Wreath of Christ
When the Right Reverend Martin Lönnebo, Bishop Emeritus of Linköping in the Church of Sweden, travelled to Greece in 1995 to enjoy some well-earned vacation after his recent retirement, he didn’t know that he’d have the opportunity to create a new Rosary. But when his ship was forced to seek shelter during a storm on a small island of only 47 inhabitants, and he had days in a small guesthouse to reflect and pray, that’s exactly what happened.
Longing for deeper prayer, he eventually started doodling, drawing out a plan for a new set of prayer beads. After many pages of trial and error, of drawings of rosaries of different sizes, he finally settled on a set of eighteen beads: twelve beads that symbolize the life of Jesus Christ and the course of human life, and six beads of silence. Intended to support one’s spiritual training, especially those of children, the Wreath of Christ was designed to be simple, ecumenical and highly adaptable.
- A total of 18 beads are needed for this rosary: 12 round beads in different colors and sizes, and 6 oblong beads in one color.
1 large gold
2 large white
4 small pearl/white
1 large sand
1 large blue
2 large red
1 large black
6 oblong colorless/neutral
- The rosary begins with the gold bead, followed by an oblong bead.
- Next comes the small pearl/white bead, a large white bead, and an oblong bead.
- Then the sandy bead, an oblong bead, the blue bead, and an oblong bead.
- Two red beads, three small pearl/white beads, and the black bead come next, with no oblong beads separating them.
- After an oblong bead, the last large white bead is strung, followed by the last oblong bead.
UPDATE: I’ve read that a brand new version of the Wreath of Christ replaces one of the white Secret beads with a green pearl. I don’t have any information on what it represents.
While the Wreath of Christ is intended to be as ecumenical as possible, and can be used with any prayers, there are a few common schemata. One is to pray the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer on each of the main beads. Another is to pray the parts of the Aaronic Blessing on the Beads of Silence. Presented below however are the prayers written for the Wreath by the Right Reverend Martin Lönnebo and Kaarina Hakkarainen.
1. Golden Bead of God
You are immense, You are near, You are the light and I am Yours.
At each oblong bead you may either rest in silence, or pray:
I give away my loneliness. I receive that I am Yours.
2. Pearly I-Bead
You created me as Your own image. Let me see Your image in myself.
3. White Bead of Baptism
You have invited me. In Your hands I commend my life.
4. Sandy Desert Bead
Keep me holy and I will be holy kept. Heal me and I will be healed. Draw me near Yourself, and my heart will have peace. Jesus Christ, give me mercy.
5. Blue Carefree Bead
I give away my load of worries. I receive Your peace.
6. Red Bead of God’s Love
You are mine and I am Yours. Your love is everlasting.
7. Red Bead of Sacrifice
Let me love my neighbour with Your love.
8. Pearly Beads of Secrets
On these three beads you may tell God the personal, important, or secret things you don’t want anyone else to know.
9. Black Bead of Darkness
Out of the depths have I cried unto You, oh Lord. Lord, hear my voice. Do not abandon me.
10. White Resurrection Bead
Here is no time. Here is no distance. I have peace in my heart in front of You. Here I want to stay.
You may end here, or finish by praying the Lord’s Prayer on the Golden Bead of God.
Comments? Suggestions? Corrections? Contact me.
Original Wreath of Christ design and devotions created 1995 by the Right Reverend Martin Lönnebo and Kaarina Hakkarainen. Further resources, along with the original meditations translated into English, can be found here.