Origin & History of the Rosary
Since the Holy Rosary is composed, principally and in substance, of the Prayer of Christ and the Angelic Salutation, which is, the Our Father and the Hail Mary, it was without doubt the first prayer and the first devotion of the faithful and has been in use all through the centuries, from the time of the apostles and disciples down to the present.
But it was only in the year 1214, however, that Holy Mother Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was given to the Church by Saint Dominic who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a powerful means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners.
A brief History of the Rosary -
The Holy Rosary is one of the most popular among Roman Catholics worldwide. Its formal name is the "Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
The Holy Rosary is closely associated with Saint Dominic de Guzmán (1170-1221 A.D.), who founded the Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans. From the fifteenth century forward the Dominicans were the foremost promoters of the Rosary.
Over the next 250 years the devotion spread across Europe, reaching the laity via voluntary confraternities and rosary picture-books. There were numerous competing versions, advocating as few as five Mysteries and as many as 200. The matter was not settled until 1569. In that year St. Pope Pius V, himself a Dominican, issued an apostolic letter establishing the fifteen-Mystery form of the Holy Rosary as the official, Church-authorized version. This was the format in use for the next four centuries On October 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II, declared that the following year would be the “Year of the Rosary”. For the first time in centuries a change was made in the rosary. The Pope added and defined 5 new mysteries that concerned events in the public life of Jesus. These new mysteries were called the “Luminous Mysteries” or “Mysteries of Light” Today’s complete rosary is now made up of twenty decades of the Hail Mary, separated by an Our Father and a Glory Be and sometimes the Fatima prayer. Evidence again that the rosary is a living prayer that grows with the church. We usually break the rosary into four sets. The four sets are The Joyful Mysteries, The Sorrowful Mysteries, The Glorious Mysteries, and the Luminous Mysteries. One set is prayed on a rosary that has five decades. Each set is prayed on designated days of the week.
The Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7. This commemorates the day in 1571 when Christian forces defeated the Turkish (Moslem) fleet in a sea battle at Lepanto, off the western coast of Greece. St. Pope Pius V had asked all Christians to pray the Rosary for victory.