Komboskini and the road to Fame

The Orthodox Prayer Rope, also known as the Chotki or Komboskini is getting more popular by the day. It is becoming like the Catholic Rosary somewhat of a fashion statement. But how bad is this? Is there a positive note to its popularity or is it a lost cause? Let’s get into this topic.

The popularity has grown because a lot of Orthodox movie, pop and sport stars wear them. On a side-note the fashion industry has also picked up on these prayer ropes and they are featured in some large ad campaigns and fashion shows.

But what is the story behind these Chotki’s and Komboskini’s? Well, they are like the word already explains prayer ropes. They are used for counting the times you say a prayer, each knot representing one prayer. People kept forgetting these prayer ropes when they traveled so they started to wear them around the neck or on the wrist. It is then that they made bracelets and necklaces out of them. For your information these prayer ropes date back to the year 270AC the years that St. Anthony the Great lived. Saint Anthony is the inventor of the prayer rope. Before that monks used small rocks for counting prayers.

Komboskini necklace
100 Knot Komboskini Necklace

If you are interested in the full story please do a google search for: “Saint Anthony the Great the inventor of the prayer rope”. This story is wonderful and magnificent and you will be surprised.

These Bracelets have 33 knots and necklaces 100 knots. Although these rope changed from plain simple knotted ropes into bracelets and necklaces, the way they are made never did. Authentic Christian Komboskini or Chotki are meticulously handwoven by monks and nuns from Orthodox monastery’s reciting a prayer for each knot they tie. Knowing how these items are made you come to understand the strong symbolism behind these special bracelets and necklaces.

The more people hear about the story behind these items the more they get intrigued. This brings me to the elephant in the room, the same elephant that was in the room when the Catholic Rosary became a fashion item. How on earth could someone use such a komboskini, knowing its heritage, as a fashion accessory? Unfortunately, this can not be stopped, but the positive note is, that most people fall in love with the story behind it instead of the fashion statement. The komboskini has such a strong story behind it that most of the time it’s the story that sells the bracelet. And in turn the story brings religion closer and for some opens the door to the Orthodox Christian religion.

So now you tell me, how is this a bad thing.

How to make a Chotki or Komboskini

Don’t forget to bless your komboskini!

If you decide to make a komboskini bracelet or necklace yourself. Which is absolutely awesome and doable. Do not forget to take it to your local Orthodox Christian Church and leave it to overnight and ask the Pastor to bless it.

You can get the materials to make these bracelets on Etsy! But if you can’t find it on Etsy, you can just buy ordinary yarn and a black bead.

The original material for the Komboskini / Chotki bracelets and necklaces is wool, but due to so many people being allergic to wool, most of the time a nonallergenic rope is used instead. For the cross bead, as mentioned above you can use a plastic black bead, but light blue and ocean blue beads are also often used. I even saw peopel use a skull bead, but I need to say that that does NOT belong on a prayer rope. It should be a cross bead or just a plain plastic black or blue bead.

Wooden cross beads and normal wooden beads are fine too, some prefer it to be olive tree cross beads, but that is a story for another time.

Poll results is it fashionable?

Well you can see from the poll that 70+ procent of people find the komboskini/chotki fashionable. This does not surprise me at all, let’s face it the bracelets and necklaces are fashionable.

But let us not forget that these items are religious and are very dear to Orthodox Christains, I just hope that people do come to know the story behind these Komboskini.

Where to buy?

I can recommend the following online store: The Komboskini Store