HISTORY of The Rosary

There are differing views on the history of the Rosary. The exact origin of the Rosary as a prayer is less than clear and subject to debate among scholars. The use of knotted prayer ropes in Christianity goes back to the Desert Fathers in the 3rd and early 4th centuries. These counting devices were used for prayers such as the Jesus prayer in Christian monasticism. The period after the First Council of Ephesus in 431 witnessed a gradual growth in the use of Marian prayers during the Middle Ages.

According to some Catholic traditions, the Rosary was given to Saint Dominic in a vision of theBlessed Virgin Mary and it was then promoted by Blessed Allan de la Roche. However, not all Catholics agree with that tradition. Some historians see a more gradual development for the Rosary, in that the repetition of Marian prayers which form the basis of the Rosary needed counting devices, which resulted in the modern form of the Rosary prayed on beads. 

More History

Prayers with beads like the rosary may have begun as a practice by the laity to imitate the Christian monasticism of the Liturgy of the Hours, during the course of which the monks prayed the 150 Psalmsdaily.[3] As many of the laity and even lay monastics could not read, they substituted 150 repetitions of the Our Father (Pater noster in Latin) for the Psalms, sometimes using a cord with knots on it to keep an accurate count.[4]

According to a Dominican tradition, the rosary was given to Saint Dominic in an apparition by theBlessed Virgin Mary in the 16th century in the church of Prouille.[3] This Marian apparitionreceived the title of Our Lady of the Rosary.[5] In the 15th century Blessed Alanus de Rupe(aka Alain de la Roche or Saint Alan of the Rock), who was a learned Dominican priest and theologian, is said to have received a vision from Jesus about the urgency of reinstating the rosary as a form of prayer. Blessed Alanus de Rupe also said that he received the Blessed Mother's "15 Promises". Before his death on September 8, 1475 he re-instituted the rosary in many countries and established many rosary confraternities. Despite the popularity of Blessed Alanus's story about the origins of the rosary, there has never been found any historical evidence positively linking St. Dominic to the rosary. The story of St. Dominic's devotion to the rosary and supposed apparition of Our Lady of the Rosary does not appear in any documents of the Church or Dominican Order prior to the writings of Blessed Alanus,[4]some 300 years later.

Key Dates:

 The table shows key dates in the development of the rosary.:[3]

  • Prior to the birth of Christ, an angel, traditionally identified as Gabriel, speaks "Hail, full of grace, the lord is with you" to Mary (see Annunciation), the basis of the Ave Maria prayer, also known as the Angelic Salutation (Luke 1:28).
  • At two different points in the gospels, Jesus taught the Pater Noster prayer (Matthew 6 and Luke 11).
  • The Apostle's Creed developed in the first two centuries (see Apostles' Creed.
  • 4th century prayer rope used by the Desert Fathers to count repetitions of the Jesus Prayer
  • "Hail Mary full of grace" prayer employed in a Syriac ritual attributed to Severus, Patriarch of Antioch (c. 513) on line link http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07110b.htm Catholic Encyclopedia written in 1914
  • By the 7th century prayers to Mary were becoming more common.[18]
  • c. 1075 Lady Godiva refers in her will to "the circlet of precious stones which she had threaded on a cord in order that by fingering them one after another she might count her prayers exactly" (Malmesbury, "Gesta Pont.", Rolls Series 311)[4]
  • A rule for anchorites in mid-12th century England gives directions on how 50 Hail Marys are to be said divided into sets of ten, with prostrations and other marks of reverence.[4]

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2e/BLW_Rosary.jpg/180px-BLW_Rosary.jpg" width="180"/>A rosary from 1475-1500, Germany.

Robes, Beads & Prayers

The English word bead derives from the Old English noun bedewhich means a prayer.[26][27]

The earliest Christian devices for counting prayers trace to theDesert Fathers who started Christian monasticism in the 3rd century.[28] They had the habit of praying 150 psalms a day and in order to keep track of the count kept 150 pebbles in a bowl or a bag, and removed a pebble after each psalm.Anthony of Egypt and St. Pachomius are often associated with the development of prayer ropes in the 4th century. These were ropes with 150 knots and gained popularity because they weighed less than a bag of 150 pebbles. These prayer ropes (also called komboskini) continue to be used in Eastern Christianity today. These ropes were only used for prayers such as the Jesus Prayer and the Lord's Prayer and involved no prayers to the Virgin Mary.[29][30]

The earliest known prayer to Mary is the Sub tuum praesidium, which begins with the words: "Beneath your compassion, we take refuge."[31][32] The earliest text of Sub tuum praesidiumtraces to theCoptic Orthodox liturgy and a copy written in Greek dates to around the year 250.[33] After the First Council of Ephesus in 431 the title Theotokos and the veneration of Mary as the "Mother of God" were established and a period of growth for Marian prayers started.[34][35]

An Egyptian Coptic ostracon that dates to around the year 600 bears the Greek words: "Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, because thou didst conceive Christ, the Son of God, the Redeemer of our souls". This Eastern variant of the Ave Maria was apparently intended for liturgical use, just as the earliest form of the Hail Mary in the Western Church took the shape of an antiphon. However, there is little or no trace of the Hail Maryas an accepted "devotional formula" before about 1050.[19] While two Anglo-Saxon manuscripts at the British Museum, one of which may be as old as the year 1030, show the words "Ave Maria" etc. and "benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui" it is not certain when these clauses were first joined to make one prayer[19]

More about the Rosary

The spread of the Rosary, a Marian devotion, is attributed to the preaching of Dominic.[40][41] The Rosary has for centuries been at the heart of the Dominican Order. Pope Pius XI stated, "The Rosary of Mary is the principle and foundation on which the very Order of Saint Dominic rests for making perfect the life of its members and obtaining the salvation of others." For centuries, Dominicans have been instrumental in spreading the rosary and emphasizing the Catholic belief in the power of the rosary.[42]

The feast of Saint Dominic is celebrated with great pomp and devotion in Malta, in the old city of Birgu and the capital city Valletta. The Dominican order has very strong links with Malta and Pope Pius V, a Dominican friar himself, aided the Knights of St. John to build the city of Valletta. [43] 

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