(I have also seen this referred to as a Komboskini.)
The Komvoschinion is traditionally made from knotted cord; however, a sting of beads is used by the Byzantine Ruthians of the Carpatho-Rusyn Mountains. The monks of Mt. Athos have used these prayer ropes for centuries and still do today. By carrying these prayer ropes in their hands, they are reminded to pray without ceasing as the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thes. 5:17.
In Greek, the word “komboloi” means, “in each knot he says.” For the religious, they are a way of counting prayers. The act of counting prayers dates back to the tradition of the Jewish prayer shawl called the “tallit”, still used by religious Jews today.
Komvoschinion prayer beads/ropes have 25, 50, or 100 beads/knots. The “Jesus Prayer” is traditionally prayed on each bead.
If you have traveled to Greece, you have probably seen many men carrying a komboloi or worry beads. Over the years, the komboloi has become more of a Greek accessory that can be found in numerous souvenir shops. Though not always used for prayer, their origin as Christian prayer beads still gives them Christian significance. For Christians, they can also be a reminder to turn our worries into prayers.