Author Topic: Makeshift Altars  (Read 2585 times)

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Offline Athanasios

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Makeshift Altars
« on: November 19, 2007, 10:17:27 PM »
Hello,

Do the Orthodox make and use makeshift altars when they need to celebrate the Liturgy in secret?
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Offline arimethea

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2007, 10:24:55 PM »
Hello,

Do the Orthodox make and use makeshift altars when they need to celebrate the Liturgy in secret?
First I should point out that in the Eastern tradition one person can not celebrate the Liturgy there need to be multiple people present. We would never call it a secret liturgy since anyone from the faithful would be welcome to it.

The eastern tradition also has something called an Antiminsion which must be used for every liturgy and in reality it is a portable altar. By placing the Antiminsion on a table it becomes an altar. The Antiminsion is a miniature version of the epathasios that is used during Holy Week and is placed on the altar from Pascha until Pentecost. The Antiminsion consist of an icon of Christ in the Tomb and has the signature of the Bishop. 
Joseph

Offline Athanasios

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2007, 10:28:52 PM »
Hello,

First I should point out that in the Eastern tradition one person can not celebrate the Liturgy there need to be multiple people present. We would never call it a secret liturgy since anyone from the faithful would be welcome to it.
What I mean by a secret Liturgy is one where the priest and faithful celebrate it "underground" because of open anti-religious persecution.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2007, 10:29:10 PM by Athanasios »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2007, 11:13:37 PM »
Do the Orthodox make and use makeshift altars when they need to celebrate the Liturgy in secret?
Arimethea is correct, the Eastern Orthodox use an "Antiminsion" for every Divine Liturgy, no matter where it is held. "Antiminsion" means "Instead of the Table" and is a cloth table cover which has a relic of a Saint sewn into it's edge and is signed by the Bishop who gives the permission for the Liturgy to be celebrated. No Liturgy can take place anywhere (even in an Orthodox Church) without the Antiminsion, since the signed Antiminsion is the Bishop's permission to celebrate the Liturgy.
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Offline Athanasios

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2007, 10:51:59 AM »
Hello,

Arimethea is correct, the Eastern Orthodox use an "Antiminsion" for every Divine Liturgy, no matter where it is held. "Antiminsion" means "Instead of the Table" and is a cloth table cover which has a relic of a Saint sewn into it's edge and is signed by the Bishop who gives the permission for the Liturgy to be celebrated. No Liturgy can take place anywhere (even in an Orthodox Church) without the Antiminsion, since the signed Antiminsion is the Bishop's permission to celebrate the Liturgy.
Interesting. Does each Priest have his own personal Anitminsion?
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Offline FrChris

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2007, 11:39:56 AM »
Here's a cute little bit of general information re: antimenions:

http://saintthomastheapostle.org/tour_html/antimension.html

Quote
The Antimension

What is the little cloth that Father opens on the Holy Altar Table during the singing of the Cherubic Hymn?

The antimension serves as a portable altar and in which are sewn and sealed relics (part of the body of a saint). On it is depicted the entombment of Christ. On Holy Thursday at his cathedral, the bishop of an eparchy consecrates antimension(s) at the same Divine Liturgy in which he consecrates the Holy Chrism used for the Mystery of Chrismation. At the Chrism Liturgy the bishop anoints the antimension with chrism and pours some wine on it. Then he sprinkles it with holy water. The relics of saints are fixed into a pocket in the cloth with a seal of wax and signed by the bishop. During this same Liturgy, the bishop washes the feet of twelve men in remembrance of the washing of the Apostles' feet by Jesus at the Last Supper.

The bishop then sends the antimension(s) to the parishes of his diocese. The antimension is a sign that the Divine Liturgy is only celebrated in communion with the Bishop and under his authority. The antimension is a very real symbol of a bishop's authority as arch pastor of the whole church (eparchy). The priest is appointed and delegated by the bishop to serve the people of the parish and to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.

The antimension is left folded in the center of the Holy Altar Table under the Gospel Book. During the Divine Liturgy, while the Cherubic Hymn is being sung, the antimension is unfolded to prepare the Holy Altar Table for the arrival of the gifts of bread and wine. The holy gifts are placed upon the antimension and they are consecrated upon it. On the antimesion is placed a corporal. After Holy Communion, the antimension and corporal are folded, set into the middle of the altar and the Gospel Book is replaced on top of it.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 11:40:26 AM by FrChris »
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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2007, 12:17:36 PM »
Yes, secret liturgies have been performed during persecutions. See for instance the book about Fr Arseny that is available on amazon.com and from Orthodox retailers.
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Offline JoeS

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2007, 12:31:42 PM »
Hello,
Interesting. Does each Priest have his own personal Anitminsion?

At our Cathedral we have a main church and a smaller chapel.  The main church's altar has a Saints relic inside in the middle but not sure if the chapel's altar has a relic. Anyway, the Antiminsion is always used in both cases so it wouldnt matter. 

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2007, 12:39:38 PM »
Hello,
Interesting. Does each Priest have his own personal Anitminsion?

Well, they're not supposed to, really.  They belong to the Church, addressed to it by its bishop.  However, I know a few priests who (thanks to attempted antimitsion-switching by Archbishop Spyridon) essentially have personal ones now.
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Offline JoeS

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2007, 01:04:20 PM »
Well, they're not supposed to, really.  They belong to the Church, addressed to it by its bishop.  However, I know a few priests who (thanks to attempted antimitsion-switching by Archbishop Spyridon) essentially have personal ones now.

I always thought that the antiminsion belonged to the particular diocesan Bishop and is given out to those priests directly under him so that they may perform the Epeclisis in local parishes.  Even when chaplains in a war zone use antiminsions they are still the property of the diocesan bishop the priest belongs to.  Please correct me if I am wrong.


Offline arimethea

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2007, 05:14:10 PM »
I always thought that the antiminsion belonged to the particular diocesan Bishop and is given out to those priests directly under him so that they may perform the Epeclisis in local parishes.  Even when chaplains in a war zone use antiminsions they are still the property of the diocesan bishop the priest belongs to.  Please correct me if I am wrong.
Antiminision are presented to a specific parish. On the Bottom you will see the name of the parish and not the priest under the Bishop's signature and seal. In the priest guide for the Antiochian Archdiocese of NA the priest are told not to take the antiminision if they are transfered from the parish.
Joseph

Offline Specs

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2007, 02:44:42 PM »
Well, they're not supposed to, really.  They belong to the Church, addressed to it by its bishop.  However, I know a few priests who (thanks to attempted antimitsion-switching by Archbishop Spyridon) essentially have personal ones now.

What is "antimitsion-switching"?

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Makeshift Altars
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2007, 11:33:06 AM »
What is "antimitsion-switching"? 

Hahaha.  It shouldn't exist, quite frankly.  The situation I'm referring to is one where the Archbishop (at the time) went to a number of churches and removed the Antimitsia that were signed by their diocesan bishops and replaced them with ones signed by himself.  My dad almost had a heart attack (o.k., it's an exaggeration) when he saw it; he's more of a liturgical stickler than most priests.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.