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Athos Holy Mount

12.2 Antimension
Skete of St Anne. Sacristy of the kyriakon
Painted on linen, 45.5 x 57 cm


The Original New Testament

This antimension is made of unlined linen cloth and is painted in vivid colours on preparation: depicted in the centre, dominating the composition, is the Man of Sorrows' with the inscription 'ΙΣ ΧΣ Η ΑΠΟΚΑ//ΘΗΛΩΣΙΣ' (Jesus Christ / The Descent from the Cross), an iconographic type carrying both eucharistic and eschatological significance and known from the twelfth century in manuscript illumination and portable icons. This scene appears on antimensia from the late sixteenth century, replacing the archaic symbolic representation of the cross, typical of the first period (see 12.1). During this second period the monograms of the Evangelists or the symbolic words associated with them 'άδοντα, βοώντα, κεκραγότα και λέγοντα' (singing, crying aloud, proclaiming, and saying) are, as in this example, replaced by their apocalyptic symbols: the Angel of Matthew, the Lion of Mark, the Ox of Luke and the Eagle of John the Theologian, here painted in the four corners of the antimension, framed by successive concentric quadrants, and each holding a Gospel. The edges of the antimension are trimmed with a red border, in the manner of portable icons. On the left side some of the hemming is still intact, while traces of its folding during liturgical use are still apparent on the surface.

This antimension, which is in good condition, adheres faithfully to the iconographic prototypes of the period. Its decoration is completed by the consecration inscription '+ ΘYΣIAΣTH'PI(ON) ΘEI'ON K(AI') IEPO'N, TOY TEΛEI'//ΣΘE EN AYTΩ~ T(A'Σ) ΘEI'(AΣ) IEPOYPΓI'(AΣ) EN ΠA(N)TI'// TO'ΠO THΣ ΔEΣΠOTEI(AΣ) K(YPIO)Y, KAΘIEPΩΘE'N K(AI') AΓIAΣΘE'N, ΠAPA TOY ΘEOΦI//ΛEΣTATOY EΠIΣKO'ΠOY, IEPIΣOY~// K(AI') 'AΓI'OY Ο΄POYΣ KYPOY~, ΣEPAΦI'M// EN E'TEI AΠO AΔA~M, ZPOB'' (A divine and sacred altar for use in divine service throughout the dominions of the Lord, consecrated and sanctified by the favoured of the Lord, Seraphim, Bishop of Ierissos and the Holy Mountain, in the year of Adam 7172), which occupies the centre of the antimension, filling nearly the entire empty space.

This inscription tells us that the antimension was consecrated by Bishop Seraphim of Ierissos and Mount Athos 'in the year of Adam 7172' (AD 1664), a prelate hitherto unknown in the episcopal registers of the Episcopate of Ierissos.

The antimension comes from the Kalyve of the Three Hierarchs, a dependency of the Skete of St Anne, where it is kept in the sacristy of the kyriakon.

Bibliography: Unpublished.

Index of exhibits of Skete of St. Anne
17th century

The Authentic Greek New Testament Bilingual New Testament I

Icon of the Mother of God and New Testament Reader Promote Greek Learning
Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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