made wax/mastic a link to create new page
In the early days of Christianity when the Church was heavily persecuted, the Christians met in underground burial places where they celebrated the Eucharist on the graves of [[martyr]]ed saints. After the Church was recognized this custom was continued by placing relics in the altar table during the consecration of the church. This is a reminder that the Church was built on the blood of the martyrs and their faith in the Lord.
After the bishop has entered the church, he continues into the altar. In the altar he places the diskos on the altar table. There he removes the relics and places them in a small box. The bishop then pours holy [[chrism]] over the relics, symbolizing the union between our Lord and his martyrs. With prayers and the reading of Psalm 145, the bishop then places the box with the relics in a cavity in the altar table where it is sealed in with a wax/mastic that contains fragrant spices as were used by [[Joseph of Arimathea]] and [[Nicodemus the Righteous|Nicodemus]] to anoint our Lord's body before his burial. In this, the holy altar represents Christ's tomb.
===Washing and anointing the altar table===