Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Anglican (Ecumenical) Rosary

The Anglican Rosary (also sometimes called an ecumenical rosary) is a fairly new development, having been started by a small group during the 1980’s. There are no set prayers, with each person deciding on his or her own how to use the beads, but there are booklets available with suggested prayers. (I don’t have any, but “prayerbedes” on Etsy does, I believe.)

The main feature of the rosary is the symbolism of the beads. There are four groups of seven beads each; each group is called a “week”. There are four “cruciform beads” that separate the weeks; when the rosary is opened as a circle, these beads form the shape of a cross (that’s the reason you often see the rosaries displayed that way in photos). On the stem of the rosary is one “invitatory bead”, which is used at the start of prayer. If you add up the numbers of all of these beads…

(4x7) + 4 +1 = 33

…with 33 representing the years that Jesus lived on earth.

Finally, at the end of the stem is a cross.

Some rosary-making points:

The cruciform beads are something like the Catholic rosary’s Our Father beads in that they separate groups of beads and are normally larger than the beads used for the “weeks”.

The invitatory bead sometimes matches the cruciform beads and sometimes is a special bead that’s larger than the cruciform beads. I’ve done it both ways, depending on what beads I have to work with. (My “most hearted” Anglican rosary has a large carved sodalite stone as its invitatory bead: http://www.etsy.com/listing/44054861/anglican-rosary-ecumenical-rosary-blue )

The cross can be of any type but is normally not a crucifix. I’ve made one custom-ordered Anglican rosary where a crucifix was requested, but I wouldn’t use one unless it was specifically asked for.

One thing I like about making Anglican rosaries is that they can be made on one continuous strand of wire. I usually make them when I know I’ll have time to do the entire process all at once, from start to finish.

I’ve found a couple of construction methods online, but because they put the crimps in places I didn’t think looked right I’ve come up with my own. After beading the weeks and three of the cruciform beads, I thread both loose ends of wire through the fourth cruciform bead, crimp them together just below the bead, cut off the excess of one end, and use the other end to make the stem.

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