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Rosary for Orthodox

SakranMM

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Greetings in Christ:

I was hoping to get some of your thoughts and opinions concerning Orthodox Marian devotions; I know many Orthodox pray the Akathist and Supplicatory Canons to the Theotokos regularly, but I was wondering if any of you pray the Rosary.  I recall reading something about St. Seraphim of Sarov using a Rosary as part of his prayer rule.  Thoughts? Comments?

In Christ,

Michael
 

Serge

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<surface>

A few thoughts on the subject.

Using beads to count prayers of course isn't exclusively Roman Catholic or even peculiarly Christian.

Hindus and Buddhists, who follow religions older than Christianity, use them.

As do Muslims.

And as Fr John Matusiak explains on the OCA site, the Eastern Christian practice of using a chaplet (broadly speaking, rosary) to count Jesus Prayers as part of a monastic prayer rule is older than the commonly known Dominican rosary used and loved by millions of Roman Catholics.

The Eastern Christian and Muslim practice (many Muslim practices were got from the Christian East) may be where St Dominic got the idea to use them for his rosary. (There is a legend, not RC doctrine, that he got the idea direct from the Virgin Mary in a vision.)

The Dominican rosary isn't native to the Byzantine Rite of the Eastern Orthodox tradition (it's not directly from Eastern cultures and it got started a couple of centuries after the East/West split), and since a rite is a package deal complete with its own devotional practices as well as theological expression, I reckon that most born Orthodox don't use it - with all those akathists and canons to choose from, they don't need to!

But cultures mix with trade, intermarriage etc. - there are lots of Orthodox/RC marriages in the world, for example. So it's fair to say that there are some born Orthodox who use the commonly understood rosary. A priest who lived in the Middle East told me that this cultural crossover is a fact of Christian life over there.

Did some saints like St Seraphim of Sarov have prayer rules that resembled the Dominican rosary? Yes! Things like 150 'Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God' (the Byzantine Hail Mary) prayers - certainly a strong parallel. (Perhaps because of Russian contact with these practices from the Poles by way of the Ukrainians.)

BTW, the rosary has 150 Hail Marys because it mimics the 150 psalms read in the hours - essentially it was meant as a form of the hours for people who couldn't read, which in the Middle Ages was many people.

Repetitions of simple prayers both parallels the rosary and is native to the Byzantine Rite - not only the rule of saying the Jesus Prayer but the 12 and even 40 'Lord, have mercys' one repeats when praying the hours.

The online Eastern Orthodox world is largely a convert scene and you're not likely to find rosary-users here because not only is the practice not native to the Byzantine Rite but the converts often come from Protestant backgrounds and/or otherwise want to consciously distance themselves from the RCs.

An objection you might hear or read from the Orthodox is that the Dominican rosary uses the Western concept of 'meditating on the mysteries', 'mysteries' here not meaning 'sacraments' (as it usually does in Orthodoxspeak) but events in the lives of Mary and Jesus. The objection is that this involves fantasy or using the imagination in prayer, which can be dangerous, leading to spiritual delusion, etc.

Eastern Orthodox don't carry or use chaplets in church like RCs do rosaries - wearing the chaplet (called chotki in Slavonic/Russian) on the left wrist is only for monks and nuns. You see Orthodox bishops holding them or wearing them that way because they're monks.

The authentic tradition about layfolk having and using them is they're given to you by your spiritual father if he deems them suitable for you and you take them home and use them privately there.

I think that pretty much covers it.

</surface>
 

Landon77

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Some of us in the western rite use it regularly.  It is a beautiful devotion.  If you want one with all fifteen decades I would recomdend googling to find a website called "Traditional Catholic Goods."
 

Veniamin

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Serge said:
Eastern Orthodox don't carry or use chaplets in church like RCs do rosaries - wearing the chaplet (called chotki in Slavonic/Russian) on the left wrist is only for monks and nuns. You see Orthodox bishops holding them or wearing them that way because they're monks.

The authentic tradition about layfolk having and using them is they're given to you by your spiritual father if he deems them suitable for you and you take them home and use them privately there.
I've actually noticed several members of my parish wearing them (not the majority by any stretch).  Come to think of it, there's one girl from the cathedral in Dallas who also wears one, so it's not just a local parish/priest thing.  Is the practice of laity wearing chotkis an OCA (or even diocesan) thing?  I guess what I'm asking is if the tradition about laity not wearing them and keeping them in private is a static one or one that's open?  Or could that even be an exercise of economia?
 

Anastasios

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It is the practice in the Greek Church that a spiritual father will give his spiritual child a prayer rope to wear on his wrist.  Unlike the monastic version, however, it is smaller and circular, with no cross.  I have noticed this among both Old and New Calendar Greeks.

Anastasios
 

Asteriktos

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That was very informative and balanced Serge, thank you! :)
 

PeterTheAleut

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Samuel said:
So... is it canonically improper for laity to use chotki's during liturgy, or is this a practice that differs from parish to parish, diocese to diocese?
It really appears to differ between parishes. My priest (OCA) has made very clear on many occasions his opposition to any such "personal piety" during what is essentially a service of communal prayer. "If you want to use your prayer ropes during your own private prayers, that's fine with me. But don't bring them to church." However, other OCA parishes in my town are much more open to allowing lay use of prayer ropes during Liturgy.
 

sparrowshell

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Veniamin said:
I've actually noticed several members of my parish wearing them (not the majority by any stretch). Come to think of it, there's one girl from the cathedral in Dallas who also wears one, so it's not just a local parish/priest thing. Is the practice of laity wearing chotkis an OCA (or even diocesan) thing?ÂÂ
I know of a number of women (laity) that wear a chotki on their left wrist, including myself. Perhaps they wear it because 1) it has been given to them or 2) they have visited a convent where it has been obtained and 3) they may wear it because they have aspirations of becoming a monastic. So I don't know if it is necessarily a diocesan thing.
 

Carpatho Russian

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Samuel said:
So... is it canonically improper for laity to use chotki's during liturgy, or is this a practice that differs from parish to parish, diocese to diocese?
You will notice that when a bishop enters the church to serve the liturgy, before he is vested in his episcopal vestments, he removes his chotki and places it on a tray. The liturgy is a "public work" not a time for private "devotions".
 

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Most of the greek youth I know (including me), associated with the church even if they are not avid attendees, will wear it on the left wrist to symbolize the faith, help in possible temptation as a reminder, and also as a identifier. It might seem strange to some, but I can't count the number of people I've gotten to know or recognise that they are (usually greek but soemtimes russian or antiochian) Orthodox by wearing it, on the street, in the subway etc.

Why the left wrist? I assume it is so you can cross yourself with the right hand.
 

Timos

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I prayed a very powerful rosary this morning with somefamiyl friends who are Croation Catholics (much to the chagrin of Southserb ??? :D) lol
 

suzannes

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I know of a guy doing his medical residency who wears a wrist prayer rope. I always think what a comfort that would be for an Orthodox person in the ER, to have a doctor wearing a prayer rope. And with all the silicone bracelets and such now, I don't think most (non-Orthodox) people would have any idea of what it is.
 

Bl. Leonid Feodorov

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So... is it canonically improper for laity to use chotki's during liturgy, or is this a practice that differs from parish to parish, diocese to diocese?
Here is what my little booklet "The Prayer Rope: Meditations of a Monk of the Holy Mountain" (published by New Sarov Press with the blessing of Bishop Hilarion, ROCOR) has to say:

"The holy bishop Ignaty Brianchaninov mentions that the lenghty services held in the Orthodox Church are also a good opportunity for praying twith the prayer rope.  Often there are times when it is difficult to concentrate on the words being read or changed [sic, I think 'chanted'], and it is easier to concentrate quietly on one's own private prayers...In fact this often helps a person concentrate better on the service itself, something mentioned by St. Seraphim of Sarov.  Of course, when we are praying at the services, our prayer is joined to that of the entire Church."
This is substantially no different from the Roman Rite practice (& justification thereof) of reciting the Rosary during Mass.
 

John Larocque

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This old thread brought up a couple of things that I've been thinking about the last couple of days.

The young fogey said:
An objection you might hear or read from the Orthodox is that the Dominican rosary uses the Western concept of 'meditating on the mysteries', 'mysteries' here not meaning 'sacraments' (as it usually does in Orthodoxspeak) but events in the lives of Mary and Jesus. The objection is that this involves fantasy or using the imagination in prayer, which can be dangerous, leading to spiritual delusion, etc.
While lookiing specifically at the Orthodox issues with imgary in mental prayer, I immediately thought of both the rosary, and my experience with it. I dropped out of practicing the (Catholic) faith a couple of years ago, then went through an "Asian" phase where I did a fair bit of reading on Zen. Then I dropped back into Western mode again and... started being more active again. The weird thing is, when I pray the rosary, I don't actually mentally meditate on the actual "mysteries" of the rosary any more. For example, the decade might start with "And the angel of the Lord appeared unto Mary (and she conceived of the Holy Spirit)" but you don't ponder it any more deeply than that. You treat it like a liturgical formula, bow your head, and proceed through the decade without imagining the annunciation, instead focusing on the words and intent of the actual Our Father and Hail Mary's.

The thing is that this approach (different from my earlier period) doesn't appear wrong to me and I have resisted going back to meditating the meditations. I don't need the images, and having read a bit on the Orthodox perspective, and prefer that approach. In any case, that essay linked below is well worth a scan:

view http://www.pravmir.com/article_545.html

PeterTheAleut said:
It really appears to differ between parishes.  My priest (OCA) has made very clear on many occasions his opposition to any such "personal piety" during what is essentially a service of communal prayer.  "If you want to use your prayer ropes during your own private prayers, that's fine with me.  But don't bring them to church."  However, other OCA parishes in my town are much more open to allowing lay use of prayer ropes during Liturgy.
and Hilarion:
"The holy bishop Ignaty Brianchaninov mentions that the lenghty services held in the Orthodox Church are also a good opportunity for praying with the prayer rope. Often there are times when it is difficult to concentrate on the words being read or chanted, and it is easier to concentrate quietly on one's own private prayers... In fact this often helps a person concentrate better on the service itself, something mentioned by St. Seraphim of Sarov.  Of course, when we are praying at the services, our prayer is joined to that of the entire Church."
Personally, this concept has always disagreed with me. Only a few days ago did I discover this in an Orthodox context. I learned years ago that people were using the rosary or other prayers during Latin Masses in the pre-Vatican II era. The first preference, IMHO, should be actively praying and participating in the litiurgy. From experience, I would be inclined to side with the OCA priest here. If I need a bilingual missalette or liturgical prayer book, so be it, I can follow along. However, I am in no position to judge others, and Hilarion's approach is not wrong either. It's just not my preference. But the concept disagreed with me.
 
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