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Author Topic: Wearing prayer ropes?  (Read 3769 times) Average Rating: 0
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« on: March 02, 2011, 12:57:49 AM »

I have seen some people wearing prayer ropes around their necks, and some even have them hanging in a way very reminiscent of Franciscan monks with their rosaries. Is this ever appropriate? Does it really matter one way or the other?
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 01:04:27 AM »

No, I don't think so. I was taught (and I agree) prayer ropes aren't to be used as bodily adornments. In my limited experience people who wear rosaries around their necks (or hang them from their rear-view mirrors) are using them as decorations, not as some monastic piety.

When prayer ropes are in use, they should be used unassumingly and non-self-consciously. When they're not in use, they should be put away, perhaps in a pocket. I've seen monks hang them on their belts, I believe, but prayer is their life's work and the ropes are frequently in use, so it's good to have them readily available. But as necklaces...I don't think so.
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 01:07:41 AM »

Quote
I've seen monks hang them on their belts...
Is this a common practice? Is it also found among the laity?
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 01:09:00 AM »

To add to bogdan's good reply, many bishops wear their prayer rope wrapped around their wrist when conducting services.
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 01:11:01 AM »

Quote
I've seen monks hang them on their belts...
Is this a common practice? Is it also found among the laity?

Unless the rope is out of view, I don't think it's right for a layman to do so, for the same reason it's not considered right to have one's prayer rope on display, as others have said.
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augustin717
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2011, 01:13:30 AM »

Back, in my home region I never saw anyone wearing "prayer ropes"; and that's a place where the Orthodox make up around 80% of the population.
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2011, 01:30:17 AM »

Back, in my home region I never saw anyone wearing "prayer ropes"; and that's a place where the Orthodox make up around 80% of the population.

I think it can be pretty pretentious myself, but I try not to judge the heart.

Just out of curiosity, do you know if any people actually use them at all at home, or is it restricted to monks?
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2011, 01:32:29 AM »

Does anyone else have experiences with people wearing prayer ropes in this fashion that are non monastics?
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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2011, 02:29:18 AM »

Some people at my church wear them as bracelets, but as I stated I find it pretentious and think it reduces it to some kind of fashion. All of the people that do this are converts, which makes me think it's something that born and bred "cradles" would find odd. If the people who have Orthodoxy in their bones think you're being weird, then you probably are.
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2011, 08:50:31 AM »

I wear my prayer beads around my neck.  If I could afford a rope, it would be a rope.  My beads are ALWAYS hidden from view, under my clothing.  If I am not wearing clothing that will sufficiently cover them, I don't wear them.  We wear prayer rope bracelets all the time and no one thinks anything of it - and those are often seen. 

I find myself often where I am alone but not at home and want to pray - having my prayer beads around my neck ensures that they are with me when I have the opportunity.  I rarely have pockets to put them in, being a woman.
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augustin717
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2011, 10:41:49 AM »

Back, in my home region I never saw anyone wearing "prayer ropes"; and that's a place where the Orthodox make up around 80% of the population.

I think it can be pretty pretentious myself, but I try not to judge the heart.

Just out of curiosity, do you know if any people actually use them at all at home, or is it restricted to monks?
I would say it's restricted to monks. At least among those people still unaffected by more modern, bookish and militant strains of orthodoxy, that is those people that actually carry on the local tradition.
In my experience people would only know a few prayers like "Our Father", the Creed, "Rejoice, o Virgin..." "Most Holy Theotokos...", "Holy God..." and a few other rhymed, folksy prayers, not in a prayer book actually. They would say these almost randomly and indiscriminately especially in the morning; sometimes as they washed their face they would mumble the Creed. My great-grandfather used to do that. Otherwise they would only make the sign of the cross. Especially before meals.
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2011, 10:50:23 AM »

I've been taught to "store" the prayer rope in one of two ways...
One way (the most common i've seen) is to wrap it around your left wrist.
The other way is to wrap it around your belt... If I do this, then I tuck the rest into a pocket.

However, I try to avoid putting it completely in my pocket, especially because it is so easy to forget it's there, even when hung on a belt. If I am wearing long-sleeve shirts, I try to wrap it around my wrist so that I remember it's there.

That in combination with an Orthodox cross on my neck (usually I wear it outside my clothing, depending on what clothes I'm wearing), it helps to remind me who I am and what I'm a part of, and it helps keep me "well behaved". It also offers a good opportunity to "witness" to someone.

However, it is NOT to be worn as a form of decoration, nor out of pride. It isn't jewelry or any decoration. In my opinion, this is the same as your cross on your neck (if it's your baptism cross). It's not for show.


Here in Greece, it's much more common to find people with prayer ropes that are already small enough to wrap around your wrist automatically. I don't know if they use them or it's just decoration. But it's definitely less "showy" than having a 50-100 knot rope around your wrist. But then again, I rarely see Orthodox here wearing the prayer ropes with more knots. (unless they are clergy or monks)
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 10:53:43 AM by 88Devin12 » Logged
maryofegypt
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2011, 10:59:47 AM »

I have two prayer ropes, one 50 (?) knot one and one of the small wrist-sized ones.  My assumption was that the wrist-sized one is meant to be worn.  I like it because it reminds me to pray.  When I wear it, I keep it tucked under my sleeve, then just slide it off and hold it to pray/count the knots.

The nuns I've known personally (and several clergy) wear a longer one wrapped around their wrist, I always assumed just to keep track of and have it on hand whenever needed.

Honestly, if it were a "look how Orthodox I am" thing, it would be pointless, since hardly anyone around where we live knows what Orthodoxy is anyway.  Wink
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2011, 11:30:01 AM »

Quote
I've been taught to "store" the prayer rope in one of two ways...
One way (the most common i've seen) is to wrap it around your left wrist.
The other way is to wrap it around your belt... If I do this, then I tuck the rest into a pocket.
Yeah this has been my experience. Have you actually been instructed that it was acceptable to wear it on your belt, and let it hang down?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 11:31:17 AM by PoorFoolNicholas » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2011, 11:45:32 AM »

I have seen many Greek laity--both Old and New Calendar, both those born in Greece and born here--wear the small 33-knot prayer rope with no tassle (the so-called bracelet version), as a reminder to pray ceaselessly.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 11:45:51 AM by Fr. Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2011, 12:52:27 PM »

Back, in my home region I never saw anyone wearing "prayer ropes"; and that's a place where the Orthodox make up around 80% of the population.

I think it can be pretty pretentious myself, but I try not to judge the heart.

Just out of curiosity, do you know if any people actually use them at all at home, or is it restricted to monks?
I would say it's restricted to monks. At least among those people still unaffected by more modern, bookish and militant strains of orthodoxy, that is those people that actually carry on the local tradition.
In my experience people would only know a few prayers like "Our Father", the Creed, "Rejoice, o Virgin..." "Most Holy Theotokos...", "Holy God..." and a few other rhymed, folksy prayers, not in a prayer book actually. They would say these almost randomly and indiscriminately especially in the morning; sometimes as they washed their face they would mumble the Creed. My great-grandfather used to do that. Otherwise they would only make the sign of the cross. Especially before meals.

Quite true as literacy was unknown across the spine of the Carpathians until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For example, the first Rusyn prayerbook was compiled in the mid 1840's by a Greek Catholic priest, Fr.Alexandyr Duchnovych (He codified the written Rusyn language and used the Cyrillic alphabet initially.)It was not until that time that folks learned more than the basic prayers. Learning by rote was the norm and remained so even in America through the 1930's at the so-called 'Russian Schools' held at most Orthodox Metropolia AND Rusyn Greek Catholic parishes.
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2011, 01:21:25 PM »

I have seen many Greek laity--both Old and New Calendar, both those born in Greece and born here--wear the small 33-knot prayer rope with no tassle (the so-called bracelet version), as a reminder to pray ceaselessly.
Yeah this is the most common way that I see prayer ropes worn. Has anyone other than Devin seen them hung from the belt, and or, instructed that they could be worn in this way?
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sainthieu
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2011, 01:41:00 PM »

It's currently fashionable for celebrities to wear prayer ropes around their wrists. I don't know where the fashion started, but I became aware of it recently. This, too, shall pass.
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2011, 02:49:00 PM »

^hey, that was my 'breaking' news story! Wink

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,33305.0.html
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2011, 02:51:11 PM »

I have seen some people wearing prayer ropes around their necks, and some even have them hanging in a way very reminiscent of Franciscan monks with their rosaries. Is this ever appropriate? Does it really matter one way or the other?

In my days as a Franciscan, we could only wear the rosary attached to our cord/belt.  In all my years as a Catholic, I never saw anyone wear a rosary around their neck.  The first time I saw a religious wearing a rosary around their neck was in a movie, then I saw laity wearing them around their necks.  Once again, culture turning a religious object into a piece of jewlery.

In our seminary, in South Bound Brook, NJ, our provost reminded us that only monks and nuns were allowed to wear their pray rope around their wrist.  The laity should keep them in their pocket until they were using them to pray.
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« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2011, 03:00:16 PM »

My question, regarding the position that laity shouldn't wear them around their wrists, would be why then are the wrist-sized ones made?  Not only that, why are they made by monastics and then sold in monastery bookstores to support them financially, obviously for laity to purchase?  I wonder if it's a jurisdictional difference. 

The one I have, I purchased at a Greek monastery.  Besides it being for prayer, it's very precious to me because it evokes the memory of my reason for that visit to the monastery (the burial of the infant son of dear friends of ours).  It reminds me to pray for them.
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2011, 03:13:28 PM »

Quote
My question, regarding the position that laity shouldn't wear them around their wrists, would be why then are the wrist-sized ones made?  Not only that, why are they made by monastics and then sold in monastery bookstores to support them financially, obviously for laity to purchase?  I wonder if it's a jurisdictional difference.
I am thinking that you are correct on this point. I assume from everyone's silence that it is not too common to see them worn from the belt?
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« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2011, 03:51:52 PM »

I have two prayer ropes, one 50 (?) knot one and one of the small wrist-sized ones.  My assumption was that the wrist-sized one is meant to be worn.  I like it because it reminds me to pray.  When I wear it, I keep it tucked under my sleeve, then just slide it off and hold it to pray/count the knots.

Me too! I wear my wrist-sized one daily as a reminder to pray, and that I am Orthodox (getting there) and to act accordingly. Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2011, 03:54:54 PM »

When I go to liturgy I let a 300 knot prayer rope dangle from each wrist, and when I make the sign of the cross the ropes fly around and smack people in the face, calling them into deeper prayer.
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« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2011, 04:03:21 PM »

When I go to liturgy I let a 300 knot prayer rope dangle from each wrist, and when I make the sign of the cross the ropes fly around and smack people in the face, calling them into deeper prayer.

You make the sign of the cross with both hands?? You gotta show me how to do that...  laugh
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« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2011, 04:50:14 PM »

When I go to liturgy I let a 300 knot prayer rope dangle from each wrist, and when I make the sign of the cross the ropes fly around and smack people in the face, calling them into deeper prayer.

I got that! It was funny!  Cheesy
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PoorFoolNicholas
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« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2011, 04:50:51 PM »

When I go to liturgy I let a 300 knot prayer rope dangle from each wrist, and when I make the sign of the cross the ropes fly around and smack people in the face, calling them into deeper prayer.
To put this simply, I love it! Hahahahahaha!!! Cheesy
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« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2011, 06:53:52 PM »

I wear a 33-knot around my wrist, as well as an icon bracelet, although I've considered not wearing the latter. I like having it to remind me, but I also don't want my intentions to draw to myself. I've also seen many people wearing a roman version and I've been asked if I'm catholic. (I would say "yes", but they wouldn't get it. Tongue)
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 06:54:06 PM by Antonis » Logged

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