Icons related to Abortion
Orthodox are pro-life, and the church knows what real life is! Any popular movement needs a good symbol or symbols. I asked recently about “abortion related” icons ( I wanted one for a homily I was publishing: Sanctity Of Life Sunday. Christians Must Not Accept Abortion and Sexual Immorality Being Redefined 2011 and was DELUGED with answers! I only asked on our parish mailing list and on the Friends of St Sava list (our closest sister parish). What an amazing response! Here are some of the suggestions, starting with the one that is my choice, the Lament of Rachel.
I am presenting these to show the diversity in expression about abortion in Orthodox icons, but if truth be told, I have rather strict criteria for an icon that I would want to use when I write abut abortion. I think it should not be extremely innovative, or gruesome, but at the same time, should speak to the emotional horror of abortion. I think the lament of Rachel fulfills all these criteria.
I am not against “gruesome” in its proper context – no sir! Abortion is often vivisection of a living, breathing human being and I favor billboards on the road with pictures of the effect of abortion on tiny human beings, but these gruesome pictures would not serve well as a symbol.
We live in a world where people deny, deny, deny. We have a culture that does not like to think about death. There is a place for these pictures, but not in front of abortion clinics (where they could actually traumatize and anger mothers who are contemplating abortion), or as a symbol of our struggle, which is to cause healing.
Without further ado, here are some of the icons suggested, sent by perhaps a dozen responders.
The Lament of Rachel.
“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. (17) Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, (18) In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” (Matthew 2:16-18 )
I believe that this icon was commissioned by Zoe for Life
The Horror of Abortion.
Any good symbol is simple, and there is just too much going on in this icon. Of course, it is not traditional in many ways, but it tells the truth.
The Theotokos and Anna embracing.
“And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; (40) And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. (41) And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: (42) And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. (43) And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:39-43)
I like this icon, although it may be a tad innovative, but it does not capture the emotion of the loss involved in abortion as the Lament of Rachel does.
Christ the Author of Life.
I dunno, just does not grab me, and is a little too innovative for me. It certainly makes a statement though!
This one is a little obscure to me.
I was told it was from the St John the Baptist site in Washington DC, but I could not find it.
There were a few more icons suggested, such as Our Lady of Guadeloupe, and the Annunciation, and I may be forgetting a couple others, but you get the idea.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2011 St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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