Procession of St Lazarus
Larnacas residents welcome the procession of their patron, St Lazarus, with great cheer. The portrait of Saint Lazarus is brought from the St Lazarus Church for a while. It is then taken through the procession covering all the streets of Larnaca. The procession is led by the priest, who provides a service just before starting off from the church. The feast day of the St Lazarus is considered to be a significant event and the liveliness of Cypriots becomes quite evident during the procession. It is great experience and Larnaca is worth visiting at this time of the year.
The festivals history brings out the significance of this procession. This church has been built in stone, in the middle of Larnaca. It is considered to be the most significant surviving Byzantine monument of Cyprus. The monument was constructed in 890 by the Byzantine Emperor named Leo VI the Wise at a place where St. Lazarus usually rested. The friend of Christ, St. Lazarus, who was believed to have been resurrected, escaped to Kition during 33 A.D. Here St. Lazarus is said to have become the first Patron Saint and Bishop.
If you want to be a part of this procession of St. Lazarus or if you just want to see the whole of it then you can board a flight to Larnaca from any major airport nearest to your city. The opening hours of the church are 8am to 12.30pm and 3.30pm to 6.30pm during summers. During winters the timings are the same during the day but in the evening it remains open from 2.30pm to 5pm. In case you wish to visit the church before the procession you can do so keeping the above timings in mind. The place becomes full of a very vibrant and energetic crowd so it may become difficult for you to see the church completely during the festival.
The procession will take place in the month of March or April next year. The enthusiasm of the crowd is worth watching as it represents their strong faith in the sanctity of the monument. The festival is celebrated 8 days prior to the Orthodox celebration of Easter and not the way the Greeks celebrate it. It is a good idea to plan and be a part of all the significant events that take place in Larnaca such as the carnival that happens around the same time. The Green Monday is also a great festival accompanied by a lot of dance and delightful vegetarian cuisine.