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Monday, May 28, 2012

The Mequteria - an Ethiopian Chotki

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending an Eritrean Catholic Divine Liturgy, one of the most sublime experiences of my life. My appreciation for one of the Church's most precious treasures and best-kept secrets, Ethiopian Christianity, continues to increase the more I learn about it. The venerable Master Beadsman Phillip Rolfes (who ties prayer ropes professionally) recently posted several articles about an Ethiopian prayer rope called the mequteria. What remains in this post is an outrageous plagiarism from his blog, which can be found here:

Ethiopian Orthodox Prayers

In the Ethiopian Orthodox Tradition, the commonly used prayer ropes are those with 41, and 64 beads, also known as a Mequteria. 41 is the number of lashes that Jesus received and 64 is the age of the Theotokos at her Assumption. Some monks and hermits use 150 to 300 beads, or even more than that.

When using the 41 bead Mequteria , the prayers recited are:

1. The Lord's Prayer with Gabriel's Salutation:

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. O, Our Lady Virgin Mary, we hail thee by the salutation of Angel Gabriel. Thou are virgin in thy mind. Thou are virgin in thy body. Hail Mary, Mother of Almighty God. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Rejoice Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Pray for us to your beloved Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so that he may forgive us our sins now and forever Amen." (12 times)

2. Lord have mercy on us (41 times)

3. In the name of Mary, Lord have mercy on us (41 times)

4. Kyrie Elieson (41 times)

5. Sador (piercing on the ribs by the lancet), Alador (the piercing on the right hand), Danat (the piercing on the left palm), Adera (the piercing on right foot), Rodas (the piercing on the left foot) (41 times)

6. O! God (41 times)

7. O! Christ (41 times)

8. Save us from wrath and deliver us by your mercy, in the name of Mary Your Mother (41 times)

9. Hear us! Our God and Savior (41 times)

10. Elohe! (Pronounced as “Elohee” and is the same as “Eloi” mentioned in Mt. 27:46) (41 times)

11. Ye! Ye! Ye! (Pronounced as “Yae” meaning “woe to me”) My God see me! (41 times)

12. O! God according to your mercy and not according to our sin (12 times)

13. Lord remember us in thy Kingdom (12 times)

14. The Magnificat:

"Hail Mary, we bow unto thee. Our Mother Mary we pray unto thee. We beseech thee to protect us from the evil beast. O! Virgin, in the name of Anna your mother, and Joachim your father, bless our congregation today!! Amen. The prayer of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God: My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. Amen. (7 times)

These are the 14 common recitations by all those who use the Mequteria. One can, however, add more according to his or her needs or interests. When using a 64 bead Mequteria all the prayers recited 41 times, will instead, be recited 64 times. Those prayers recited 7, or 12 times remain the same.

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