Father Christopher, Your blessing!
During the consecration of a church's altar, is there any particular
reason for which the officiating high priest wears almost a second set
of vestments (always white and very simple) over his vestments? Or is it
simply for the sake of protecting his vestments from the waxes, oils,
wine, and honey? And are αντιμήνσια used to clean up the oils, wine, and
honey on the altar?
I thank You and remain with all due respect.
Answer to Question 79.
The bishop's vestments worn during the consecration of a Church are very
simply and cheaply made of white cotton. The purpose for this is (as you
have guessed) to protect his usual vestments which can be very costly.
After the Consecration it is customary to give parts of the vestments as
a blessing to the person or persons who offered to pay all the expenses
of the Consecration. Assisting priests also take a part of the vestments
as a blessing.
Wax, perfumed oils, wine, rosewater, soap and other things are used for
the consecration, but I have never heard of honey being used unless it
means resin (ρητίνη – ρετσίνι).
After the bishop washes the holy Altar with soap and water and dries it
with sponges, it is again washed with rosewater and dried with the
antimensia. The Holy Myron is then poured crosswise thrice on the Altar
and using his hand, the bishop spreads the myron around the Altar. The
antimensia are again used to take up the excess as they too are
considered as portable Holy Tables and need to be sanctified with the
Myron as the main Altar.
With love in Christ