Anathemata (from ἀνατίθημι, to lay up), the general name applied in the ancient Christian Church to all kinds of ornaments in churches, whether in the structure itself or in the vessels and utensils belonging to it. The name was so applied because these things were set apart from a common use to the service of God. In this sense anathenzata is used in Lu 21:5 for the gifts and ornaments of the temple. Accordingly, in early times, all ornaments belonging to the church, as well as whatever contributed to the beauty and splendor of the fabric itself, were reckoned among the anathemata of the Church. But the word is sometimes used in a more restricted sense to denote those gifts particularly which were hung upon pillars in the church as memorials of some great mercy which men had received from God. Hence Jerome speaks of men's gifts hanging in the church upon golden cords, or being set in golden sockets or sconces. From this custom of presenting gifts to churches, there appears to have arisen, about the middle of the 5th century, a peculiar practice noticed by Theodoret, that when any one obtained the benefit of a signal cure from God in any member of his body, as his eyes, hands, feet, or other part, he brought what was called his ectypoma, or figure, of the part in silver or gold, to be hung up in the church to God as a memorial of his favor. In a restricted sense, the term anathemata is used to designate the covering of the altar.

Definition of anathema

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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