The Rosary


Do the Orthodox pray the rosary and use rosary beads?


The Roman Catholic devotion of praying the Rosary is not a part of the Orthodox Christian Tradition, as this devotion in its present form dates from about the 15th century—hundreds of years after Roman Catholicism separated herself from the Orthodox Church.

In Orthodoxy there is, however, the practice of praying the Jesus Prayer—“O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner”—on a set of prayer beads, generally 100 in number. This tradition is especially upheld by Orthodox monks and nuns, although a growing number of laypersons also make use of such beads. This usage, however, is completely unrelated in origin, form, and content to Roman Catholicism’s Rosary.

I might add that the original version of the prayer which forms the basis of the Rosary—the “Hail Mary”—finds a prominent place in Orthodox Christian liturgical worship and private prayer. The prayer reads as follows:

quot; Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God, Mary, full of grace! The Lord is withyou! Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, foryou have borne the Savior of our souls.”

There is an excellent article on the St Vladimir’s Seminary website on Saying the Jesus Prayer.