Sait Paisios’s advice about Jesus prayer and the prayer rope
Geronda … Why should we use the koboskini ( the prayer rope) ?? What is it all about ?
- The koboskini ( the prayer rope) is a legacy, a blessing, handed down to us by our Holy Fathers. The fact it is a legacy makes it greatty valuable. If a grandfather hands down to someone something of very little value, he keeps it as an amulet. Much more so, for the komboskini handed down to us as a legacy by our Holy Fathers! In the old days there were no clocks, so the monks were counting the hours of prayer with their koboskini , but the knots were very simple. Once, an ascetic was working very hard, doing prostrations etc, but the devil was unbinding the knots of his koboskini. He got weary with his prostrations, since he could not count them, as the devil was continuously unbinding the knots. Finally, an Angel of the lord appeared and taught him how to knit the knots, so that with each knot nine crosses should be formed. The devil, who trembles before the Cross, could not unbind the knots. So, each knot forms nine crosses, which symbolize the nine angelic orders.
Geronda, what do the 33, 100, 3000 knots koboskinia stand for?
- Only the number 33 is symbolic of Christ’s 33 years on earth. The other numbers simply help us count our prostrations and our prayer. Some engines have a handle with a rope. So when you want to start the engine, you pull the rope with force, until the frozen oil melts. Similarly the komposkini is the rope we ‘’pull ‘’ a few times till the spiritual oil melts making the spiritual engine start working the unceasing prayer. Thereafter, the heart starts working on its own. However, even when the heart starts working the prayer we should not stop using the koboskini so as not a prompt others to stop using it while their heart has not started working the prayer yet.
Geronda , when I hold the koboskini in my hands and I say the Jesus prayer as a matter of routine, is there a danger of saying the prayer out of self pleasure ?
- If you are using the koboskini superficially out of self – pleasure it will not help you even if you peel your hands. You will simply get tired and cherish the illusion that you are working on the mental prayer.
Geronda, I have not got used to keeping the koboskini.
- You should keep the koboskini so as not to forget the prayer which you should work internally inthe heart. Above all, whenever you come out of you cell you should keep in mind that the enemy is ready for attack. Therefore, you should imitate the good soldier who is always holding his automatic gun in his hands whenever he gets out of his stronghold. The koboskini is very powerful it is the monk’s gun, its knots being the bullets moving down the demons