St. Lazarus Roman Catholic Church, al-Eizariya

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Church of Saint Lazarus
Palestine Bethany Lazarus church.jpg
St. Lazarus Roman Catholic Church
Basic information
Location State of Palestine al-Eizariya
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Year consecrated April 2, 1954[1]
Architectural description
Architect(s) Antonio Barluzzi
Completed 1953[2][1]
Length 17.7 metres (58 ft)
Width (nave) 7.7 metres (25 ft)[dubious ]

St. Lazarus Church is a Roman Catholic church located in the West Bank town of al-Eizariya, identified with biblical Bethany. The church is located in close proximity to what Christian tradition holds to be the tomb of Lazarus and the site of the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.


In 1863, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land gained title to a plot of ground close to the tomb of Lazarus. Other areas were acquired later.[2]

Between 1952 and 1953 a modern church dedicated to St. Lazarus and designed by Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi was built on this property.[2]


The modern church stands the eastern part of the remnants of the former Byzantine and Crusader churches.[2] The courtyard of this church stands over the west end of the older churches. Parts of the original mosaic floor are still visible here.[3] The west wall of the courtyard contains the west facade of the 6th-century basilica, as well as its three doorways.

About twenty-five metres up a hill northwest of the church is the modern entrance to the traditional tomb of Lazarus.

The church is has a cruciform plan and stands over the east end of the older churches. "Its walls are almost hermetically sealed and windowless. The dome is solidly incorporated into [the] octagonal drum overhead. All this suggests a subterranean vault, lonely as a grave... The soaring higher elements, crowned by the dome with its flood of light, suggests the joy of intense hope and optimism.[2]

Visitors can view parts of the apse of the ancient "Lazarium" through trapdoors in the floor, just inside the main entrance.

The modern church includes a facade mosaic depicting Mary, Martha and Lazarus; and the interior is decorated with polished stone and mosaics. The designs for the mosaics of the church were done by Cesare Vagarini. The work itself was carried out by the Monticelli company of Rome, which was also responsible for the mosaic decoration in Barluzzi's churches at Mount Tabor (the Church of the Transfiguration) and the Gethsemane Garden (the Church of All Nations).[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cassar, Elizabeth (2017). Who Was Saint Lazarus?. Malta: Lulu Press, Inc. ( Online Self Publishing Book & eBook Company. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-1-326-92943-5. OCLC 986970813. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bushell, Gerard OFM, Church of Saint Lazarus in Bethany, originally in: The Churches of Antonio Barluzzi, editor: Peter C. Nicholson, The McCabe Educational Trust, accessed 1 March 2018
  3. ^ Mariam Shahin (2005). Palestine: A Guide. Interlink Books. p. 332. ISBN 1-56656-557-X. 

Coordinates: 31°46′18″N 35°15′23.15″E / 31.77167°N 35.2564306°E / 31.77167; 35.2564306