Eastern Orthodoxy

The Serbian Orthodox Church is a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church (also called the Orthodox Catholic Church).  The Eastern Orthodox Church is one of the three main groups of Christianity, alongside Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.  Member churches of the Eastern Orthodox Church are independent, or “autocephalous,” and do not follow a leadership hierarchy like that of the Roman Catholic Church.  The authority of the Serbian Orthodox Church is held in the Holy Synod, which is composed of all its bishops.  The head bishop is called the Patriarch, and the Patriarch resides in Belgrade, Serbia.

Orthodoxy is practiced in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as within the Serbian/Bosnian Serb diaspora.  There are four Serbian Orthodox “dioceses” (territorial organizations) in North America.  While Bowling Green is home to an Eastern Orthodox Church, Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission, the nearest Serbian Orthodox churches may be found in Tennessee, Missouri, and Ohio.

Serbian Orthodox Prayer Rope

Prayer ropes are used in Eastern Orthodox Christianity to mark the number of times the user has prayed the Jesus Prayer. Use of prayer ropes have a long history in Christianity. This prayer rope was made by Serbian Orthodox nuns in St. Paisius Monastery, a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Safford, Arizona. St. Paisius Monastery specializes in making prayer ropes using traditional knotted wool and other materials, such as satin, stone, wood, and crystal pearls. Prayer ropes typically feature 33 knots, 50 knots, 100 knots, or 150 knots, and meet at a knotted cross (Greek style) or tassel (Russian style). A prayer rope is typically held in the left hand. In the Balkans, prayer rope bracelets made of 33 knots are also popular and frequently worn on the wrist.