Le premier des deux Lazare est évoqué par Luc (XVI, 19-31).
Pauvre homme couvert d'ulcères, lèché par les chiens, il agonise à la porte d'un riche sans que celui-ci lui porte secours.
A sa mort, il est accueilli dans le sein d'Abraham, tandis que le riche va en enfer.
Le riche supplie
Abraham d'envoyer Lazare pour qu'il apporte une goutte d'eau sur le doigt.
Abraham lui rappelle son passé de grande consommation
et lui répond que l'abîme entre l'enfer et le paradis de son sein est infranchissable et infini.
"There was a certain rich man,
who clothed himself in purple and fine linen
and fared sumptuously every day;
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus [Helped by God], which was laid at his gate
full of sores,
San Martín de Mondoñedo (Lugo), Spain
and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's
Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
And it came to pass, that the beggar died and was carried by the Angels
into Abraham's bosom.
The rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham
and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water
and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, O remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst
thy good things
and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted
and thou are tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed;
so that they who would pass from hence to you cannot;
neither can they pass to us that would come from thence.
Then he [the rich man, also known as Dives, another name
for Pluto or Hades, Lord of the Underworld]
said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldst send him to my father's house;
For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come to this place of torment.
Abraham saith unto him: They have had Moses, and the prophets -
let them hear them.
And he [Dives] saith,
Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead,they will repent.
And he [Abraham] said unto him,
If they hear not Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
Luke XVI, 19-31.
Lincoln - detail of the frieze after recent restoration - photographed by Tina Negus
The abbey church of Moissac (Tarn-et-Garonne)
South front: Two dogs lick Lazarus' wounds, while Dives dines to the right.
On the left sits Abraham with Lazarus clasped to his bosom.
A much more dramatic - almost El Greco - portrayal of the parable can be seen in the Museum of Romanesque Art in Barcelona.
A wall-painting from the celebrated church of San Clemente in Tahull (Lléida), it shows Lazarus in a strange perspective,
with a crutch, his feet licked by a kind of long-legged bulldog or mastiff.
It is worth noting that in some world-views (e.g. Celtic) the dog
is considered to be a Healer.
In others, the dog is a Psychopomp.
A capital in the nave of the famous church dedicated to Mary Magdalen
at Vézelay (Yonne) depicts the after-lives of Dives and Lazarus:
On the main face, Dives is being carried on his bier, nicely wrapped in linen, while devils gather round to drag him to Hell.
On the left side, Lazarus' soul in infantile innocence is carried up to Abraham's bosom in a mandorla.
...while an owl and a demon appear to fight over his soul as it issues
from his mouth,
his beautiful wife grieving by his bed.
The cathedral at Autun (Saône-et-Loire) is dedicated to St Lazarus, and on his feast-day (at Midsummer)
lepers were welcomed to hear - in a special space - a celebratory mass.
On this porch-capital Dives is feasting, while behind him a devil awaits.
Meanwhile...at Saint-Sernin in Toulouse, Dives dines alone, while the dogs lick the haloed Lazarus' sores.
Ironically, there is (to this day) a Crusader Order
of St Lazarus