangement fantastic though common among the Greeks, for there are three aisles with a roof supported on four pilasters only, and three domes in a row over the middle aisle, and three apses without.

Within, the space between the piers is used by men, the aisles on either side by women only. Behind the altar they show underground a tomb like a small grotto, which can be entered through a square opening like the mouth of a vault.

This, they say, is the grave of Lazarus who was restored to life by Christ: adding that he built the church, of which he was bishop; that he died here, and that his body was carried later to Constantinople and thence to Marseille,

The truth about this is provided by the miracles which take place daily at the tomb, the sick are healed, and the like. But this is incompatible with the history we have in Breviary, Martyrology, and others."

The above extract is part of a series of Facebook posts by the Centre of Visual Arts and Research (CVAR), home to the Costas and Rita Severis collections. CVAR also houses a library and research center with over 10,000 volumes available to scholars and casual readers. Located on Ermou Street in the heart of the walled city of Nicosia the Costas and Rita Severis collections, include paintings, antique costumes and memorabilia related to the history of Cyprus. The center hosts a wide range of activities, workshops and seminars supported by the Foundation and its partners to promote understanding and peaceful coexistence.

Cyprus  |  on this day  |  history  |  Larnaca  |  Lazarus  |  church  |  Pietro della Valle

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