I keep hearing about how Greeks carry around something called 'worry beads'. Are these the same thing as a prayer rope (Komvoskini/Tchotki)? If not the same thing, what are they used for?
Worry beads are just that. People use them to pass time while sitting at a cafe or with friends. They take the edge off. Similar to a cigarette or good cigar. One releases there anxieties with them. They have no religious purpose.
A prayer rope is knotted 33 times with the symbol of the cross for every rounded knot and a Jesus prayer for each cross. Each knot looks like a ball and there are 33 of them as well. Monks often make them for there spiritual children. One typically carries a prayer rope from their spiritual father or mother. The prayers are for the person wearing the rope. (Short version)