The month of October in the Latin Church is traditionally dedicated to the holy Rosary. The feast of the holy Rosary, celebrated Oct. 7, commemorates the Catholic victory at the Battle of Lepanto. Accordingly, the Rosary is often prayed for the protection of the Church.
The Rosary is primarily a prayer of the Latin Church, but it is also prayed by some who belong to the Eastern Catholic Churches. They also have their own traditions of Marian prayer. Most Latin Catholics usually think of the Byzantine Catholic Church when they think of Eastern Catholics, but there are other Eastern Churches that follow equally ancient traditions. In particular, there are the Oriental Churches such as the Syriac, Maronite, Coptic, Ethiopian, Chaldean and Armenian traditions. These are often unknown to Catholics in the West, yet they are ancient Churches that date back to the apostles.
In his 1995 encyclical Orientale Lumen (“The Light of the East”), Pope St. John Paul II writes:
“Since, in fact, we believe that the venerable and ancient tradition of the Eastern Churches is an integral part of the heritage of Christ’s Church, the first need for Catholics is to be familiar with that tradition, so as to be nourished by it and to encourage the process of unity in the best way possible for each. Our Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters are very conscious of being the living bearers of this tradition, together with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. The members of the Catholic Church of the Latin tradition must also be fully acquainted with this treasure and thus feel, with the Pope, a passionate longing that the full manifestation of the Church’s catholicity be restored to the Church and to the world, expressed not by a single tradition, and still less by one community in opposition to the other; and that we too may be granted a full taste of the divinely revealed and undivided heritage of the universal Church which is preserved and grows in the life of the Churches of the East as in those of the West.”
Anyone who has followed the news knows that it is these Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, who are currently suffering severe persecution and even genocide. They seem to be often forgotten and ignored. One way we can assist them and show spiritual solidarity is through prayer. The Rosary is a very adaptable form of prayer, so we can add prayers from these ancient Catholic rites to especially bring these Christian brethren to mind. It will also help us in the West to gain a greater understanding of the spiritual riches found in the Christian East.
In the following Rosary, each decade begins with a Scripture verse, is then prayed in the normal way, and concludes with a closing prayer taken from one of the Eastern traditions. Through the intercession of Mary, may God grant hope, perseverance and comfort to the persecuted Christians.
Sign of the Cross, Apostles’ Creed, Our Father, three Hail Marys, Glory Be.
First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation
“And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
Rejoice, O you of whom we ask healing,
O holy, full of honor, ever virgin
birth-giver of God, Mother of Christ:
offer up our prayer on high to your beloved Son
that he may forgive us our sins.
Rejoice, O you who did bear for us
the very Light of Righteousness, even Christ our God,
O virgin pure, plead for us unto our Lord
that he may have mercy on our souls
and forgive us our sins.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, very Queen;
Rejoice, O pride of our kind;
Rejoice, O you that bear for us Emmanuel our God.
We ask you to remember us, O true Mediatrix,
before our Lord Jesus Christ,
that he may have mercy upon our souls
and forgive our sins.
(Ethiopian prayer to the Virgin)
Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation
“And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women!” (Lk 1:42).
Hail. O land that was never sown.
Hail, O bush that was set aflame, but was not consumed.
Hail, O depth which is hard for sight to fathom.
Hail, O bridge that leads to the height and
the ladder that lifts up into heaven.
Hail, O vessel in with the divine manna was preserved.
Hail, O you who abolished the curse of old time.
Hail, O you who lifted up Adam from his fall.
The Lord is with you.
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.
(Syrian Supplication to the Blessed Virgin)
Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).
Our God, our mighty stronghold.
He has chosen a dwelling for himself.
The daughter of man became the Tree of Life for the whole mortal race,
For the Glorious Fruit which dawned from her pours forth and
grants all benefits. Come, O mortals, let us be brought near to the
sweetness of his words, and sing praise to him!
-Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
Through your pleading, O revered Mary, may peace reign in creation.
And by your supplications, O full of hope, may the children of the Church
be guarded. Come, O mortals, let us take refuge in the wings of the
Blessed Mother, that we may be made worthy of forgiveness.
(Chaldean Commemoration of Mary at Christmas)
Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation
“And a sword shall pierce through your own soul also” (Lk 2:35).
Great is your mercy, our Maker, which, in a girl of our race you
honored our nature and lifted our lowliness, and established the
hope of our salvation. From an earth of thorns, you brought forth,
our comfort: a blessed stalk, a daughter of Eve our mother. For Eve
bequeathed a curse to us, and Mary brought us a blessing: for she
became a temple for Jesus our Life-Giver, and from the fullness of
graces she received, she fulfilled our neediness.
(Chaldean Memorial of Mary the Immaculate)
Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
“And his mother kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.” (Lk 2:51)
Hail Mary! In your virginity, you became the mother of the mighty One
who fills the heaven and earth.
Hail Mary! In your virginity, you became the mother of the ancient One
whose name was before she sun was created.
Hail Mary! In your virginity, you became the mother of the Creator
who formed Eve and gave her to Adam.
Blessed are you Mary, in whose womb dwelled in holiness the only begotten
Son who is one in nature and in splendor with the Father.
Blessed are you, O Mary, who carried in your arms the Son of the most
high whom the heavenly powers bear aloft.
(St. Ephrem, Hymn on Mary)
First Luminous Mystery: The Baptism of Christ
“And a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.” (Mk 1:11).
He was baptized for Adam’s sin, and buried for Adam’s death.
He rose and raised Adam into glory.
Though your birth had sufficed, for Adam’s sons as for Adam
O mighty one who became a babe, in your birth anew have you
begotten me! O pure one who was baptized, let your washing wash away
our filth, O living one who was buried, may we gain life at your death!
I will praise all of you in him that fills all.
(St. Ephrem, Hymn XVI)
Second Luminous Mystery: The Miracle at Cana
“His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you'” (Jn 2:5).
Together with my guests I will give thanks because Christ has
held me worthy to invite him-the heavenly bridegroom who
has come down and invited all, and I too have been invited
to enter his pure wedding feast. Among men on earth shall I
acknowledge him as bridegroom, for there is none other beside;
his bridal chamber is established for eternity, and his wedding
feast is provided with riches and is needful of nothing.
(St. Ephrem, Hymn to Virginity)
Third Luminous Mystery: The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
“Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15).
O Lord, through the prayers of your Mother, keep away from the earth
and all its inhabitants the scourge of wrath; eliminate dangers and
disturbances; remove from us wars, captivity, hunger, and plague. Have
compassion on us, we are weak; comfort us, we are sick; assist us, we are poor;
deliver us, we are oppressed; grant rest to the faithful departed who
have left us and grant us a peaceful death so that we raise glory to you now,
at all times, and forever.
(Maronite Sedro for Sunday)
Fourth Luminous Mystery: The Transfiguration
“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light” (Mt 17:2).
May we offer praise, glory, and honor to the ever-vigilant one whose
light never ceases and whom the angels constantly worship; to the light
who is praised unceasingly by the heavenly hosts who are illumined by
him; to the Word of God, one person of the Holy Trinity, the Son who is
one in being with the Father and glorified by divine powers; the one who
lowered himself, dwelt in the pure Virgin Mary and, in his compassion,
saved our human race; the good one to whom are due glory and honor,
now and forever.
(Maronite Proemion for Tuesday)
Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist
“He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:54).
In holiness let us taste of the holy and precious body and blood of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who, having come down from heaven,
is distributed among us. This is life, hope of resurrection, propitiation,
and remission of sins. Sign psalms unto the Lord our God, sing psalms
unto our heavenly King, the Immortal, who rides in cherubic chariots.
(Armenian prayer in preparation for Holy Communion)
The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden
“Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk 22:42).
Behold the bridegroom comes at midnight. Blessed is that servant
whom he shall find watching, but he whom he shall find sleeping
is unworthy to go with him. see, O my soul, that you grow not
heavy with sleep, lest you be cast outside the Kingdom, but watch
and cry aloud, saying; ‘Holy, holy, holy are you O God!’ For
the sake of the birth-giver of God, have mercy upon us.
(Coptic Midnight Prayer)
The Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar
“Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole” (Is 53:5).
The Lamb of God released, through his blood, the nations from
error as from Egypt. Many lambs were slain, but through one alone
was Egypt overcome. On feast days’ lambs were offered, but one
alone overcame error. Samuel brought up a suckling lamb, in which
he overcame the warriors and the power of the Philistines. Through
a lamb, the son of David weakened the might evil of Gilead. the
priests take the veil from the altar, pure purple, and throw it upon him.
(Chaldean Madrasha for Wednesday of Holy Week)
The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns
“Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter … so he opened not his mouth” (Is 53:7).
They judged him and condemned him; they imprisoned him and
struck him; they took a reed and beat him; who can go to sleep?
They drenched his face with spit, and a slave struck him on the jaw,
and as he spoke, they condemned him; who can go to sleep?
Like rabid dogs, they assaulted the Lion to kill him, and he stood
silent like a guilty man; who can go to sleep?
they fastened a crown of thorns, and place it on the possessor of
crowns; they inflicted him with all mockeries; who can go to sleep?
They pushed the all-radiant Sun into darkness, and slammed the
doors shut in his face; who can go to sleep?
(Chaldean Madrasha for Good Friday)
The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: Christ Carrying the Cross
“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23).
Happy are you, living wood of the cross, for you proved
to be a hidden sword to death; for with that sword which
smote him the Son slew death, when he himself was struck
by it. the sword that pierced Christ removed the sword guarding
paradise; his forgiveness tore up our document of debt.
(St. Ephrem, Hymn on the Crucifixion)
Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion
“Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46).
By the sign of your all-conquering cross, loving Christ, protect us
against the invisible enemy. for you alone are the king of glory,
blessed forever. On this cross you spread out your undefiled arms,
and you poured out your blood for the salvation of the universe.
For you alone are the king of glory, blessed forever. May your
cross be our refuge with its blazing brilliance. That which is
named the tree of life destroyed the enemy and dissolved our
death sentence, for the salvation of the universe. Come, all you
saved by the life-giving cross, bowing down to Christ our Savior
upon it. Blessed is the Lord God of our fathers!
(Armenian Hymn for the Feast of the Holy Cross)
The Glorious Mysteries
The First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection
“He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing” (Jn 20:27).
Your resurrection, O Savior, adorned out race with heavenly gifts:
it gave us, immediately, a true new life in the spiritual birth of
baptism, in which we are baptized in the model of your death and
resurrection; it also established, for us, teachers and priests in the
churches, through whose agency we are brought near to the
glorious mysteries of the knowledge of your divinity, O Lover
of Mankind, glory to you!
(Chaldean prayer for Second Sunday of Resurrection)
The Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension
“Jesus came and said to them, “… Go … and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:18,19).
O Lord, in your love, you had honored our nature; in the beginning of your
living image and in your likeness. And, because the Backbiter threw
us out of our glory in his envy, you sent your Son, by his birth he turned our
race back from ignorance; by his revered baptism, he promised us adoption;
by his suffering and death, he saved us from slavery to sin; by his resurrection,
he justified us, and by his ascension, he lifted us up to his right hand.
(Chaldean prayer for the Feast of the Ascension)
The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
“They returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet. … All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:12, 14).
The Holy Spirit, by his power, effects and does all things through
his gifts: indeed, he supplies prophesy, perfects priests in his grace,
is able to bring wisdom to the simple, and in his power, he
presides over the awesome liturgies of the Church. Oh Kin of the
Glorious Nature! Oh Kin of the adorable inhabitance of the Father
and the Only-Begotten Son! Oh Holy Spirit, glory to you!
(Chaldean prayer for Golden Friday)
The Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption of Mary
“She is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness” (Wis 7:26).
Hail, pure Mother of God, bride of the Spirit.
Hail, fountain of blessings, ship bearing holy treasures.
Hail, leaven of life, concealing the divine grain.
Hail, blessed censor, mother of the fiery ember.
Prophets and apostles left their tombs to escort you to your place
of honor. From the ends of the earth they came. We join the ranks
of all the angels and saints to celebrate your assumption from this
earth, for you are the first heir of your Son’s resurrection. We
praise the life-giving Trinity, now and forever.
(Maronite Hoosoyoo for Assumption)
The Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Coronation of Mary
“Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?” (Song 6:10).
Who can count the praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary? She became
a highly fortified mountain to receive the power of God and his Word;
she became loftier then the chariot depicted by Daniel, because she
carried God in his human and divine natures. She is the paradise of
the second Adam and the bush that was never consumed by
divine power! She is the one who was adorned with all the beauties
of holiness through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
She is the second heaven in whom the Sun of the world dwelt in the
flesh! She is the Mother of Light who, through his birth, has
enlightened the world and dissipated all darkness!
(Maronite Sedro for Tuesday)
We fly to your patronage O Holy Mother of God.
Despite not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver
us always from all dangers. O Glorious and Blessed
(Sub tuum praesidium from Egypt 3rd century)
Pray for us O Holy Mother of God
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ
Let us pray:
O Virgin Mother! Shield us form all the menaces that
confront us and keep far from us the stormy winds and
tides of this world. O Mother! Since you have acceptance
in the presence of God, pray that your intercession may
grant us forgiveness and mercy, heal the sick, bring
relief to the afflicted and the return to us peacefully
of those who are away.
(Syrian prayer for the intercession of the Mother of God)
Sign of the Cross
Father James Goodwin, JCL, has a graduate certificate in Marian Studies from the University of Dayton. He writes from North Dakota.