Antiminsium (ἀντιμίνσίον, derived by the Greeks from ἀντί, over against; and μίνσος, a canister) is a liturgical term in use in the Greek Church, signifying a linen cloth to cover the altar of an unconsecrated church. These Antiminsia were not laid upon all altars, but only upon those which were in churches of which there was any doubt 'about their consecration; and where that was the case the sanctifying power of this cloth was considered sufficient to remedy the defect. In the Oriental ritual there is an order for the consecration of these cloths, which, owing to the scarcity of consecrated buildings at the present time, are much used by the Greeks to supply the need of a consecrated altar. This consecration ought to take place only at the dedication of a new church. "Relics being pounded up with fragrant gum, oil is poured over them by the bishop, and, distilling upon the corporals, is supposed to convey to them the mysterious virtues of the relics themselves. The holy eucharist is celebrated on them for seven days." These Antiminsia must be sufficiently large to cover the spot occupied by the paten and chalice at -the time of consecration. The Syrians, instead of. these, consecrate slabs of wood, which appear to be used even on altars which are consecrated. In the absence of an Antiminsium of any kind, Syriac usage permitted the consecration of the eucharist on a leaf of the Gospels, or, in case of urgent necessity, on the hands of the, deacons. See, Goar, Euchologion, p. 648-654; Suicer, Thesaur. p. 377; Martene, lib. i, cap. iii, art. 6, No. 7. SEE ANTIMENSIUM.

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