An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


A Marian devotion that leads to Jesus. It combines repetitions of familiar prayers with meditation on fifteen mysteries of faith. Meditation on each mystery is accompanied by recitation of the Lord's Prayer, ten (a “decade”) Hail Marys, and the Gloria Patri. The mysteries are divided into three sets of five, which are known as chaplets. Each chaplet or third of the rosary may be done separately. The terms “rosary” and “chaplet” may also be applied to the string of beads that is often used to aid the memory and count the prayers of this devotion. The three chaplets are the joyful mysteries which focus on the Incarnation, the sorrowful mysteries which focus on Christ's sufferings, and the glorious mysteries which focus on Christ's glorification. The five joyful mysteries are the Annunciation, the Visitation, Christ's Nativity, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and the finding of the child Jesus in the Temple. The five sorrowful mysteries are Christ's agony in the garden at Gethsemane, Christ's scourging, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the cross, and the crucifixion. The five glorious mysteries are Christ's Resurrection, the Ascension, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Pious belief that the rosary was founded by St. Dominic (1170-1221) dates from the fifteenth century. This belief has not been proven by historical evidence. The rosary developed from christological and marian devotions from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries when its current form became standardized. Dominicans have encouraged the popularization of the rosary, and it is also known as the Dominican rosary. Use of this devotion is much more widespread and traditional in the Roman Catholic Church than in the Episcopal Church. <!– Line Number: 2 –>

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.