Lazarus Saturday is the day before Palm Sunday (the feast of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem). This Saturday and Sunday are the connection between Great Lent and Holy Week. On the eve of the celebration of the Resurrection of Lazarus, the forty days of Great Lent are formally brought to an end at Vespers. These two days are the unique and paradoxical days before the Lord’s Passion.
The Saturday of Lazaros is counted among the major feasts of the Church. It is celebrated with great reverence and joy. The event of the raising of Lazaros is recorded in the Gospel of John (11. 1-45). The hymnography of the feast interprets the theological significance of the event. Accordingly, the resurrection of Lazaros is viewed as a prophecy in action. It prefigures both the resurrection of Christ, as well as the general resurrection of all the dead in the end times. The hymns of the feast also emphasize the biblical truth that the resurrection as such, is more than an event. It is a person, Christ Himself, who bestows eternal life now upon all who believe in Him, and not at some obscure future time (Jn 11.25-26).
In addition, the resurrection of Lazaros occasioned the disclosure of Christ's two natures, the divine and the human. He manifested His divine power by His foreknowledge of the death of Lazaros and by the final outcome, the miracle of his resurrection. Also, in the course of the dramatic events Jesus displayed deep human emotions. The Gospel records His deep feelings of love, tenderness, sympathy and compassion, as well as distress and sadness. The narrative reports that He sighed from the heart and wept (Jn 11.5, 33, 35, 36, 38).
Troparion (Tone 1)
By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion,
You did confirm the universal Resurrection, O Christ God!
Like the children with the palms of victory,
We cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death;
Hosanna in the Highest!
Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!
Kontakion (Tone 2)
Christ the Joy, the Truth and the Light of all,
The Life of the World and the Resurrection
Has appeared in His goodness to those on earth.
He has become the Image of our Resurrection,
Granting divine forgiveness to all!