It is used in Eastern Catholic spirituality to count the number of times the Jesus prayer is recited.
This instrument of prayer is also used by Orthodox Christians.
The prayer rope is known as Komboskini in Greek.
What is the Jesus prayer?
The Jesus prayer:
“ Lord Jesus Christ, son
of God have mercy on
me, a sinner.”
The Jesus prayer is one
of the most profound
and perhaps mystical
prayers in Eastern
This prayer is often called the prayer from the heart, by some Fathers of the Church.
How many knots does a typical prayer rope has?
A prayer rope would typically have 100 knots .
There are several variations, as to the number of knots, some ropes contain only 50, others 33 knots.
Some prayer ropes have only 10 knots (intended to be worn on the finger).
Did you know?
Some hermits have
prayer ropes with as
many as 500 knots in
What is the general appearance of a prayer rope?
The prayer rope has a knotted cross where the rope is joined together to form a loop.
10 to 25 beads are placed at certain intervals between the knots for easy counting.
Longer prayer ropes have a tassel at the end of the cross.
What is the meaning of the tassel found in some prayer ropes?
The purpose of the tassel is devotional .
To dry the tears shed due to heartfelt compunction of one’s sins.
It is also a symbol of the Heavenly Kingdom, which one can only enter through the cross.
What kind of material is used for the creation of prayer ropes?
The prayer rope is commonly made out of wool .
Wool symbolizes the flock of Christ.
Materials other than wool can also be used.
Why is black the Traditional color of the prayer rope?
In Eastern Catholic spirituality black symbolizes the mourning the penitent experiences for his or her sins.
The beads use to count the Jesus prayer are also black.
The beads and a portion of the tassel can also be red to symbolize the blood of Christ and his martyrs.
What is the proper custom regarding the creation of the prayer rope?
Prayer ropes are usually tied by monastics (monks or nuns).
Any lay person is permitted to tie them also.
The person tying a prayer rope should be of true faith, and pious life and should be praying the Jesus prayer during the whole process.
How is the prayer rope used?
During prayer, the prayer rope is:
A. Held in the left hand.
B. The right hand should be free to make the sign of the cross.
How should one disposed of the prayer rope when not in use?
The prayer rope should be wrapped around the left wrist so that it continues to remind one to pray without ceasing.
It may also be placed in the left pocket.
Why can’t the prayer rope be hung around the neck or suspended from the belt?
In Eastern Catholic piety the reason is humility .
One should not be ostentatious or conspicuous in displaying the prayer rope for others to see.
When do monastics received the prayer rope?
The prayer rope is an important symbol in the Eastern Catholic monastic tradition.
Monks or Nuns are given the prayer rope after their tonsure.
What prayer is recited during the tonsure of a monastic as the prayer rope is being given?
“ Accept, O brother/sister (name), the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God in the everlasting Jesus prayer by which you should have the name of the Lord in your soul, your thoughts, and your heart, saying always: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
“The Church must breath with both lungs” John Paul II
Did you know?
In the Eastern Catholic as well as in the Orthodox churches some liturgical services can be replaced when necessary by praying the Jesus prayer, anywhere from 300 to 1,500 times depending on the service being replaced.
What is the origin of the prayer rope?
The history of the prayer rope is rooted in Christian monasticism which sprung in the deserts of Egypt and flourished in the Tradition of the East.
It was customary for monks to pray the entire 150 psalms every day.
The tradition of the prayer rope and the recitation of the Jesus prayer 150 times a day began, in order to aid the monks, who were unable to read and memorize all 150 psalms.
The invention of the prayer rope is attributed to St. Pachomius in the 4 th century.
St. Pachomius is also attributed with the creation of monastic communities.
Did you know?
Prior to the creation of the prayer rope by St. Pachomius, monks would count their prayers by casting pebbles into a bowl.
St. Anthony the Great
The method of tying the prayer rope had its origin from St. Anthony the Great, the father of monastic life.
He devised a way of tying the knots inspired by a vision of the Theotokos or Mother of God , the Blessed Virgin Mary .
In this Vision Mary tied the knots sot that the knots themselves would constantly make the sign of the Cross.
Did you know?
St. Anthony’s vision of the blessed virgin Mary or Theotokos is the source of today’s practice of tying prayer ropes using knots that each contain seven little crosses being tied over and over.
According to Eastern Catholic devotion, the devil cannot untie the knots in prayer knot because the Devil is vanquished by the sign of the Cross.
What happened to the prayer rope in the West?
In the western church the prayer rope evolved into the Rosary.
The Jesus Prayer “ Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” For more presentations please visit: http://www.slideshare.net/pcuadra/slideshows