CELTIC ORTHODOX PATER NOSTER PSALTER
CELTIC ORTHODOX BENEDICTINE FATHERS
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The Pater Noster Psalter dates back to the first Century
and made popular in 5th Century Germany. Making Pater Noster
Beads became a cottage industry in Germany due to the popularity
of the prayer. The Marian Rosary was developed from the
format of the Pater Noster Psalter. Including the Station of the Cross for the
“mysteries” was not part of the original Pater Noster Psalter, being a
unique contribution from Celtic Orthodoxy from the Celtic
Orthodox Monastery in Bobbio, Italy in around the 13th Century.
The Monastery of Bobbio was a Monastery of Celtic Orthodox
Monks and established by St. Columbanus in 614.
The Celtic Orthodox Monastery at Bobbio, Italy was
forced to close in 1809 by French occupying forces.
The Pater Noster Psalter begins with an act of contrition for sin:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for ever having offended you, and I detest all my sins because they have offended you my God who are all good and deserving of my love. I resolve with the help of your grace to sin no more and avoid all occasions of sin.
Then repeat three times:
Holy God, mighty God, God immortal have mercy on me.
The Pater Noster Psalter comprises 15 Decades of 10 Our Father’s, for a total of 150
Our Father’s. Before each Decade is prayed:
Eternal Father, almighty and ever living God; God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; God and Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we offer to you Father of mercy the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of your divine Son present in this mystery as a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, adoration and reparation and for my special petition which by faith I have already received, by the working and power of your Holy Spirit, from your bounty through Christ our Lord. United with the intercession and ministry, gifts and graces, faith and merits of your Divine Son I pray in the words our Savior taught us.
This prayer is repeated before each set of 10 Our Fathers for all 15 Decades. The Mysteries (Stations) for each Decade are as follows:
1. Jesus is condemned to death.
2. Jesus is made to bear His Cross.
3. Jesus falls the first time.
4. Jesus meets His afflicted Mother.
5. Simon Cyrene helps Jesus to carry His Cross.
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
7. Jesus falls the second time.
8. Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem.
9. Jesus falls the third time.
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments.
11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross.
12. Jesus dies on the Cross.
13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross.
14. Jesus is buried in the sepulcher.
15. The Resurrection.
At the end of each decade is prayed Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost), now
and always unto ages of ages. One is Holy, one is the Lord, Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father.
The Stations of the Cross (Mysteries) were codified by Francis of Assisi while he was in residence at the Celtic Orthodox Monastery at Bobbio, Italy. Feel free to substitute any other mysteries that speak to your faith. The use of the Stations of the Cross is most common, but not mandated.
This dates back to the early church and was as big in the middle ages as the Marian Rosary is today among Catholics. The Marian Rosary was modeled after the Pater Noster Psalter.
The Pater Noster Psalter dates back to at least the first Century and had become popular by the 5th Century, especially in Germany. In Germany a cottage industry was developed to manufacture “Pater Noster Beads” (see below). These beads were often of precious stones but today it is mainly wood.
The Pater Noster Psalter is designed to be prayed in three intervals of 50 Our Father’s each.
Most commonly it is prayed 5 decades in the morning, 5 decades at noon and 5 decades in the evening.
To see the Pater Noster beads go to http://www.celticorthodoxchurch.com/bjk.jpg or http://www.celticorthodoxchurch.com/pater_noster_beads.jpg
The prayer rope (chotki or Pater Noster Beads) originated in the monastic world as a tool that could be used in the prayer rule of male and female monks. It was simply a method to keep track of the number of prayers asking for the Lord’s Mercy that the spiritual elder had given to his or her spiritual child as an obedience to perform each day. The purpose of this monastic exercise was to train the spiritual child’s mind to pray without ceasing in response to the commandment given by the Apostle Paul which is further supported in the New Testament (Orthodox Study Bible): Matthew 9:27, Matthew 15:22, Matthew 17:15, Matthew 20:30, Matthew 20:31, Mark 10:47, Mark 10:48, Luke 16:24, Luke 17:13, Luke 18:38, Luke 18:39, Romans 9:15, Romans 11:30, Romans 11:32, 1Corinthians 7:25, Philippians 2:27, 1Peter 2:10. The New Testament writings, as a fulfillment of the Old Testament, have their foundation in the Old Testament scripture where petitioning the Lord to have mercy on a person or group of people occurs repeatedly through scripture.
In Celtic Orthodoxy the training of the mind was the important reason for the Pater Noster Beads. The daily prayer would resonate in their mind and heart, even when asleep so as to pray without ceasing.
From the earliest days of the church the common practice was to pray the “Our Father” repeatedly. Many could not read and so could not pray the Psalms as did many of the Monks. In Celtic Orthodoxy the Chotki is more often called the Pater Noster Beads.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, eventually the practice of “praying the beads” as it was called found favor with the laity as well. People would pray the Our Father 150 times a day using the Pater Noster Beads (Chotki) to guide them and help keep track of the prayers. The lay people who wanted to lead a life that would bring them closer to God in the hope of salvation for their souls prayed what became known as the PaterNoster Psalter. The Prayer Rope can be cloth, metal or wood or even plastic. Today most are wood.
The Pater Noster Psalter is the precursor to the modern day Marian Rosary that became popular in the Roman Catholic Church as a prayer rule for their Roman Catholic faithful after the Great Schism between the Church of the East and the Church of the West in 1054 AD., when the Roman Catholic Church disrupted the peace and unity of the church.
Although many materials are used to tie a prayer rope in recent times – elastic rope, waxed rope, synthetic yarns, wood etc., it was and still is tied of Lamb’s wool yarn by tradition to remind the penitent that Jesus
is the Lamb of God The Prayer Rope was plain and not decorated to reflect the contrition of the person and to be humble before the Lord in their petition for mercy. In the Middle Ages some Pater Noster Beads became very much decorated with precious and semi-precious stones. Making the Pater Noster Beads became a cottage industry around the world, especially in Germany.
While any kind of prayer beads can be used, the most common rope for the Pater Noster Psalter is the chotki called the Pater Noster Beads. See: http://www.celticorthodoxchurch.com/pater_noster_beads.jpg
Holy Trinity Celtic Orthodox Church
1703 Macomber Street,
Toledo, Ohio 43606
Pastor: Bishop Brian J. Kennedy, O.S.B.