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 rosary workshop - history index
HISTORY of the ROSARY
  "KNOCK ON WOOD"

 
DISTRESS AND TROUBLE
Often we use the phrase, "Knock on wood" - and proceed to do just that:  knock on a table or a door or whatever wood is handy. Most do not know that the origin of the phrase and practice comes from the rosary. Rosaries in the old days were made of oak wood and were fingered in time of distress or trouble.
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KNOCK ON WOOD
  Thus, holding on to or rubbing the wooden rosary or its wooden crucifix when danger was near became a common way for Christians to deal with hardships and difficulties. The practice  slipped into common use as "Knock on wood." But see what Prof Anastasios Zavales Phd ThD (Ecumenical Patriarchate Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of the USA) shares below: From "A World of Stories" by William Bausch  -  Shared by Father Ray H. (MI)

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for more information  
JOURNALING THE BEAD   -   MUSEUM
  ARTICLES   - GERMAN COLLECTION
also see and see this wonderful prayer
BEADSONG   -   WHY PRAY?
ANCIENT PRAYER TO MARY (235 ad)
 A GREATER - 1600 YEAR HISTORY
 When Saint Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, visiting the Holy Land and seeking the True Cross upon which Jesus was crucified, found the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, the Cross was venerated by all the faithful in many public processions. 
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Many faithful would come to touch the Holy Cross for blesssing and healing. It was customary to touch the Wood of Life three times (as a confession of faith in the Holy Trinity). This act of touching the True Cross became the earliest recorded histories of "knocking on wood." 
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This history, alas, has nothing to do with the Rosary since the Rosary is a much later innovation. Whenever the Holy Cross was put forth for public veneration, touching it, or as English translations render it "knocking," became common liturgical practice. 
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Once the Holy Cross was transferred to Constantinople and placed in the Great Church of the Holy Wisdom (aka Saint Sophia), Christians continued this piety by touching or knocking on any cross or crucifix (wood was the medium of the day) for blessings and healings. 
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This ancient tradition has been with us for over 1,600 years and has been a pious tradition to this day where people tend to touch anything made of wood ... but all interpretations of this behavior point back directly to Jerusalem in the 4th century AD and the True Cross. 
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No doubt, wooden prayer beads may have become a customary item for similar veneration, but historically much later.

Prof Anastasios Zavales Phd ThD
Ecumenical Patriarchate
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of the USA




~ JOURNALING the BEAD ~

BELOW: 15 decade rosary of fine wooden beads dated (1720) called a 'Psalter'.
A chronology of history from 9 BC to today

History Icon image



~ ANTIQUE ROSARIES ~

A museum collection of rosaries dating back to the 17th century




~ HISTORICAL ARTICLES   ~

contributions - articles on prayer beads in eastern and western
christian devotional life from our guests




~ GERMAN COLLECTION ~

antique filigrees + rosaries from a collector in germany




~ WHY PRAY the ROSARY ~

Where did the prayers come from?




~ BEADSONG ~

A story about a 6 year old and the rosary




~ WE FLY to YOUR PATRONAGE ~

Most Ancient Prayer To Our Lady - (235 AD)

We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.  Amen.

Found in a book of prayers to Mary, published in 1921, 'The Key of Heaven' quoting from a fledgling church still in the throes of Roman persecution and dated 235 AD. (Another original copy of this prayer was found in 1917 written on Egyptian papyrus. This prayer again spread from Egypt where Joseph and Mary had fled with Jesus to Europe and other parts of the Christian World.) Believed to be earliest written prayer to Mary.

Shared by Fr Joseph, from his Grandmother.

... HERESY - Here-say ...
"Heresy is from the Greek word meaning 'choice'.... But we are not permitted to believe whatever we choose, nor to choose whatever someone else has believed. We have the Apostles of God as authorities, who did not...choose what they would believe but faithfully transmitted the teachings of Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he shall be called anathema."
 Saint Isidore of Seville - (c.560 - 636) - Patron of Internet Users

... thank you so much! ...
I've had a long passion for rosaries and have recently began my journey in collecting antique ones. However, I haven't been able to find ANY information until I came across your web page. Thank you so much!  Joseph E. (IN)

... loved the history lesson ...
Loved the history lesson on the Rosary. Look forward to the next chapter.    Bill C (NV)

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