Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany

Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany
Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany

Tomb of Lazarus in Bethany is a Muslim and Christian Arab village (pop. 3,600) on the southeast slopes of the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. Bethany was the home of the Lazarus, Mary and Martha and the setting for a number of New Testament events. The Tomb of Lazarus in Bethany has long been venerated by Christians and Muslims alike, and a modern church dedicated to the resurrected saint stands on the site of much older ones. Map.

Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany
Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany

The forecourt of the Franciscan Church of St. Lazarus stands over the west end of the older churches, from which parts of the original mosaic floor are preserved. The west wall of the forecourt contains the west facade of the 6th-century basilica, with three doorways.

The cruciform-plan church stands over the east end of the older churches. Trapdoors in the floor just inside reveal parts of the apse of the 4th-century church (the Lazarium), which was shorter than the 6th-century church. The modern church bears a mosaic on its facade depicting Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The interior is decorated with polished stone and mosaics.

Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany
Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany

Just up the hill on the left is the 16th-century Mosque of al-Uzair. The courtyard is in the Byzantine church atrium and the mosque is built in the vault that formerly supported the west end of the 12th-century church.

Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany
Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany

A further 25m up the hill on the left is the modern entrance to the Tomb of Lazarus, which is accessed by 24 very uneven stone steps. This probably was a rock-cut tomb, but very little of its original form remains. The rock probably collapsed under the weight of the large Crusader church built above it.

Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany
Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany

The original blocked entrance can be seen in the east wall of the antechamber; this alignment suggests the tomb predates the Byzantine churches and may well be from the time of Lazarus.

Even further up the hill is a modern Greek Orthodox church that incorporates a wall of the Crusader church built over the tomb. Nearby are substantial ruins that belong to the Orthodox Patriarchate and are traditionally identified as the House of Simon the Leper (where Jesus was anointed) or the House of Lazarus. The remains of a tower belong to the Crusader monastery (c.1144).

 

 

 

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