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The '''antimension''' (from Greek for "instead of the table") , also called the '''antimins''', is one of the furnishings of the [[altar]]. It is a rectangular piece of cloth, of linen or silk, with representations of the entombment of [[Jesus Christ|Christ]], the four [[Evangelist]]s, and scriptural passages related to the [[Eucharist]]. It often has a very small [[relics|relic]] sewn into it. During the [[Divine Liturgy]], it is unfolded on the altar just before the [[Anaphora]], and the Eucharist is consecrated on it. The antimension must be consecrated and signed by the [[bishop]], indicating his permission for the Eucharist to be celebrated in his absence. It is, in effect, the [[priest]]'s permission to officiate.
The antimension is a substitute altar. A priest may celebrate the Eucharist on the antimension even if there is no properly consecrated altar. In emergencies, war and persecution, the antimension serves a very important pastoral need. The [[eileton]] is now often used to wrap the antimension when it is not in use.
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