Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In the Gr. Ch., a consecrated cloth on which the eucharist is consecrated in places where there is no consecrated altar. It takes the place of the portable altar of the Latin Church. The term is sometimes extended in the Syrian churches to a thin slab of wood consecrated for a like purpose. Also written
“The word antimensium is met with for the first time about the end of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth centuries.”
“Questions which have arisen -- what the rubrics actually require by way of bows, what a priest does when he must offer Mass without a server, whether a layman should act as MC at pontifical ceremonies, whether an antimensium may be used, where prelates in choir should walk in procession, where the pectoral cross is worn and when the cappa magna is used -- have been researched and clarified.”
“Whenever a new antimensium is placed upon an altar the old one must not be removed, but must, be kept next to the altar under the altar-cloth.”
“By the use of the antimensium, such as missionaries and traveling priests were using, the Holy Sacrifice could be offered on any altar, because the antimensium, at least, had been properly consecrated and contained the required relics.”
“The only apparent exception allowed in the Russian Church is that an antimensium without relics may be used upon the altar of a cathedral church.”
“It is required to be placed on the altar in Greek churches just as an altar-stone is required in the Latin churches, and no Mass may be said upon an altar of that rite which has no antimensium.”
“As a result of the decree the use of the antimensium became quite general, because, owing to various heresies and schisms it was doubtful whether the altar in numberless churches had ever been consecrated by a bishop, or whether that rite had ever been canonically performed; on the other hand, all were anxious to comply with the canon.”
“After the great schism which divided the Eastern Church from the Holy See the antimensium was looked on as”
“The bishop consecrated the antimensium almost as he would an altar, and the priest carried it with him on his journey, and spread it over any temporary altar to celebrate Mass.”
“For the portable altar the Greeks generally use the antimensium, a consecrated altar-cloth of silk or linen, after the manner of our corporals.”
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