HOLY TRINITY CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
CELTIC ORTHODOX BENEDICTINE FATHERS
1703 Macomber St.,
Toledo, Ohio 43606
Phone 419.206.2190 / E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Home Page http://www.celticorthodoxchurch.com
Bishop Brian J. Kennedy, O.S.B. Pastor
THE MARIAN ROSARY IN WESTERN RITE ORTHODOXY
The Marian Rosary in its present form, developed no later than the 4th Century and the “Mysteries” were codified no later than the 8th Century as an expression of veneration to Mary in the Orthodox Church. When it was created it was known as “Mary’s Psalter”. The Rosary was originally an Orthodox form of prayer that was later adopted by the Roman Catholics. It has since fallen out of common practice in the Church. It is my hope to reintroduce this pious practice into the life of Orthodox Christians. The Rosary is the victim of legends and fabrication. Some hold to the view that Mary gave the Rosary to St. Dominic, which is false. Others have developed spurious “promises to those who pray the Rosary”. The fact remains, the real reason to pray the Rosary is found in the prayer “Hail Mary”. Mary is full of grace, the Lord is with her, blessed is she among women. As the Mother of the God with us, her prayer support will win for us more graces from God than we can attain through our humble prayer because of her “Fiat” (Let it be done to me according to your word). In the veneration of Mary, Christ is glorified through the Communion of Saints and through Christ glory is given to our Heavenly Father. Mary believed and submitted to the Angel’s words with faith. Our sins block our prayer from being accepted by God and our sins block us from receiving the blessings God wants us to have. The Orthodox and Catholic Church has long had recourse to the ministry of intercession of Mary, to her gifts and graces supported by her faith and merits. The use of prayer beads continues the format of prayer used in the early larger church catholic.
The Orthodox Rosary is prayed on a Prayer Rope, also called a Chotki or on prayer beads used for this devotion. To pray the Rosary, a Prayer Rope is used in which the knots are divided into groups of ten, or decades, with a bead or a little wooden cross separating each decade. Use of the prayer beads are more common today.
The prayer rope was formed by St. Pachomius in the fourth century. From there the rosary developed. The Mysteries were codified by no later than the 8th Century. While the devotion originated among the monks of ancient Egypt, it was given the name “the Rosary” and made popular through the promotion by the Celtic Orthodox Christians of the British Isles.
The monks of the Egyptian Thebaid were praying one hundred fifty Angelic Salutations (Hail Mary’s) grouped into fifteen decades following the pattern of the one hundred and fifty Psalms no later than the fourth century. However, while the origin of The Rule of the Theotokos, or Our Lady’s Psalter, is found in ancient Egypt, the term “Rosary” — or “garland of roses” — has its origin in the usage of the Celtic Orthodox Church in the British Isles.
The Orthodox Marian Rosary is sometimes called St. Seraphim’s Rosary after two great Saints of the Orthodox Church — both named St. Seraphim — who were proponents of “The Rule of the Theotokos”: St. Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833) and St. Seraphim Zvezdinsky (1883-1937).
Fr. Zosima, one of the spiritual children of St. Seraphim of Sarov said, “In my hands I have a hand-written book from the cell of Saint Seraphim, containing a description of the many miracles which took place through praying to the Mother of God and especially through saying one hundred and fifty times the “O Hail, Mother of God and Virgin” (see below).
St. Seraphim (Zvezdinsky) was an Endoverie (Old Rite) Russian Orthodox bishop who had been consecrated to the episcopate by St. Tikhon of Moscow as Bishop of Dimitrov, and was martyred by the Soviet communists in 1937. He was tonsured a monk with the name of Seraphim after St. Seraphim of Sarov. He had great devotion to the Mother of God; and received from God the gift of preaching, becoming well known for his sermons. St. Seraphim Zvezdinsky also possessed the gifts of clairvoyance and healing of the sick; these gifts manifested themselves many times throughout his life.
HOW THE ROSARY IS PRAYED
Our Lady’s Psalter, better known as the Rosary, usually includes introductory prayers. Today, the “Preface” or introduction consists of the Apostles Creed prayed on the Crucifix followed by one Our Father, then three Hail Mary’s. Then, the appropriate Meditation is named followed by the Lord’s Prayer on the bead and ten Hail Mary’s on the knots or beads. Fifteen decades, or at least five decades, are thus prayed, each preceded by naming the appropriate Meditation and then praying the Lord’s Prayer and ten Hail Mary’s.
PRAYING THE ROSARY
Ten Hail Marys:
The original “Hail Mary” prayer was
O hail, Mother of God and Virgin; Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb for thou has given birth to the Savior of our (my) soul.
The Hail Mary has changed to reflect ethnicity and other considerations throughout history but today it is commonly accepted throughout all of Orthodoxy that the Hail Mary below is the accepted form today.
The Hail Mary used and accepted today
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women; and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. * Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
It is said that even centuries later St. Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833) used it to pray in honor of the Virgin Theotokos. In the thirteenth century, Roman Catholics started using it in the West following its rediscovery by Dominic de Guzmán, a Spanish priest. Dominic created three sets of “Mysteries”, Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious. In the beginning, there were 15 Decades of 10 Hail Mary’s each but the 15 “Mysteries” (meditations on the life of Christ and the Theotokos) are not divided up into Joyful, Sorrowful or Glorious Mysteries. We seek to share in the ministry of intercession, graces, faith and merits of Mary by the working of the Holy Spirit in the body of believers to the glory of Jesus Christ and through Jesus to the glory of God the Father. It is through faith in Jesus and our attempt to live by His Commandments that we share in the Communion of Saints which sharing gives us access to the prayer support of Mary. To share in the Ministry of Intercession of Mary and the Saints we must have synergy with the Father in Christ.
Mysteries or Meditations in the Orthodox Tradition
* Meditation 1- The Birth of the Theotokos
* Meditation 2- The Presentation of the Theotokos
* Meditation 3- The Annunciation of the Lord's Birth
* Meditation 4- The Meeting of the Theotokos and St. Elizabeth
* Meditation 5- The Birth of the Lord
* Meditation 6- The Prophecy of St. Simeon
* Meditation 7- The Flight into Egypt
* Meditation 8- The Boy-Christ among the Doctors
* Meditation 9- The Wedding of Cana
* Meditation 10- The Crucifixion of the Lord
* Meditation 11- The Resurrection of the Lord
* Meditation 12- The Ascension of the Lord into Heaven
* Meditation 13- Pentecost
* Meditation 14- The Dormition of the Virgin Theotokos
* Meditation 15- The Crowning of the Theotokos by the Blessed Trinity
The rosary is a powerful prayer. It settles our hearts and minds. It puts things in perspective and allows us to see things as they really are. It reaches deep down into our souls and puts us at ease, creating a peace that is rare and beautiful. To put it simply: It just works.
Of course, in order for the rosary to start working in your life, you have to start praying it! The hardest part of anything is getting started. The rosary is no different. It may seem intimidating at first, but that’s where this guide comes in! Our hope is that you will be inspired to give the rosary a try and discover the power of the rosary for yourself.
With the prayers of the rosary, we ask Mary to pray for us and to guide us by the example of her son, Jesus.
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