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Can the Rosary be Orthodox, despite being heterodox in origin?

LivenotoneviL

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Question to ask, of course.

Feel free to share an opinion, but of course here's mine.

I don't think it's heterodox as long as meditation is limited to not construction of internal mental images - which is a focal point of Roman spirituality and is highly discouraged by a lot of the Saints of the Church - but focusing on external icons and reflecting on what they mean by means of prayer.

Also, of course, the Nicene Creed is said without the Filioque.
 

DeniseDenise

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Since Orthodoxy has the Jesus prayer and so many other traditions of its own....I do not even ponder whether the rosary is ok....since there is no need to make it work....so to speak.

 

LBK

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Is Orthodoxy so deficient in prayer options that makes people look to outside practices?  :eek: :eek: :p
 

Dominika

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It has been discussed there, I think, at least a few times.
1. Rosary is of Orthodox origin
2. Rosary has been practiced by Orthodox saints (e.g. saint Seprahim of Sarov)
3. It doesn't apply only to WRO, but also the the Byzantine rite.
4. Of course, the Orthodox version doesn't contain late additions.

I have an Orthodox wooden rosary from Serbia.
 

hecma925

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If you're going to do the rosary, do it all the way...with filioque and imagining being in each decade's scene.  Othsrwise, what's the point?  Just regular old prayer?
 

LivenotoneviL

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LBK said:
Is Orthodoxy so deficient in prayer options that makes people look to outside practices?  :eek: :eek: :p
No, it's not that - I thought about it after reading this.
https://www.orthodoxwest.com/the-rosary-hughes-the-rosary

I obviously disagree with the whole lack of a serious tone of this article and suggesting that the Rosary as practiced by Roman Catholics is free of problems - with such wonderful gems like

"Thus, as it stands now, the Rosary is a well-defined meditation on the lives of Christ and His Mother, with a definite progression of themes, and a liturgical beginning and ending."

"As a piece of literature, the Rosary cannot compare since there is no precise form to the meditation, these being supplied by the individual. In form and function, however, the Rosary is quite the same as the Akathist or Paraclesis."

"Looking at the Marian Rosary from an Orthodox perspective, hardly anything can be found objectionable in the devotion itself. It is a laudable meditation on the Incarnation and lives of Christ and Mary."

The implications for an outsider who is unfamiliar with Orthodox spiritually makes these statements really wrong imo, which led me to asking the question.
 

LivenotoneviL

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hecma925 said:
If you're going to do the rosary, do it all the way...with filioque and imagining being in each decade's scene.  Othsrwise, what's the point?  Just regular old prayer?
So, by means of logical contraposition, you agree with me. Cool.
 

Dominika

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LOL, see this (in Russian):
https://azbyka.ru/molitvoslov/bogorodichnoe-pravilo.html
 

Dominika

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Serbian Orthodox rosaries that are not for Jesus Prayer, but also for the prayer of the Theotokos (see the division: 10x5), I have yet another type of it:
http://www.patrijarsija-puo.rs/e-prodavnica/ostalo/brojanice/brojanica-38/

http://www.patrijarsija-puo.rs/e-prodavnica/ostalo/brojanice/pletena-brojanica-50-cvorica/

http://www.patrijarsija-puo.rs/e-prodavnica/ostalo/brojanice/brojanica-od-poludragog-kamena-crvena-boja-50-cvorova/

http://www.patrijarsija-puo.rs/e-prodavnica/ostalo/brojanice/brojanica-od-poludragog-kamena-tigrovo-oko/
 

LivenotoneviL

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Dominika said:
LOL, see this (in Russian):
https://azbyka.ru/molitvoslov/bogorodichnoe-pravilo.html
Reminds me a lot of the Saint Michael Chaplet (despite the whole potentially Donatist-esque "pray this every day and you'll avoid purgatory directly as well as 9 angels helping you during communion" component of it), which is a beautiful prayer imo nevertheless.

http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/st_michael_prayer.html
 

Iconodule

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hecma925 said:
imagining being in each decade's scene. 
We do that all the time during hymns and reading scripture.

We are also encouraged to visualize scenes of Christ’s life by many Fathers, including texts in the Philokalia.

Anyway all this has been talked to death in other threads like this one: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,73113.0.html
 

Iconodule

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Frankly the idea that visualization is totally banned in Orthodox spiritual practice is modern revisionism.
 

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It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
 

Arachne

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There's the Rule of the Mother of God, attributed to St Seraphim of Sarov. For some, that's a sign to embrace it, for others, a sign to run away. Whatever works for you.

http://hermitbrother.blogspot.com/2013/10/rule-of-mother-of-god-st-seraphim-of.html
 

Iconodule

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Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
God willing, and if time allows, I will compile a detailed essay, with patristic citations, laying this dumb, ignorant canard to rest.
 

Dominika

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Arachne said:
There's the Rule of the Mother of God, attributed to St Seraphim of Sarov. For some, that's a sign to embrace it, for others, a sign to run away. Whatever works for you.

http://hermitbrother.blogspot.com/2013/10/rule-of-mother-of-god-st-seraphim-of.html
That's what I've linked in Russian version :)
So, it's true Orthodox rosary. No visions, dreaming, heresies etc. Just pure prayer in a way of meditation (that's also present in e.g Prologu of Ohrid).
 

Orthodox_Slav

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Dominika said:
Arachne said:
There's the Rule of the Mother of God, attributed to St Seraphim of Sarov. For some, that's a sign to embrace it, for others, a sign to run away. Whatever works for you.

http://hermitbrother.blogspot.com/2013/10/rule-of-mother-of-god-st-seraphim-of.html
That's what I've linked in Russian version :)
So, it's true Orthodox rosary. No visions, dreaming, heresies etc. Just pure prayer in a way of meditation (that's also present in e.g Prologu of Ohrid).
russian orthodoxy provides you with everything you could ever need in life! (except maybe a life ;))
 

Agabus

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Iconodule said:
Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
God willing, and if time allows, I will compile a detailed essay, with patristic citations, laying this dumb, ignorant canard to rest.
Do. it.

LivenotoneviL said:
I don't think it's heterodox as long as meditation is limited to not construction of internal mental images - which is a focal point of Roman spirituality and is highly discouraged by a lot of the Saints of the Church - but focusing on external icons and reflecting on what they mean by means of prayer.
How is this different?

What if someone just imagines an icon they saw once?
 

Mor Ephrem

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Iconodule said:
Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
God willing, and if time allows, I will compile a detailed essay, with patristic citations, laying this dumb, ignorant canard to rest.
Mor lo vult!
 

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Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
You mean, someone might think of Jesus, like when they look at our icons?
 

LivenotoneviL

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biro said:
Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
You mean, someone might think of Jesus, like when they look at our icons?
I personally see it as though the Church regulates what is True and Real in its iconography, and prevents our flawed nature from deforming perfection. It's much harder to imagine Jesus as a Republican or a Che Guevara Liberation Theologian when you use the iconography of the Church.
 

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Part 1,000,000,005 of "ZOMG The Roman Catholics are Coming to Make Us Do Something!!!!"
 

Agabus

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LivenotoneviL said:
biro said:
Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
You mean, someone might think of Jesus, like when they look at our icons?
I personally see it as though the Church regulates what is True and Real in its iconography, and prevents our flawed nature from deforming perfection. It's much harder to imagine Jesus as a Republican or a Che Guevara Liberation Theologian when you use the iconography of the Church.
It's difficult to do that if you're actually following the meditations of the Rosary, too.
 

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hecma925 said:
What do the meditations actually entail?
Reflecting on particular events in the incarnation, e.g. the annunciation, nativity, crucifixion, resurrection.
 

Agabus

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hecma925 said:
What do the meditations actually entail?
Thinking about events and miracles in the life of Christ while you say the prayers.

The Joyful Mysteries focus on the annunciation, birth of Christ and childhood; the Sorrowful focus on the events leading up to and including the crucifixion; and the Glorious focus on the resurrection and ascension of Christ and the dormition of Mary.
 

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Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
Not true.  St. Seraphim of Sarov prayed it and the convent he founded sells a specially configured Lestovka which is used to pray it according to his rule.

Now, that being said, the rule of St. Seraphim of Sarov has basically 200 Hail Mary prayers in groups of 50, and has nothing about decades or the imagination of various scenes from the life of the Theotokos.

So when I claim the Rosary as an Orthodox devotion, I am of course referring to the use of the Hail Mary prayer with a Lestovka or prayer rope, and not the various decades or mysteries etc we see in the RC usage.

It should also be noted that the version of the Hail Mary prayer used by Russian Old Believers and Edinovertsy (like St. Seraphim) is different from the post-Nikonian version, and both versions are different from the RC version.

There is also no use of the Rosary as a liturgical substitute in Orthodoxy, although some monasteries, including a prominent one in England, I think Elder Sophrony’s monastery, use the Jesus Prayer in lieu of the canonical hours.
 

Agabus

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Alpha60 said:
Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
Not true.  St. Seraphim of Sarov prayed it and the convent he founded sells a specially configured Lestovka which is used to pray it according to his rule.

Now, that being said, the rule of St. Seraphim of Sarov has basically 200 Hail Mary prayers in groups of 50, and has nothing about decades or the imagination of various scenes from the life of the Theotokos.

So when I claim the Rosary as an Orthodox devotion, I am of course referring to the use of the Hail Mary prayer with a Lestovka or prayer rope, and not the various decades or mysteries etc we see in the RC usage.

It should also be noted that the version of the Hail Mary prayer used by Russian Old Believers and Edinovertsy (like St. Seraphim) is different from the post-Nikonian version, and both versions are different from the RC version.

There is also no use of the Rosary as a liturgical substitute in Orthodoxy, although some monasteries, including a prominent one in England, I think Elder Sophrony’s monastery, use the Jesus Prayer in lieu of the canonical hours.
The traditional Rosary is being used without modification in the Antiochian WRO.
 

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Iconodule said:
Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
God willing, and if time allows, I will compile a detailed essay, with patristic citations, laying this dumb, ignorant canard to rest.
AXIOS!

If this was the year 350 and there was a convenient Episcopal vacancy or an Arian on the throne, I would organize the party that would with considerable force compel you to be installed as bishop, and round up three others, also with considerable force, to perform the ordination.  Since that is how they did things in the fourth century. 

Seriously though, I can’t wait to read this, because I myself have found a stumbling block in psuedo-Orthodox treatises published by obscure Hellenic intellectuals decrying not just the visual imagination but the entire imaginative faculty; several of them seem to advocate what I can only think of as an “internal iconoclasm.”
 

Alpha60

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Arachne said:
There's the Rule of the Mother of God, attributed to St Seraphim of Sarov. For some, that's a sign to embrace it, for others, a sign to run away. Whatever works for you.

http://hermitbrother.blogspot.com/2013/10/rule-of-mother-of-god-st-seraphim-of.html
Interesting.  If the story there is true, this could also be a point of EO-RC reconciliation, in that if the Rosary was either revealed to St. Dominic or, having fallen into obscurity, rediscovered by him in a library somewhere, this would validate the veneration given to him as a saint and also the validity of much of the Dominican liturgical rite.  Also, it must be stressed that the Inquisition and the Dominican association with it began several decades after the death of St. Dominic; there is nothing in his life that suggested that he wanted to do anything other than preach to heretics; the concept of “failing that, let us barbecue them instead” appears to be a later innovation, and being the follower of a great saint does not guarantee fidelity to the actual teachings of that saint (for an example in extremis, consider Judas Iscariot).
 

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While I brood on my prospective essay, I'll just make a few points I've made before, that seem lost on a lot of folks here:

- The rosary is not a parallel practice to hesychastic prayer. That is not its origin or intended purpose. The rosary emerged as a way for laymen to easily perform the divine office, AKA the hours. Treating the rosary as a parallel or rival practice to the prayer of the heart/ Jesus prayer is stupid.

-If we are to use the terminology of the desert fathers and Philokalic authors, the rosary is psalmody, not prayer. Psalmody and prayer are distinct practices within the spiritual life, both regarded as important. One is discursive and varied, the other is utterly simple and focused.  If you don't know the difference then you have no business talking about imagination and prayer since you have no idea what either word entails in the context of Orthodox spirituality.

-Meditation on sacred events is something built into the liturgical cycle as well as a necessary aspect of reading scripture and viewing icons. If you attend church and listen to hymns about the annunciation, nativity, etc. you will meditate on these events. In the Philokalia several authors, including Evagrius Pontikos, advocate a vivid reflection on death and the last judgment. St Mark the Ascetic recommends meditating on the life of Jesus and all his saving acts. This is not just a blip in the radar, either. Centuries later, St Nicholas Cabasilas advocates meditating on the life of Jesus as a constant activity for all people. Shouting "prelest" and "idolatry" any time such meditations arise in Catholic practice reflects ignorance or hypocrisy.
 

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Alpha60 said:
Iconodule said:
Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
God willing, and if time allows, I will compile a detailed essay, with patristic citations, laying this dumb, ignorant canard to rest.
AXIOS!

If this was the year 350 and there was a convenient Episcopal vacancy or an Arian on the throne, I would organize the party that would with considerable force compel you to be installed as bishop, and round up three others, also with considerable force, to perform the ordination.  Since that is how they did things in the fourth century. 

Seriously though, I can’t wait to read this, because I myself have found a stumbling block in psuedo-Orthodox treatises published by obscure Hellenic intellectuals decrying not just the visual imagination but the entire imaginative faculty; several of them seem to advocate what I can only think of as an “internal iconoclasm.”
As far as I can tell this is the logic: You can look at an icon because 7th Council, but if you imagine the same events depicted you become the worst thing possible: a Jesuit.  ::)
 

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Justin Kolodziej said:
Alpha60 said:
Iconodule said:
Briven said:
It can't be. Imagination is forbidden in prayer and leads to prelest and idolatry. The rosary is an entirely western Roman phenomenon.
God willing, and if time allows, I will compile a detailed essay, with patristic citations, laying this dumb, ignorant canard to rest.
AXIOS!

If this was the year 350 and there was a convenient Episcopal vacancy or an Arian on the throne, I would organize the party that would with considerable force compel you to be installed as bishop, and round up three others, also with considerable force, to perform the ordination.  Since that is how they did things in the fourth century. 

Seriously though, I can’t wait to read this, because I myself have found a stumbling block in psuedo-Orthodox treatises published by obscure Hellenic intellectuals decrying not just the visual imagination but the entire imaginative faculty; several of them seem to advocate what I can only think of as an “internal iconoclasm.”
As far as I can tell this is the logic: You can look at an icon because 7th Council, but if you imagine the same events depicted you become the worst thing possible: a Jesuit.  ::)
Dear America Magazine:

I never believed the letters I read here, but something amazing happened to me. I was praying the Rosary, thinking about the assumption of the Mother of God into Heaven, when I suddenly realized I was organizing immigrant tomato pickers into a union!...
 

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Iconodule said:
- The rosary is not a parallel practice to hesychastic prayer. That is not its origin or intended purpose. The rosary emerged as a way for laymen to easily perform the divine office, AKA the hours. Treating the rosary as a parallel or rival practice to the prayer of the heart/ Jesus prayer is stupid.

-If we are to use the terminology of the desert fathers and Philokalic authors, the rosary is psalmody, not prayer.
Can you point to any sources sharing this kind of understanding on rosary? Catholic, Orthodox or whatnot. While I readily admit that I'm not too knowledgeable on any kind of spirituality I don't think it would be far-fetched to say that rosary is usually considered as prayer and parallel to Jesus prayer. I guess it can also be used like you suggest though.
 

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Alpo said:
Iconodule said:
- The rosary is not a parallel practice to hesychastic prayer. That is not its origin or intended purpose. The rosary emerged as a way for laymen to easily perform the divine office, AKA the hours. Treating the rosary as a parallel or rival practice to the prayer of the heart/ Jesus prayer is stupid.

-If we are to use the terminology of the desert fathers and Philokalic authors, the rosary is psalmody, not prayer.
Can you point to any sources sharing this kind of understanding on rosary? Catholic, Orthodox or whatnot. While I readily admit that I'm not too knowledgeable on any kind of spirituality I don't think it would be far-fetched to say that rosary is usually considered as prayer and parallel to Jesus prayer. I guess it can also be used like you suggest though.
AFAIK, that's Orthodox people reading their biases into it, though. RCs don't talk about the Rosary as a hesychastic tradition.
 

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Agabus said:
Alpo said:
Iconodule said:
- The rosary is not a parallel practice to hesychastic prayer. That is not its origin or intended purpose. The rosary emerged as a way for laymen to easily perform the divine office, AKA the hours. Treating the rosary as a parallel or rival practice to the prayer of the heart/ Jesus prayer is stupid.

-If we are to use the terminology of the desert fathers and Philokalic authors, the rosary is psalmody, not prayer.
Can you point to any sources sharing this kind of understanding on rosary? Catholic, Orthodox or whatnot. While I readily admit that I'm not too knowledgeable on any kind of spirituality I don't think it would be far-fetched to say that rosary is usually considered as prayer and parallel to Jesus prayer. I guess it can also be used like you suggest though.
AFAIK, that's Orthodox people reading their biases into it, though. RCs don't talk about the Rosary as a hesychastic tradition.
If you are using parallelisms between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, hesychasm is of course foreign to Roman Catholicism. However, a most of the saints of Roman Catholicism - from the time of Dominic onwards - and apparitions - have clung on to and encouraged the Rosary as a centerpiece of spirituality.
http://www.tfp.org/quotes-of-our-lady-popes-and-saints/

People I think also tend to draw equivalents because of the repetition of Scripture-based prayer using beads or ropes.
 

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LivenotoneviL said:
People I think also tend to draw equivalents because of the repetition of Scripture-based prayer using beads or ropes.
This. I wasn't reading Orthodox bias to rosary but the other way around i.e. Catholic bias to Jesus prayer.
 

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Alpo said:
Iconodule said:
- The rosary is not a parallel practice to hesychastic prayer. That is not its origin or intended purpose. The rosary emerged as a way for laymen to easily perform the divine office, AKA the hours. Treating the rosary as a parallel or rival practice to the prayer of the heart/ Jesus prayer is stupid.

-If we are to use the terminology of the desert fathers and Philokalic authors, the rosary is psalmody, not prayer.
Can you point to any sources sharing this kind of understanding on rosary? Catholic, Orthodox or whatnot. While I readily admit that I'm not too knowledgeable on any kind of spirituality I don't think it would be far-fetched to say that rosary is usually considered as prayer and parallel to Jesus prayer. I guess it can also be used like you suggest though.
Broadly speaking the idea of “prayer” also includes the divine office but the hesychastic fathers tend to employ it in a much narrower sense and contrast it with “psalmody” by which is meant the divine office and associated troparia, canons, etc. Every outline of the history of the rosary I’ve seen says it arose as a stand-in for the hours for those who were illiterate or otherwise too busy/ poor to use a book of hours. Therefore the rosary would be classed as psalmody as the hours are. The link Agabus provided above also prallels it with canons and akathists which makes sense. Another distinction to be made is between the Jesus prayer per se and noetic prayer. The Jesus prayer is the most famous formula for use in noetic prayer but it is also advocated as an all-purpose devotion far afield from the hesychast in his cell.
 
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