LAZARUS ( His feast day is June 21st.) :
Saint Lazarus was born in Bethany and he had two sisters, Martha and Mary. Jesus was friends with Lazarus and visited often with his family. Saint Lazarus is known as the Patron Saint of the Poor and Sick by the Catholic Church.
Jesus knew his father Simon and used to visit their home every time he was in the area. He developed so a close friendship with Lazarus, who followed his teaching and ideals.
At the age of 30 Lazarus contracted leprosy an illness that did not have a cure. Leprosy is a disease caused by a highly contageous microbial parasite that infest itself in skin. It shows up as skin lesions. The lesions grow deeper and deeper and affect the nerve and organs.
The word Leprosy comes from the Greek Language and it mean Fish Scales.
Lazarus' sisters, Martha and Maria, sent word to Jesus of Lazarus condition and hoped that he would come and visit. Informed of the seriousness of his condition, Jesus started his journey to Lazarus; but he did not seem to be concerned. By the time Jesus arrived at Bethany, Lazarus was dead and buried for four days..
Both Mary and Martha thought that it was too late because Lazarus had passed but Jesus went directly to his grave.
When Jesus arrived at Lazarus grave he began to pray. Once he completed his prayer he stood up and said in a loud voice "Lazarus, Come Out!" and Lazarus emerged from his grave. Jesus had performed a resurrection and Lazarus was alive and walking. Both Jesus and Lazarus walked back to his home in the cloth Lazarus had been buried in. This became a testament to the miracles of Jesus.
The devotion and friendship that already existed from Lazarus to Jesus grew. As a faithful follower Lazarus became a prophet and a significant Christian that would have a strong impact with people everywhere he went.
In a writing, contained in an eleventh century manuscript, with some other documents relating to St. Magdalen of Vézelay, we first read of Lazarus in connection with the voyage that brought Magdalen to Gaul.members of the family at Bethany, the friends of Christ, together with some holy women and others of His disciples, were put out to sea by the Jews hostile to Christianity in a vessel without sails, oars, or helm, and after amiraculous voyage landed in Provence at a place called today the Saintes-Maries. It is related that they separated there to go and preach the Gospel in different parts of the southeast of Gaul.
Lazarus, of whom alone we have to treat here, went to Marseilles, and, having converted a number of its inhabitants to Christianity, became their first pastor. During the first persecution under Nero he hid himself in a crypt, over which the celebrated Abbey of St.-Victor was constructed in the fifth century. In this same crypt he was interred, when he shed his blood for the faith.
During the new persecution of Domitian, Lazarus at age 60, was cast into prison and beheaded in a spot which is believed to be identical with a cave beneath the prison Saint-Lazare.
It is certain there was early devotion to the saint. Around the year 390, the pilgrim lady Etheria talks of the procession that took place on the Saturday before Palm Sunday at the tomb where Lazarus had been raised from the dead. In the West, Passion Sunday was called Dominica de Lazaro, and Augustine tells us that in Africa the Gospel of the raising of Lazarus was read at the office of Palm Sunday.
A church was built in his honor in Constantinople and some of his reputed relics were transferred there in 890.
Relics of his body were transferred to the new cathedral in Autun in 1146., and re-buried in the cathedral of that town. Again later, he was re-buried in a Sarcophagus at Kition. But the inhabitants of Marseilles claim to be in possession of his head which they still venerate.