Lazarus is Biblical name that has never really caught on in the English speaking world, he has a morbid and Gothic vibe, he has that feel that belongs in an Anne Rice or Stephanie Meyer novel.
The name is derived from the Greek, Lazaros (Λαζαρος), which is a form of the Aramaic, Lazar. Lazar is in turn an Aramaic form of the Hebrew, male name, Eleazar אלעזר, Elʿāzār, meaning “God’s assistance” or “God has helped.”
I shall go into Eleazar in a separate posting, for now, I shall just focus on Lazarus and his variants, since, he seems to have created a persona all of his own.
In the New Testamant, the name Lazarus is mentioned twice, the strongest association has to be with Lazarus of Bethany, who is mentioned in the Gospel of John as a man who was miraculously resurrected from the dead by Jesus. Another Lazarus is the subject of Jesus’ parable Lazarus and Dives, (recounted in the Gospel of Luke).
In Eastern Orthodox and Catholic traditions, Lazarus of Bethany is revered as a saint, and later apocryphal accounts of his life became popular. Among Eastern Christian traditions, it is believed that Lazarus sailed off to Cyprus to evangelize the inhabitants where he later became the first Bishop Kittim, (Larnaka), other traditions have Lazarus and his sisters relocating to Provence, France, where it is said that he became the first Bishop of Marseilles.
Other forms of the name include:
- Llàtzer (Catalan)
- Lazar Лазарь/Лазар (Croatian/Czech/Bulgarian/Serbian/Russian/Ukrainian)
- Lazarus (English/Danish/Dutch/German/Latin/Norwegian/Swedish)
- Lasarus (Finnish/Swedish/Norwegian)
- Lazare (French: lah-ZAHR)
- Lazaros Λαζαρος (Greek)
- Lázár (Hungarian)
- Lazzaro (Italian)
- Lozorius (Lithuanian)
- Łazarz/Lazarz (Polish: WAH-zahsh/LAH-zahsh)
- Lázaro (Portuguese/Spanish: LAH-sah-roh Latin American Spanish; LAH-thah-ro Iberian Spanish)
- Lazár (Slovak)
- Lasaros (Swedish)
Spanish feminine forms are Lázara and Lazarina.
The designated name-day is December 17.