Saint Lazarus the Wonderworker of Mt Galesius near Ephesus was born in Lydia, in the city of Magnesium. An educated young man who loved God, Lazarus became a monk at the monastery of St Sava, the founder of great ascetic piety in Palestine. He spent ten years within the walls of the monastery, winning the love and respect of the brethren for his intense monastic struggles.
Ordained to the holy priesthood by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, St Lazarus returned to his native country and settled near Ephesus, on desolate Mount Galesius. Here he saw a wondrous vision: a fiery pillar, rising up to the heavens, was encircled by angels singing, “Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered.”
On the place where the saint beheld this vision, he built a church in honor of the Resurrection of Christ and took upon himself the feat of pillar-dwelling. Monks soon began to flock to the great ascetic, thirsting for spiritual nourishment by the divinely-inspired words and blessed example of the saint, and a monastery was established there.
Having received a revelation about the day of his death, the saint told the brethren. Through the tearful prayers of all the monks, the Lord prolonged the earthly life of St Lazarus for another fifteen years.
St Lazarus died at 72 years of age, in the year 1053. The brethren buried the body of the saint at the pillar upon which he had struggled in asceticism. He was glorified by many miracles after his death.
St Lazarus is also commemorated on July 17.