Lazarakia

This tradition observes the miracle when the Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ raised His friend Lazarus from the dead after four days in the tomb.

Practiced in Greece & Cyprus, the tradition of baking Lazarakia (Lazarus Breads) honours this awesome event and pays respect to St Lazarus. It is worth noting this tradition started in Cyprus where St Lazarus was the first bishop of the island.

It is worth mentioning the arms are folded and the body appears to be wrapped – this is a reminder that St Lazarus was truly dead and wrapped in his burial cloths when Christ came to resurrect him. Some Lazarakia have his legs bound, some cut a split to create legs to represent St Lazarus walking out of his tomb.



Lazarakia
yields approx. 12

Ingredients:
4 ½ tsp. dry yeast
12-14 cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tsp. salt
2 ½ - 3 cups lukewarm water
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. aniseed or anise extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Optional:
1 tsp. mahlepi
½ tsp. masticha

Directions:
1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.      Dissolve yeast in ½ cup of the 2 ½ - 3 cups lukewarm water.
3.      Add sugar and salt and stir well.
4.      Add remaining water, oil, cinnamon (incl. optional mahlepi & masticha) 6 cups flour & stir the mixture until creamy.
5.      Slowly add enough of remaining flour to make a medium dough.
6.      Divide dough into however many Lazarakia you'd like and roll into logs. Cut slits for arms and legs. Cross arms across chest and pinch a head. Put cloves for eyes.
7.      Place on slightly greased cookie sheets, cover with towel and let rise for about an hour or until almost doubled in size.
8.      Bake loaves for 20-30 minutes or until hollow when tapped on bottom.
9.      While baking boil aniseed and 1 cup water. When Lazarakia are finished brush top of loaves with this mixture and sprinkle with powdered sugar while still wet. This creates a type of glaze.


Songs to sing
As St Lazarus’ arms are folded over his chest, legs cut and cloves inserted for his eyes:
Lazarus was in the tomb four days,
when Jesus came and to the Father prayed.

‘Lazarus, come forth!’ he said,
The Lord whom the five thousand fed.

Then Lazarus arose and many were in fear.
Let everyone with ears now hear.

This is another song to sing after having baked the Lazarakia, at home or Church:
Where were you Lazarus,
Where was your voice?

Your mother and your sisters
Were looking for you.

"I was in the Earth
Deep in the Earth buried.

And among the dead
Among the dead I tarried.

Along came Christ and
resurrected me!
Along came Christ and
resurrected me!
Along came Christ and
resurrected me!
(The last 3 sentences are sung as one raises their Lazarakia high in the air).

Through the prayers of St. Lazarus, Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us!



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