The Christian Orthodox prayer necklace is a prayer rope with 100 complex knots made from rope. It is traditionally used by eastern Orthodox Christians to concentrate during prayer and to count the times they have recited a prayer.
These necklaces have several names that differ per country.
- Chotki in Russia
- Komboskini in Greece
- Brojanica in the Balkans
But in general its called an Orthodox prayer rope. These items also have a nice story to them that is filled with tradition and myth.
The story goes that Saint Anthony the Great was among the first monks that started to travel into the desert to spread the word of God. In that time monks used a jar with pebbles or stones to keep count of the times they recited a prayer. Saint Anthony did not think it was really handy to walk through the desert carrying a jar of stones. After giving it some thought, he started to tie knots in a rope to keep count of his prayers.
“These Prayer Necklaces are handmade and blessed”
During his travels the Saint started to get visions of the devil and every time he came out of his vision the knots he made were untied. You can imagine that this was creating havoc for the Saints prayers and mental state. Legend has it that one night while the Saint was sleeping an angel appeared in his dreams. The angel showed the Saint how to tie a special kind of knot consisting of seven interlocked crosses. These special knots could not be untied by the devil explained the angel.
The next morning when Saint Anthony woke up he immediately started to tie the special knot. Since he started with the special knots the devil stopped appearing in his visions and the knots he tied never got untied. And thus Saint Anthony became the inventor of the prayer rope.
Even today the prayer ropes are tied in the same way so that every knot consists of seven small interlocked crosses. The special knots the devil can not untie. Its exactly this mystique and history that makes these prayer necklaces and prayer bracelets so popular. People are really intrigued by the story and the tradition behind them.
A tradition that was born in recent years is that people from Orthodox countries started to give these religious necklaces as a gift to family, friends and loved ones as a charm to keep them safe.