In the New Testament gospel of St. John, Jesus raised from the dead a man known as Lazarus of Bethany. This man moved to and lived for 30 years in Cyprus, in part as the island’s bishop. He was canonized as St. Lazarus.
Around 890 AD Emperor Leo VI built Agios Lazaros Church.
over the (second) tomb of Lazarus of Bethany. The stone church is considered the best example of Byzantine (aka the Eastern Roman Empire) architecture and baroque woodwork.
The ornate carved and painted wooden alter was warmly lit by candles reflecting on gold fixtures. In contrast it was a bit harsh to descend into the cold, damp underground crypt. Alone in what was essentially a rock tunnel lit by a bare-bulb, I was surprised by the degree of my own relief at finding the pair of the lid-ajar sarcophagi unoccupied.
Returning upstairs to the church, I noticed some visitors lowered their foreheads onto a glass dome in the lid of a sizable silver chest. I think it was the actual reliquary of St. Lazarus
Next to church is a small museum of church paintings, silver communion trays and chalices, crucifixes and other priestly goods. Of particular beauty, in my opinion, were the intricacies of ecclesiastical embroidery, which attest to the many hours the nuns put into their art.
Unfortunately no photos were permitted within the church nor inside the ecclesiastical museum.