The prayer rope was formed by St. Pachomius in the fourth century. From there the rosary developed, some say as early as the eighth century. It is said that even centuries later St. Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833) used it to pray to the Virgin Theotokos. In the thirteenth century, Roman Catholics started using in the West following its discovery by Dominic de Guzmán, a Spanish priest.
The prayers said on this form of the prayer rope are the Hail Mary (also Hail Mother of God and Virgin), the Lord's Prayer, and the Jesus Prayer. The Hail Mary is said in groups of ten, and in between each group of ten are said the Lord's Prayer and the Jesus Prayer. Between each grouping of Hail Marys, a meditation is also pronounced, which is then thought of throughout the succeeding Hail Marys.
- Meditation 1- The Birth of the Theotokos
- Meditation 2- The Presentation of the Theotokos
- Meditation 3- The Annunciation of the Lord's Birth
- Meditation 4- The Meeting of the Theotokos and St. Elizabeth
- Meditation 5- The Birth of the Lord
- Meditation 6- The Prophecy of St. Simeon
- Meditation 7- The Flight into Egypt
- Meditation 8- The Boy-Christ among the Doctors
- Meditation 9- The Wedding of Cana
- Meditation 10- The Crucifixion of the Lord
- Meditation 11- The Resurrection of the Lord
- Meditation 12- The Ascension of the Lord into Heaven
- Meditation 13- Pentecost
- Meditation 14- The Dormition of the Virgin Theotokos
- Meditation 15- The Crowning of the Theotokos by the Blessed Trinity
Connection with St. Seraphim
It is said by some that St. Seraphim of Sarov used the rosary as a prayer rule to the Theotokos. Supporting evidence shows that this may be true, seeing that one of his spiritual children, Fr. Zosima, wrote:
- "...Say the 0 Hail, Mother of God and Virgin one hundred and fifty times... This rule was given by the Mother of God herself in about the eighth century... We Orthodox have forgotten about it, and St. Seraphim has reminded me of this Rule. In my hands I have a hand-written book from the cell of St. Seraphim, containing a description of the many miracles which took place through praying to the Mother of God and especially through saying one hundred and fifty times the O Hail, Mother of God and Virgin... Whomever he spoke to about this miracle-working Rule remained grateful to him...".