Thursday, August 6, 2015

Chotki Shopping

Since my article on praying with the Eastern Christian prayer rope called a chotki (or komboskini) appeared in last week's Catholic News Herald, I've had a few people ask me where they can obtain one for their own use.  I decided to put together this post to recommend a few places I have found.

I bought my first chotki from MonkRock.com.  I like them because they are pretty low cost, and ship right away.  They offer a few different lengths, all black wool.
100 knot chotki from MonkRock.com

When I wanted to have a chotki made from our own homespun wool, from our flock of sheep, I sent the yarn to the Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery. You don't have to send them your own yarn, though.  They also make and sell prayer ropes from wool spun from the fleece of sheep raised on their own farm.
Wool chotkis from Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery.
Fr. Voitus has told me he buys his chotkis from Skete.com.  They are also pretty affordable and available in black wool.
Black wool chotki from Skete.com

Fr. Deacon Matthew Hanes, of the St. Basil the Great Greek-Ukrainian Catholic mission in Charlotte, has told me he orders his from St. Paisius Monastery.  They offer both Greek and Russian styles, in wool, satin, wood, semi-precious stones, and do custom work.
Greek style prayer rope, with accents, from St. Paisius
There are lots of other places to order from, however.  I don't have any direct experience with any of the ones listed below, but these are some sites I found that look like they offer some great chotkis.

First is the aptly named Chotki.com.  They have lots of different options, good prices, sell wholesale and retail, and have some great information about their use in prayer.
100 knot prayer rope from Chotki.com
MonasteryCraftshop.com sells them made of traditional wool as well as wooden beads.
Monasterycraftshop.com wool chotki
You can get them from the Hermitage of the Holy Cross.
Hermitage of the Holy Cross
One site I find especially interesting is The Master Beadsman, who is apparently simply a Christian man living in Ohio who really likes making prayer ropes and selling them via his blog site.  He makes Greek and Russian styles, in various lengths, to order.  So if you are looking for something custom, he may be a good person to reach out to.
Russian prayer rope from The Master Beadsman
Many of the monks and nuns at the monastery web sites referenced above (as well as others) would also be willing to make a custom chotki for you, if you don't see what you are looking for on their web site -- just ask.  That's how I got Mother Anna at the Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery to make mine.  

Of course, you can also try to make your own!  I can't tell you how many times I watched this, and other YouTube videos, to learn about the special Angelic Knot used in making these traditional prayer ropes.  I practiced for weeks, and even got to where I could make a successful knot almost half the time.  If nothing else, the learning experience allowed me to appreciate just how reasonably priced most all of these chotkis are, considering the work and prayer that goes into making each one.



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