Handmade prayer rope with inserts of seed beads is woven by the monks of Mount Athos. The weaving of the prayer ropes is one of the main types of monastic handicraft, as it is an important attribute of prayer. It sets the rhythm and helps one to concentrate during a long prayer.
The length of this "Tears of Virgin Mary" prayer rope with tossel is 47 cm, the length of the thread is 60 cm; it consists of 50 grains of the "Tears of Virgin Mary" plant, 1 metal and 5 plastic beads. Between them small transparent seed beads are placed. A metal cross with a rayon tassel is woven into the prayer rope.
"Tears of Virgin Mary" is a unique plant that doesn't grow anywhere else in the world except Mount Athos. Its grains are harvested by the monks of Mount Athos and then used to weave prayer ropes and bracelets.
There is a legend connected with the plant: once upon a time a monk of the skete of St. Anne tried to learn how to weave prayer ropes; the skill was in no way given to him, and therefore he fell into despondency. The monk sat down on the ground and wept. At that moment, the Mother of God herself appeared before him and asked why he was so saddened. The monk told how he had been trying for a long time to master the skill of prayer rope weaving, but no matter how much he tried he could not master it. Then the Mother of God offered him her tears, which she sheds for the monks, in order to plant them in the ground. From her tears a plant grew, the seeds of which could simply be strung on a rope. To this day, monks of Mount Athos grow the Tears of Virgin Mary, using grains to make prayer ropes and bracelets, which are woven with unceasing prayer and for prayer.