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Question 79.

Father Christopher, Your blessing!
During the consecration of a church's altar, is there any particular reason for which the officiating high priest wears almost a second set of vestments (always white and very simple) over his vestments? Or is it simply for the sake of protecting his vestments from the waxes, oils, wine, and honey? And are αντιμήνσια used to clean up the oils, wine, and honey on the altar?

I thank You and remain with all due respect.


Answer to Question 79.

Dear Evangelos,
The bishop's vestments worn during the consecration of a Church are very simply and cheaply made of white cotton. The purpose for this is (as you have guessed) to protect his usual vestments which can be very costly. After the Consecration it is customary to give parts of the vestments as a blessing to the person or persons who offered to pay all the expenses of the Consecration. Assisting priests also take a part of the vestments as a blessing.
Wax, perfumed oils, wine, rosewater, soap and other things are used for the consecration, but I have never heard of honey being used unless it means resin (ρητίνη ρετσίνι).
After the bishop washes the holy Altar with soap and water and dries it with sponges, it is again washed with rosewater and dried with the antimensia. The Holy Myron is then poured crosswise thrice on the Altar and using his hand, the bishop spreads the myron around the Altar. The antimensia are again used to take up the excess as they too are considered as portable Holy Tables and need to be sanctified with the Myron as the main Altar.

With love in Christ
Fr. Christopher