Bosom of Abraham (Decani) Icon - F385

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The Bosom (or "Embrace") of Abraham is an image that refers to a place comfort within Hades (the common place of the dead) for the righteous departed. This term is used in the Lord's parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, which has the poor beggar Lazarus entering into this state of blessedness after death, in contrast to the Rich Man, who is also in Hades, but is separated by a chasm and is in torment.

Icons depicting Paradise often feature a white background filled with whimsical and luscious trees. Abraham is seated on a golden throne. He holds in his embrace a multitude of righteous souls, depicted as young children. Paradise is often associated with the Garden of Eden, and like Eden, this garden is walled and its gate is protected by the Seraphim.

In the Orthodox funeral service, we pray that the departed soul will have "rest in the Bosom of Abraham," a state of blessedness and foretaste of heaven before the Last Judgment and the full glorification at the General Resurrection. This icon serves as a two-fold reminder: first, to pray for our departed loved ones, that they may dwell in this blessed state; and second, that we may remember our own death and strive to overcome sin, that we may also find Paradise.


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