Autonomy Lost and Regained: The Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolia of Kyiv, 1633-2019

Antimensia as historical documents

The antimension as a liturgical item is central to the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Orthodox and Greek Catholic Church, but it can also serve as a fascinating historical document. This exhibition is constructed around four such antimensia.

Unlike, say, vestments or chalices, an antimension always contains text. At the very minimum, it bears a date, the name and location of the parish to which it was assigned, the name of the bishop who consecrated it, and in many cases also the name of the secular ruler of the state in which the bishop and parish were located.

The four antimensia in this exhibition span a period from the middle of the 1600s to the post-World War II period. They show transitions in political rule from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to the Russian Empire, and finally to 20th century wartime occupation and migration. In some cases, parts of the text (such as dates and parishes) have been lost due to age, but they remain remarkable time travelers from other eras.

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